Levels of Being and Personal Boundaries

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys

The first time that I consciously opened to my size as a spiritual being I was driving across I-80 in southern Wyoming. Surrounded by vast open space, it was like the genie coming out of the bottle, a sense of relief and relaxation as my spiritual aspect expanded around my physical body. The body is a tight container for the spirit, and it takes effort to be that small.

As spiritual beings living in a human body we exist on many levels at the same time. Our human conscious awareness generally focuses on one level at a time, most often the physical, emotional and mental levels of our individual personality. Even with these levels our attention moves from one to the other as circumstances change, rather than being aware of them all at once. On special occasions, we shift to being aware of our larger, spiritual Self. These times of expanded consciousness are our “peak” experiences; in nature, in sports, making love, under extreme, or relaxed circumstances of all kinds.

Since we associate “who we are” with our personal consciousness we may feel that when our awareness is expanded or elevated we have done something right and when it is contracted and we are back in the emotional soup, we have done something wrong. Actually all the levels are there all the time. Your higher Self has always been there, and our emotional body is always doing its thing. It is rather your attention and awareness that moves back and forth from one level to the other.

Learning to change the level of your awareness consciously is one of the goals of many spiritual traditions. These days the global process we are all engaged in is allowing, or even pushing, us into the expanded states more often. You may even have the experience of being aware on both the personal and transpersonal levels at the same time. When this happens you can feel the deep calm of your Self and the often turbulent movements of emotional energies or thoughts at the same time.

Archimedies is quoted as saying “Give me a place to stand and a lever and I can move the world”. When we can consciously “stand” in our higher Self and also be aware of our personal self, we can be the larger container that is necessary for the healing and clearing of the personal self.

It used to be that a few individuals at a time would make this journey of “awakening”, becoming aware of themselves and the world at the level of transpersonal Spirit. Now we are doing this en mass. It can be a bit confusing, as you may have noticed.

One of the most important things to remember is that on different levels the rules are different. As spiritual beings, the levels of your essential Self, higher Self, etc. you are connected to everything. You are vast and limitless. The “higher” up you go the more so. Tapping into this and living your life from this core of Self is what we are learning to allow to happen. Your personal mind does not have to figure this out! Your higher Self already knows this. Your mind has simply to let go, get out of the way, release its fear and allow your Self space to drop in.

As the heat in the external world keeps cranking up, our minds are too small and limited to handle the “chaos” around us. While our spiritual self is limitless and connected, our personality, body/emotions/lower mind self is not. On these levels we are limited, finite, and have boundaries. This is necessary and appropriate.

We are both vast and infinite souls and small and finite personalities. The former is connected to all that is, the later has a boundary. You exist on both levels and your awareness can (and more frequently is) going back and forth between them. It is very important to learn which level you are working on at a given time, or in a given situation.

When I was in Wyoming I could open up safely, as there was only nature for tens of miles around me. In an urban setting you can still access your expanded Self, but we must carefully intend that we do this without taking on other people’s energies. There must be some sort of “boundary” or separation on the personal level at the same time we experience our unbounded transpersonal self.

If you try to be infinite while in personal awareness you can overwhelm your personal self. This is not the level to heal the world from. If you have been working as a spirit on the astral while asleep or in meditation, be sure to give yourself permission to fully return to your personal self when you wake up. You need to remember to shift the ground rules when you come back. This means letting go of whatever you’ve been engaged with, finding your own core being, setting your personal boundaries and making sure that only your own self is on the inside and the rest of the world is on the outside.

Setting your personal space, while remembering your connection to deep self and Spirit on the inside, you can then begin to consciously engage the world as a personal human without losing yourself in it. This is increasingly important to remember and practice routinely, as the pace and change in the world quickens. Know which level you are operating on and which rules apply there. On the personal; let go of the flow, find your Self, trust that higher levels of you know what you need to know even when the personal mind is confused or uncertain; this is the path forward that we are all learning to walk in a new way.

You are not alone. You have lots of company, on all levels.

(© 3/2011)

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0 Responses to Levels of Being and Personal Boundaries

  1. Dear Alan,
    I so appreciate your newsletters, and they almost always resonate with the spiritual/personal issues that are up for me at the moment.

    One pondering: my spiritual teacher in Switzerland always spoke of shining our inner light as the most effective way to prevent people or things from entering our private space. When asked about ‘boundaries’, she told us to be stronger in our own light.

    I have practiced this for many years. Now at the moment as I am living on the coast of Washington State and the events of the past week in Japan presented the possibility of a tsunami, and now (who knows) radiation, I chose peace to observe my own personal response, and found myself automatically pulling in the energy from the Earth and the Highest Light of the Cosmos, meeting in the heart, allowing this ‘power’ to expand around me, its radiance serving as a ‘shield’ and a positive vibration for the universal consciousness at the same time.
    I feel there is a subtle difference to the word boundary and shield, although ‘shield’ is not a word I would choose if I could find another.
    When the powers of the Earth and the Highest Light unite in the Heart space, and we live and act from that energy, where is the need for a boundary?
    Wish we could talk about this over a cup of tea – I miss our times together!

    Much love and blessings to you,

    ps: Joan Borysenko gave such a simple and beautiful meditation the other evening on an internet interview that I was listening to. (I am telling you this especially because of your deep connection to Japan.)
    Feel the Essence of Japan, its nature, its art, the tradition of Zen, the beauty of the people, and breath in this essence……AND THEN…….on the out breath, breathe back its Essence to all those who are struggling there now.

  2. mcallister says:

    Dear Marianne…
    What you write is very true. When we are full of our essence, and of certainty about who we are, there is no need for a “boundary”.
    I also wish we could talk. There are many levels and subtleties to this topic :-).
    The main point I was highlighting here is that physically we have an edge to our body and the energetic space that is specially “ours”, while on higher spiritual levels things are probably different, more connected and less individuated. There are consequences that are becoming more important as we operate more on both levels at once.
    Blessings, Alan

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