My understanding of it is, our true identity is the Awareness underlying everything, and not our personal consciousness. Our personal consciousness is just a projection of the OCC. Without the subjective Awareness of God, consciousness would not exist. Consciousness is change, and what changes must occur against an un-changing backdrop in order to even exist, and Awareness/God/the real "you" is that backdrop.
The way we think of ourselves is like the center of a circle of consciousness, and the entire temporal-spacial universe represents the circumference of it. That circle is our "subjective reality." However, God being outside yet inclusive of time-space, is like being the center of every consciousness, and having no circumference. Our ego believes that our identity is the center of this circle we circumscribed about ourselves, and it thinks that being the "center" it is special and separate from the rest of the circle, but our true identity is what gave rise to subjective awareness in the first place, i.e. God being the centers of all possible circles.
A similar analogy is one that Steve talked about
The body analogy |
Suppose you’re convinced that you are your left thumb and nothing more than that. This is your total identity. You’re certain that you’re a thumb.
What is the right thumb then? From your perspective it is an entirely separate and autonomous thumb. It seems similar to you, and you feel a vague sense of connectedness, but in most ways the two of you appear independent.
Now what if that other thumb comes to you one day and says, “Hey! Do you realize you’re not just a thumb? You’re the whole human body?”
To you that is like saying, “You are God.” It sounds ludicrous.
So you tell the other thumb, “I know you’re crazy, but I’m an open-minded thumb, so I’ll give you a chance. Prove to me that I’m the whole body.”
Your friend replies, “I cannot prove to you that you’re the whole body while you cling to the perspective that you’re only a thumb. You have to release that belief first. Then I can begin to show you that you’re a body that has a thumb, not merely a thumb by itself.”
And you say, “But I cannot let go of the belief that I’m a thumb. I’m certain of it. Wait — I can prove it to you. See… I can move my own thumb body, but I cannot move yours. That proves I’m only a thumb.”
Your friend says, “That proves you believe you’re a thumb, but the only way to prove you’re not the whole body is to believe you’re the body and see if you can do more than a mere thumb can.”
You reply, “I’m unwilling to do that unless you can show me some proof first. Believing I’m more than a thumb is so crazy as to be unbelievable.”
Your friend says, “From the perspective that you’re really the whole body, the belief that you’re only a thumb is far more crazy. It limits your existence immensely. In truth the reason you’re unwilling to test the possibility that you’re the whole body is that you’re afraid… afraid of what it will mean if in fact you are the whole body and have been living unnecessarily as a thumb this whole time. You fear the power and the responsibility that the larger role would entail. You would also lose the ability to complain about your thumb ailments, unwilling to admit that you’ve been the cause all along. You’ve become attached to the illusion of security from life as a thumb.”
Your friend continues, “If you wish to believe you’re only a thumb, that is entirely your choice. But the perspective that you’re the whole body is nevertheless there for the taking when you’re ready to let go of your fear and claim it. You can deny that role as long as you like, but remaining a thumb only allows you to give away control, never responsibility. Deep down you know your greatest fear isn’t that a whole body belief system will cripple your ability to function as a thumb. Your greatest fear is that you really are a whole body, and what will that mean? It will make you responsible for the entire body, and you feel totally inadequate to the task. But in truth you’re already responsible; making yourself small serves only to feed your fears. It’s not the real you. Deep down you already know that you are far more than just a thumb.”
Believing you’re nothing more than a human body in a world that’s out of your control is an inherently limiting perspective, ultimately one that’s rooted in fear. You’re free to place such limitations on your life, but when you do so, you’re essentially saying, “Let me be less than I am.” And after living this way for so long, you begin to accept it as reality, even though it’s a reality you’ve created from a place of fear and contraction. The alternative is to create from a place of joy and expansion, but this level of creation is not available to you as long as you cling to the belief that you’re “just a body.”
I think it's a useful analogy, but I feel that he did not explain the following point clearly enough; your identity
is that of the whole body, but your ego/avatar/personal consciousness is still that of the thumb. It is just that the thumb realizes that there is no separation between thumb and body, and that "thumb" is just a mental concept, just as much as "I" is a mental concept. When that realization occurs, then the thumb realizes that the other fingers, legs, organs, cells, even its own fingernail, are all equal to itself, because they are all the body. Likewise, when enlightenment occurs, you realize that you are just as much God as anybody else. Your ego/avatar still plays the role of a thumb, but now it doesn't need to fight the other fingers or strive for its own survival, it realizes that they are all One and that the body's circulation and immune system and conscious guidance was what ensured the existence and survival of the thumb in the first place. In fact, we can take it even further and say that all the actions the thumb did were not the thumb's actions at all, but the body's actions acting through
I think the trouble is when the thumb believes that it is like
a body, rather than knowing that its true identity
is the body. Our egos think we are ultimately God, and in a sense we are, but only at the level of identity, not at the level of function. A thumb can't start ordering the other fingers around and tell them to do what it wants; it can only follow the body's orders to the best of its abilities and trust that the body knows what is best for its thumbs and fingers.