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June 13, 2024

Inner Peace: The three selves

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February 22, 2024

Our ego and ‘altered ego’ are familiar identities, but we may be unaware of a ‘greater self’ or ‘inner self’

“You shall not have any other gods except me.”

— Exodus 20:3 NCV

By Jim Hatton

This excerpt from Hebrew scriptures has been interpreted to have many meanings. I would like to offer one more.

Jim Hatton
Jim Hatton

There are three “selves” to our lives. The first self, everyone knows. It is the self that identifies and is familiar with the physical existence in this world. It knows survival, judgment, separation, physical love, finances, emotionality, religion and all things society. It is often referred to as the ego. We identify with the physical self because we are surrounded by physicality. We live in a physical world, and therefore we take on that identity sometime after birth.

The second self is what I call the “altered ego.” It is an identity or even a personality that is formed while living in the physical world or physical self. The classic example is Marilyn Monroe or Norma Jean. Norma Jean is the physical self-personality. Marilyn is the extension self and is the altered ego. Marilyn became a whole new person with personality traits, beliefs and actions. There is speculation that Marilyn reverted back to Norma Jean in private moments, but our point here is that Norma Jean became “altered” into Marilyn.

This is an extreme example, but many of us have an altered ego at times. I have seen business associates who became “corporate” while working at their profession, but away from the corporate office they became their normal selves, oftentimes with the help of alcohol. Other examples are politicians, dictators and actors.

The third self is the one that very few are aware of. It has been termed the “greater self” or “inner self” or “true self.” Unlike the physical self or altered self, it has no ego, no personality, no beliefs, and its existence is not limited to this lifetime. It is eternal. It always knows the truth about us even when we are in an altered state. It sees us as extension of Source and never sees us as limited, broken, less than or separate from Source. When we are feeling angry, upset or hatred, that is an excellent indicator that we are not in alignment with Source or true self. When we feel good, feel confident, expansive, loving, we are in alignment with our true self, as this is the way the true self sees us. This alignment allows the creative process to express fully in our lives.

It behooves us to have more of our identity with the true self. To expand and be creative in our life here in the physical, to feel more fulfilled and happier, recognizing and becoming more like the true self begins with listening, meditation and contemplation. That is a good start to identifying with the true self. Simply using our feelings as an indication of the extent of alignment with the true self is an easy and productive way to let go of the physical self-identity and become more of who we really are.

Blessings on your journey.

Jim Hatton is an author, spiritual teacher and speaker. He makes his home in the Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon. Contact him at jim@jimhatton.com.

Want to contribute? Send 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Richard Carey (rcarey009@gmail.com).

Picture of Jim

Jim

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