Higher self is a term associated with multiple belief systems, but its basic premise describes an eternal, omnipotent, conscious, and intelligent being, who is one's real self. Blavatsky formally defined the higher self as "Atma the inseparable ray of the Universe and one self. It is the God above, more than within, us". Each and every individual has a Higher self.
The Higher Self is generally regarded as a form of being only to be recognized in a union with a divine source. In recent years the New Age faith has encouraged the idea of the Higher Self in contemporary culture, though the notion of the Higher Self has been interpreted throughout numerous historical spiritual faiths. Some denominations believe that the higher self is a part of an individual's metaphysical identity, while others teach that the higher self is essentially our tie to the heavens. Similar to the notion of the soul, the higher self can be defined by many different sects, while also being a topic of interest in the scientific and philosophical fields.
Christianity: In the conservative evangelical Christian interpretation, only those who are born again receive a "new spirit" (Ezekiel 36:26, see John 3:1-7). This appears to be similar to the concept of the "higher self" yet different in many respects. According to this tradition, only those who are "born again" receive the indwelling of the “Holy Spirit,” or the personal presence of God. This is distinct from the conception in the Advaita Vedanta non-dual mystical tradition, which teaches that the Atma, the individual soul, and Brahman, the Oversoul, are one and the same.
Hinduism: In Hinduism, the higher self is one and the same with the Jiva or individual self. With this perspective, the Hindu faith generally teaches that the higher self, or Atman is not an object possessed by an individual, rather the self is the subject which perceives. In his book, The Higher Self, Deepak Chopra utilizes the views of the Hindi denomination to support his claims concerning the divine force that is acquired with the awareness of the self. Hinduism teaches that through the examination of self-knowledge, or “atma jnana,” one can attain salvation by comprehending the true self.
New Age: Most New Age literature defines the Higher self as an extension of the self to a godlike state. This Higher Self is essentially an extension of the worldly self. With this perspective, New Age text teaches that in exercising your relationship with the higher self, you will gain the ability to manifest your desired future before you. In other words, the self creates its own reality when in union with the Higher Self.
Higher self meditation and channeling
In numerous reports concerning the Higher Self, the practice of meditation or channeling to contact the Higher Self is highly encouraged. Most of this ideology agrees with the concept that with mindful awareness of the higher self, peace, salvation, or enlightenment may be procured. This is due to the idea that the Higher Self contains an advanced amount of insight into man's most taxing questions, such as the purpose of existence or death, etc. Through spiritual exposure, a person is thought to make a conscious connection with their higher self or other higher beings. In this state, the meditator may tap into this higher intelligence in order to develop a more enlightened perspective on world matters.
- The Key to Theosophy, H.P. Blavatsky, 1889, p175. ISBN 0-8356-0427-6
- Chopra, D. (2001). The Higher Self. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
- Hanegraaff, Woutner J. "New Age Spiritualities as Secular Religion: A Historian's Perspective." Social Compass 46.2 (1999): 145-60. Scp.sagepub. Web. 10 Sept. 2012.