Point to your nose.
Point to your mouth.
Point to your chest.
Now, point to your self.
What is your self? Is your hand your self? If you cut it off will your identity cease? Is any part of your body, in and of it self, truly you? Is the body taken as a whole you? If so, then which body is yourself? The body you were born with was less than half a meter high, probably. Is that one you? Or is it your childhood body that is “you”? Or your adult body? Which adult body? Isn’t the body in a constant state of flux, growing, changing, decaying, rebuilding. Can this constantly changing thing actually be the constant being that you perceive yourself to be?
Thinking of the self as a body is a stage of evolution astrologically connected to the planet Venus.
Then perhaps the self is not something physical at all? I think here we are getting closer. Perhaps the self is the thoughts in our intellect? But (a) aren’t those dependant upon the proper function of the physical brain? So if the thoughts in our head define us than really the host of those thought, the brain is a physical thing defining us. Is that acceptable? If you say that you are your brain, again I must ask – which brain? The one that thought you were an astronaut and played with spaceships as a child? Or the one that thought you were a dashing young man in higher education? Point being that our thoughts are even more fickle and changing that our physical body. So, can we accept that our thoughts define the constant being that is the self? No. It is also unacceptable because it makes the self subordinate to a physical thing, the brain.
Thinking of the self as the intellect is a stage of evolution connected to the planet Mercury. It is getting closer to the truth than Venus, but is still not all the way there.
Then is the self the emotions we feel in our minds? Again, we are coming closer. Now we come to a conception of self connected astrologically with the Moon, the mind. The emotions are very close to the self. But (a) emotions are always in a state of change, yet the self is a constant entity which remains and survives the changes in emotions – so the emotions cannot be the self. (b) emotions, like thoughts and like the senses of the physical body, are experienced. They are not the thing doing the experiencing. We feel happy or sad. We experience being joyful or depressed. The thing experienced is the emotional state. But the entity having the experience must be distinct in some way from the thing being experienced. Thus emotions can not really define what the self is!
What then is the self? We have ruled out the body. We have ruled out the intellect. We have ruled out the emotions of the mind. What is left? Astrologically we have ruled out Venus (the senses of the body), we have ruled out Mercury (the thoughts of the intellect), we have ruled out the Moon (the feelings and emotions of the mind). In is the inner planets of astrology that define the self. So among the inner planets, what is left? The inner planets consist of Venus, Mercury, Moon and Sun. The only planet remaining left to really and truly define the self is… the Sun!
What is the Sun?
It is the object which supplies all the light and heat in the solar system. That is the secret code to understand what the self really is! The self is the center of the “solar system” of identity, it is a self-luminous “star” that shines “light” onto the Moon (our emotions), onto Mercury (our thoughts), onto Venus (our body and senses), and even onto the outer planets of energy (mars), faith (Jupiter) and survival (Saturn).
What is this “light”?
Light makes it possible for us to know/see things. That is what the self is. The self is “consciousness” – the light that emanates from the star of the soul is awareness. That is our true self, our true being – a stellar object of pure awareness and consciousness.
The Moon, Mercury and Venus are illuminated by the Sun, for sure – but they never illuminate the Sun! This means that it is because we are a spiritual quantum of awareness that we are able to experience emotions (Moon), thoughts (Mercury) and physical existence and sensation (Venus). It is never visa-versa. That is, it is never our body that illuminates who we really are. The body – neither its race, nor its gender, nor its nationality, nor its social affiliations, nor its beauty or ugliness of any variety can never, ever actually define who we really are! Nor can the thoughts define who we are. Nor can the emotions.
Now the question is, All the planets were created by the gravity of the Sun, but what created the Sun? This is parallel to the question: the soul manifests and keeps alive my physical body, allows me to think and feel… but what causes the soul to exist?
Well it can be said that the Sun was created by its own gravity. And this answers that the soul is self-manifest. In other words, the soul is an eternal thing, beyond the limits of the material universe, with its starting points and ending points and tick-tocking of clocks and history. The soul is not manifest by anything other than soul. It eternally exists. It is never created. It is self-sustaining, self-creating.
This is alright and is not false. But it can give a slightly wrong impression. That wrong impression can be that we are God.
The truth is that in some sense we really are God. That sense is that we are of the same substance as God. We are soul.
However all the ancient revelations of enlightened beings expressly state that there are two categories of soul. One is self-manifesting and self-sustaining, and the other is dependent upon the self-sustaining soul for its substance. In other words, there are two categories of soul. One is called param-atma. And the other is called atma. The param-atma is the sustainer of the atma.
To put this clearly in astrological terms – the soul is the sunlight, and the Supersoul (paramatma, or “God”) is the Sun itself.
Or to put it in a yoga-astrological framework… there are seven chakras in the human body. The 7 real astrological planets, Sun through Saturn own the six lower chakras (the Sun and Moon combine to own the 6th chakra, the “third eye” chakra). The 7th chakra – called the lotus chakra, or crown chakra at the very top rear of our heads does not belong to any astrological force – no planet, sign, or mansion has purview over it. It is from this seventh chakra that the lower six chakras unfold and manifest their existence. Similarly it is from God, or “param-atma,” that the Sun, Moon and other planets manifest.
This reflects the principle that the self is a particle of God, is intimately and intrinsically related to God at all times, is identical in substance to God, yet is distinct from God, in that God is the source and support of the soul and not visa versa.
That is why, in Srimad Bhagavatam, Śrī Brahma says that spiritually minded people seek first to understand who and what they are. They come to understand this by negating all the things they are not. Finally they realize there are awareness itself, intimately related to the original fountainhead of all awareness. This is why he continues in the next verse to say that this knowledge can, if they are lucky, inspire them to begin an intimate relationship with God of deep and strong love. Realizing that we are not really connected to the external world of objects but are intrinsically connected to our spiritual source, the Supersoul, we can begin to favor loving Godhead over loving external things.
– Vic DiCara