Differentiating the Self of Ego from the Essential Self
On the other hand, the usual sense of self, the self of ego, is an emotional content, an affect based on past experience. It has an emotional coloring that differentiates each person's sense of self from the other. It is, however, not as clear and definite as the sense of Essential Self. It is usually somewhat vague and amorphous, and most individuals do not become truly aware of it unless they first experience its absence.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 267
Essential Self and Essential Identity:Two Names for the Same Presence
To recognize the factor responsible for the sense of identity, one must recognize a certain essential quality, the essential aspect of Identity. The Essential Identity is one of the pure forms in which presence manifests in the soul. (In previous books we have referred to this quality as the Essential Self.) When we know the Essential Identity, the Self of Essence, it becomes possible to see and understand the behavior and attitudes that express it.
The Point of Existence, pg. 134
Essential Self Has No Physical-Mental Wisdom
On the Being level the Essential Self has no limitations, but the child comes to believe that his body and mind have no limitations, which is obviously a delusion. The delusion is not the feelings and attitudes of grandeur and omnipotence, for these are the actual feelings of the Self of Being. The delusion is in attributing them to the body-mind. We can see from this that the Essential Self has no physical-mental wisdom.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 278
Essential Self is a Platonic Form
One needs to know the experience of the essential aspect of Self. Self or identity is a specific aspect of Being, a Platonic form, a pure and immutable ontological Presence. When one knows the true Self, the Self of Essence, it becomes possible to see and understand the behavior and attitudes that express it.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 265
Experiencing One's Own Pure Identity
The Essential Self is experienced as the most definite of all aspects of Essence. It is supremely singular, and amazingly unique. This unique singularity is recognized readily as one’s true Self. One recognizes oneself in a very direct and simple manner, with a feeling that one has known one’s Self always, even though one has always identified with the vague sense of identity belonging to the ego. The sense of pure identity, of pure selfhood, is completely devoid of, and independent from, any emotion or image from the past. It is the presence of Being, in the specific aspect of Self. The following letter is from a student reporting her experience of the Essential Self while listening to a group discussion. She had been working on issues related to her sense of self for some time, and this experience is the result of an intensive period of investigation. We especially notice her excitement and happiness to find herself, which is a common response to this experience:
“I especially wanted to thank you for your talk today. As I said, it seemed a perfect culmination for the aim I have had the last four weeks. While you spoke today I felt a fire inside my chest, and I felt that I am special. It was as if for that time I was something real—me. I felt a kindness for myself I have never felt and saw even more how I try to prop myself up or tear myself down . . . . . ”
The experience is not only of pure identity, but of one's own identity. One does not recognize the self only as identity, but also as oneself. One realizes that the vague sense of identity that one has always been aware of or identified with indirectly is only a reflection, a distant reminder, of this singular and unique self. One recognizes oneself immediately, as the original source and prototype of one's usual but vague sense of identity.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 269
Experiencing Oneself as a Brilliant Point of Light
The Essential Self is a clear example of a definite Presence with no boundaries; this is inconceivable under ordinary circumstances. Imagine a radiant point of light. It is definite, precise, clearly differentiated; it is a non-dimensional point. However, because it is a radiant point of light, it does not have separating boundaries. It is the source of light, and it is the light itself. The radiant light goes on forever; it is not bounded by spatial distances. Now if we imagine the light to be consciousness or awareness, then we have a very good impression of a definite conscious Presence that is boundless. One experiences oneself as a brilliant point of light, consciousness and awareness. Since one is a dimensionless point, one feels singularly definite, but one has no sense of boundaries. The Essential Self feels like a concentrated Presence, a precious and pure Presence of consciousness, with the characteristic sense of self.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 272
Simple Presence with the Specific Feeling of Identity
The Essential Self, on the other hand, is a simple presence with the specific feeling of identity. One feels simply “I am present, that is me.” The sense of identity is very distinct, very clear, very definite and very precise. It cannot be described, but it can be recognized, just like love can be recognized when it is felt. That is what it means to be an essential aspect. This aspect is the purest, most specific, most exact, most differentiated feeling of the particular category of experience. It is a completely differentiated and discriminated perception of a particular category of experience. This complete definiteness and delineation of experience is not possible on the ego level; it is the domain of Essence. The Essential Self is experienced as the most definite of all aspects of Essence. It is supremely singular, and amazingly unique. This unique singularity is recognized readily as one’s true Self. One recognizes oneself in a very direct and simple manner, with a feeling that one has known one’s Self always, even though one has always identified with the vague sense of identity belonging to the ego. The sense of pure identity, of pure selfhood, is completely devoid of, and independent from, any emotion or image from the past. It is the presence of Being, in the specific aspect of Self.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 268
The Essential Self is Distinct from the Personal Essence
The Essential Self is a central aspect of Essence, distinct from the Personal Essence. The Personal Essence feels like an individuality, a person, while the Essential Self feels like an identity, a feeling of self. The Personal Essence feels like "I am," while the Essential Self feels like "I." The Personal Essence has some sense of identity, but not as specific and distinct as the Essential Self. The sense of beingness, of the "am" is much more dominant than the sense of identity, the "I," while it is the reverse for the Essential Self. The Essential Self is a very simple and pure sense of Presence. It is so simple that it becomes subtle and difficult to differentiate from other feelings.