A Brief Look at the Sethian Model of The Multi-Dimensional Self
This is the handout for my talk at the Pathways Magazine Expo on March 24, 2013 at the North Marriot Hotel and Conference Center in Bethesda, Maryland
In many traditions developed both in modern times and long ago, the psyche has been viewed as having multiple aspects, such as the Five Skandhas of Buddhism and the four “sheaths” or “bodies” of the Jiva (with a fifth being the bliss or eternal Atman) of Hinduism. Relatively more recently, Freud described the self as composed of the id, ego, and superego, while Jung saw the self as comprising the ego, personal unconscious and collective unconscious (the latter sometimes personified as symbolic figures like the Father, Mother, Wise Old Man/Woman, Warrior, Lover, etc.). Even more recent psychological schemas see still other groups of components making up the self, such as the “Top Dog” and “Underdog” of Gestalt Therapy, and the “Pusher,” “Inner Critic,” “Protector/Controller,” and “Inner Child” of Hal and Sidra Stone’s Voice Dialogue. Other theorists, among them Assagioli in his Psychosynthesis method and Berne in his Transactional Analysis, list and work with yet other components.
All of the components listed above in the various conceptualizations of the self are simply partial aspects of the self; in short, the components are not relatively whole and relatively independent selves who have their own histories. While Hinduism and Buddhism do conceive also of past-life selves and future-life selves that are mostly whole in themselves yet remain associated with the present individual, these selves are not seen as useful to the individual, except as stepping-stones OUT of the karmic cycle of suffering that keeps reincarnation going.
However, in the conception of the multi-dimensional self as described by Jane Robert’s trance channel, Seth, many relatively whole and relatively independent selves in addition to past and future personalities are intimately associated with the present individual and are dimensions of his or her overall identity; moreover, these selves are not only useful, but also vital, as I will show, to the overall well-being of the present self and to the development of its Entity or Soul. In Seth’s conception, the Soul, like All That Is (otherwise called the Divine, Source, etc.) does not remain static, but instead evolves. Following “value fulfillment,” the inherent, inescapable impulse to be and experience Itself in every way, in every possible dimension, All That Is creates infinite images of Itself, images called entities or souls that are also endowed with the impetus of value fulfillment; thus each Soul, constantly establishes images of itself in many dimensions, one of which is the material dimension where these images are known as flesh-and-blood personalities. These three-dimensional personalities in turn seek to experience themselves in every conceivable way, creating with the help of the Soul many images, many alternates of themselves in various dimensions.
This material world then, far from being a place simply of karmic suffering, is instead an enhanced opportunity for personality and Soul growth and, ultimately, for the enrichment of All That Is. Since All That Is is all that is, every perspective/learning attained by each of its creations, and its creations’ creations, and its creations’ creations’ creations…and so on, becomes a perspective/learning of All That Is. Conversely, since every creation is part of the One, of All That Is, each creation has access to and IS all of the dimensions of All That Is. So, though I remain an inviolate consciousness, a unique perspective, I am also all that my Soul is, for instance, all the past-life selves/personalities it has formed.
For each of its personalities, the Soul forms an Inner Self that mediates between the personality, which has free will, and the Soul with its overall intentions. The Inner Self also provides the personality with access to all the dimensions or selves/personalities of the Soul, access that can provide helpful information and alternate models of thinking, feeling and behavior to the personality to help it grow and get out of stuck places. These models are grouped into four categories: past-life selves, future-life selves, parallel or probable selves, and counterpart selves. What follows are brief definitions of these kinds of selves, definitions that have very many implications that are beyond the scope of this writing to explain.
Past-Life Selves are those personalities that we were in past lifetimes, which are usually easily accessed through a regression process. Present-day personalities often find that their past-life selves are of a different gender, race, religion, country of origin, etc., and have often vastly different perspectives on life that can provide the present personality with new ways of viewing current issues. Moreover, the various talents and other capacities of each of these past selves are available to one degree or another to the present personality, depending on its goals for the present lifetime.
One major misconception about past-life selves is that their misdeeds create karma for the present self, who has the inescapable burden of making up for those transgressions. This is not the place to explain fully why karma is not real (see “Karma: What It Is and Is Not” on my blog). But suffice it here to say that karma depends on cause and effect, which implies a time sequence; but, since time as we conceive it does not exist beyond this three-dimensional world, we are not encumbered by the actions of any past life self…that is, unless we choose to be so troubled in order to further our own growth in a certain way.
Moreover, just as past-life selves can provide information and models of being that we may or may not accept for our transformation, so, too, we can provide the same opportunities for past-life selvesby regressing back to a particular past-life and offering assistance in changing a decision, direction, path. Such changes, of course, reverberate back to the present self who accepts the influence or not.
Future-Life Selves are our personalities that call us, in terms of time, from future lives. Our beliefs, actions and emotions in the current life may shape what is likely to be the core of our next lifetime, not in terms of cause and effect (karma), but rather in terms of preferences, of choices made by both the present and future-life selves . For instance, for an individual’s next life, the person, in alliance with his or her Soul, sees a multitude of possible selves that might emerge, but some are more probable than others, given the present person’s present inclinations. And yet, the future-life self–which, like all of the selves discussed here, has free will—can itself refuse, accept or modify the preferences emerging from the present self.
Tuning into one or more of those probable (and even improbable) future selves as it or they are actually living their lives may give us glimpses of the pros and cons of what we might try to incorporate now, in our present lives. For instance, a future self to whom we are greatly attracted can actually “pull” us now into a talent it has perfected, but which we have been timid to explore in the present. In that way, just as we can influence our future-life selves, with their permission, from our vantage point, so, too, do future selves influence us from their stances if we accept their input.
Parallel or Probable Selves are those selves very much like our present selves, but who make all the decisions, take all the paths, that we have chosen not to make and take in the current life. The Many Worlds Theory of Quantum Physics, as well as Seth, declares that, before any decision is made, however small, there exists a quantum wave of all the possibilities of how that decision could be made. When the individual finally chooses one of those possibilities, all the other possibilities are also actualized, but each in a different or parallel universe. As each individual makes a choice, that information is telepathically conveyed to everyone else around him or her, and each of these other individuals subconsciously chooses or does not choose to be a part of same universe—most make the choice to do so. These transactions take place at “warp speed” continually beneath conscious awareness.
The usefulness of contacting some of our parallel selves is without question. For instance, at some point in the creation of his or her reality, an individual for any number of purposes may have contracted to develop cancer. When that moment happened, at least one (and maybe more than one, each with a slight variation) parallel life developed in which the individual does not have cancer. By contacting this parallel self, the individual might understand what he or she could do or be without cancer and might therefore decide to heal the cancer in the present life. If that happens, the healed individual becomes the central self and the self with cancer becomes a parallel life. Yet, from the parallel self’s point of view, the self who is healed from cancer would be a parallel self, who in turn could be contacted for information.
Counterpart Selves form with the Soul’s intent to explore an issue simultaneously from multiple points of view (usually 4-6) through the creation of several personalities living around the same time around the globe. Each person, then, has counterparts of himself or herself, of both genders and of various ages, living nearby or elsewhere around the planet, all of whom have chosen, guided by the influence of their common Soul, the same basic issue(s) to work out; but each uses different talents, perspectives, choices, emotions, ideas, etc.
For instance, if the Soul wants to work on the overall issue of weight, it might “divide” its incarnations of a certain time period into a fifteen-year-old girl in Kansas who is challenged by anorexia, a twenty-six-year-old Chinese man living in Taiwan who is obese, an eighty-six–year-old monk in Tibet who has voluntarily restricted his diet for spiritual purposes, and a middle-aged female researcher in Budapest who is working on developing a totally safe diet pill. By incarnating all these counterparts, the Soul experiences the issue from multiple points of view at relatively the same time. And it is not difficult to see how all the counterparts can find mutual benefit from the information that can be passed among them when they are in contact with each other, which may be in person, if they recognize each other, or through other means.
These other means may be employed to make contact, not only with counterpart selves, but also with any of the other three groups of alternate selves; these means include deliberate, conscious hypnotic processes like regressions, progressions, and other guided imagery. However, there is also constant interaction among these selves on a subconscious level in dreams possibly every night. Still other means are semi-conscious: “bleed-through” communications from alternate selves in waking life through “hunches,” spontaneous images or thoughts, or other “serendipitous” experiences.
These communications are possible primarily because all dimensions, all selves, though distinct, are inseparable, intimately related to each other; for all are part of All That Is. Moreover, because time as we know it “exists” only in this three-dimensional world, all the alternate selves exist at once, outside of time, side by side, if you will. They are constantly, mutually, influencing each other, though any one influence may or may not be accepted by a particular self. As a result, no self, not even a past-life self, is finished in its growth. While past-life regression which ends with the death experience of that self might seem to give the lie to what I just wrote, nevertheless, that ending is only a probable ending (only one of many possible terminations) that the present self has viewed for the past-life self in the regression to help the present self understand the influences it has accepted for its current incarnation. Thus, it is possible to help the past-life self, if it so desires, to select a different death experience and so move into a universe parallel to the previous one; that change will also affect the present self if it so chooses. So constant change is available to all selves, for no self ever ends.
But why do our souls/personalities have our three-dimensional brains arrange some of our alternate selves in a time sequence inthe first place? Seth says that we do not create this kind of reality because we need to suffer for some reason; we create it, rather, so we can play with what the illusion of cause-and-effect can tell us about manipulating energy—with self-discipline, control, compassion, creativity and love. These are the fundamental purposes of being human. However, should we get too entrenched in this time-dominated dimension of reality and thereby forget all that we are, our alternate selves will find a way to reach through the veil and speak to us, illuminating the essence of our multi-dimensional core.
NOTE: Image above is found at http://www.holisticcyprus.com