“There belongs to every human being a higher self and a lower self—a self or mind of the spirit which has been growing for ages, and a self of the body, which is but a thing of yesterday. The higher self is full of prompting idea, suggestion, and aspiration. This it receives of the supreme power. All this the lower or animal self regards as wild and visionary. The higher self argue possibilities … The lower self says we can only live and exist as men and women have lived and existed before us. The higher self craves freedom from the cumbrousness, the limitations … of the body. The lower self says that we are born to them. …
“You have, in a sense two minds—the mind of the body and the mind of the spirit.” ~Prentice Mulford
Higher and Lower Self
I had never read any of Prentice Mulford’s books until I found this one in a volume of Human Science Classics on Amazon Kindle. I was beginning to feel I had wasted my money on the book, for the first few classics in it, while possibly good for their purpose, were not spiritual or esoteric at all. Then I reached Mulford’s book “Thoughts are Things,” and found the quote above on the first page! I think it’s going to be a good read.
The idea of a higher and lower self is certainly not a new one. There is some disagreement about which is which. Some think the lower self is merely the body and the instinct, but the intellect is the higher self. Mr. Mulford has it correct.
The physical body is certainly part of the lower self. I’ve never heard of anyone disagreeing with that. But the mind of the lower self is more than just the most primitive parts of the brain where instinctive and automatic behavior occurs. That is the only brain found in simple animals like frogs and lizards. The higher brain functions found in more complex animals, and man, are also part of the lower self. That is because the lower mind cannot truly know and understand the spiritual. It can speculates about them as an interesting fantasy, but not much more. This brain-mind is very useful in the physical words, not useful in the spiritual realms. It can turn light waves coming into the eyes into images of the things around us. It can guide us through the material world with hearing, scent and touch as well. But it cannot go beyond the lower dimensions, so is part of the lower self.
The higher self consists of the spirit, or spiritual body, and the soul. The soul is much like the mind, but on a different level. The physical brain-mind deals with intellect. The soul is the source of consciousness. The lower mind is full of opinion and beliefs that may or may not be true. The soul doesn’t speculate or form opinions. With true consciousness, it simply knows. It knows its own true nature, and ours. It knows what true spirit is, and what it isn’t. The higher self knows angels and other spiritual beings. It doesn’t have opinions about them; it knows.
Another way in which the higher self differs from the lower is that it is eternal. The lower self was born , and after a while dies. The higher self is beyond the limitations of time and space. Therefore, it wasn’t born and won’t die. It just is. Understandably a difficult concept to grasp. Especially when you are trying to do it with your time and space limited brain-mind. But the soul understands perfectly.
Unfortunately, when we arrive in the lower realms of matter, our physical body and brain-mind become active and functional automatically (with a few exceptions), the higher does not. The higher self arrives on the lower levels in a dormant state similar to a coma. They must be awakened, reborn. It the past, this has generally been a difficult task.
Fortunately, we are now in the age in which the Sun of Righteousness, what you might consider a special version of the spiritual sun is shining down on us. This sun can awaken the higher self with little difficulty. It usually won’t do it on its own, however. It is up to us to learn how to look upon the spiritual sun to receive that light. The spiritual sun, not the physical. While there may be benefits on the physical level to looking at the material sun, only the light of the spiritual sun awakens the spirit and soul, the higher self.