Unique Self Institute

Awakening to True Self: The Source of Your Aliveness and Uniqueness

Apr 6, 2024

By Claire Molinard and David Cicerchi, Unique Self Institute

Let’s face it: no matter how much we try to “fix” and “improve” ourselves, most of our life is spent unconsciously acting out childhood wounds, coping mechanisms, and cultural conditioning that occlude our true nature and leave us feeling somehow separate and unsatisfied.  At the Unique Self Institute, we stand for the possibility of living free from these automatic patterns and instead living authentically. In a world teeming with self-improvement modalities and coaching methodologies, the profound realization of Unique Self stands out as a North Star for those seeking not just self-improvement but genuine self-transformation.

What does it mean to live as your Unique Self?  Based on decades of integrating wisdom the world over, Dr. Marc Gafni has homed in on a response to the question of “Who am I?” that serves as the basis of living a transformed life. To live as your Unique Self is to know that you are an irreducibly unique expression of the initiating and animating energy of all that is, that lives in you, as you, and through you, that never was, is, or will be ever again in anyone else other than you. As such, you have a unique perspective, a unique quality of presence, and unique gifts that only you can give to your unique circle of intimacy and influence. Your Unique Self is like a puzzle piece in a larger puzzle of Reality that is needed to complete that puzzle!

This is a lifelong journey for sure, that moves in fits and starts.  We get lost, and we find ourselves again.  We continually fall into ego traps, addictions, and unhealthy patterns, and then clarify our perception of Unique Self over and over again.  With practice and deep intention, we gradually increase our ability to return to our Unique Self identity more often and more quickly.  We increasingly discover who we truly are and give our gifts to where they are needed most. Importantly, though, within this transformative journey lies an essential step that is often overlooked, yet paramount for genuine Unique Self emergence: the realization and integration of the True Self.

Understanding the True Self

At its core, the True Self is not merely an improved version of the individual but the fundamental essence of our being that connects us to all of Reality. It is the ground from which your Unique Self can truly emerge, and without which we repeatedly fall into egoic traps of delusion. This critical distinction underscores the difference between enhancing one’s Separate Self—a construct of our ego and societal conditioning—and awakening to the one True Self, which is our pure connection to the field of consciousness and love.

True Self is not merely an improved version of the individual but the fundamental essence of our being that connects us to all of Reality

For example, consider your greatness.  Let’s say that you are great when it comes to public speaking. If you live from an egoic perspective of your own greatness, you will see yourself as better than and in competition with others.  You may take actions that merely bolster this image and reputation of the greatness of your public speaking persona and make every attempt to defend and preserve it when conditions or capacities change. 

However, when we realize that our greatness is an expression of the unified field of True Self, we know that every single person has greatness within them (since everyone is sourced in True Self), either unrealized or realized.  From this basis in True Self, you can express your Unique Self greatness and simultaneously support everyone else’s greatness, even synergizing with others in mutual recognition and love.  From Unique Self (which is by definition grounded in True Self), you allow conditions, images, and reputations to constantly change and evolve.  You can let go of posturing and defensiveness when the initial “greatness” of the public recognition and fame subsides and you’re called to go deeper, to learn, to adapt your approach, or to focus on other unique gifts.  See, the profound difference between the ego’s greatness and the Unique Self’s greatness is the True Self.

The True Self as a Portal

The journey to discovering our Unique Self is marked by navigating through the Separate Self, True Self, and ultimately, the Unique Self. We cycle through these, and they are not strictly linear, but it is helpful to see this as a process. Skipping the True Self phase is akin to missing a crucial transformational gateway. Without this foundational step, efforts toward personal development risk revolving around the ego’s enhancements rather than genuine self-discovery and evolution.

Let’s say you are taking a communication skills course to improve yourself.  If you fall into egoic consciousness, you might think of these skills as techniques to get what you want (even at the expense of others) or reduce the course to one more credential on your resume, adding to your marketability.  You may even use these skills to posture and build a reputation for sounding smart, but in the end, fail to actually build intimacy or deepen your relationships.

However, when you take a communication skills course, and immerse yourself in True Self, you recognize that we are all interwoven into the fabric of reality together and that such skills enable that deep interconnectedness of reality to manifest in everyday relationships.  You are more open to the vulnerability of not knowing what to say, and are willing to face the painful relationships that are not working. You become open up to the possibility of forgiving those who have wronged you and asking for forgiveness from those you have wronged.  Your Unique Self is willing to let go of being right, looking good, or having it all figured out, and instead is connected to the flow of evolution that draws everything toward more intimacy. The difference between Separate Self and Unique Self is the difference between self-improvement and self-transformation.

Reconnecting with the True Self

So, how do you access the True Self? Sometimes people question whether they have had a True Self experience in their life, but search your experience further and you will find examples.  Everyone has experienced moments of True Self, although they might not recognize them as such. These are instances where the boundaries of the ego dissolve, and one feels part of something larger—be it through love, nature immersion, meditation, or even moments of profound creativity.

Unfortunately, societal norms and cultural conditioning often dismiss these experiences, relegating them to the periphery of our consciousness.  A parent crying at the beauty of their newborn child is seen as a one-off isolated experience.  A feeling of relaxation and opening while hiking through a forest is seen as just a nice getaway from the stress of city life.  An author writing her book in a state of flow is just seen finally having a breakthrough in being an artist.  What if all of these experiences were actually sourced in the One True Self?  It does not have to be a complete dissolution and merger into “the One”; We are gifted by Reality with tastes of True Self all the time, to a greater and lesser degree.  It’s that our perception is often distracted by the next task or Facebook notification such that we miss the depth of the moment.  Consider that the very awareness that is reading this page is True Self.  There is no where to go and nothing to do.  You are the one True Self, the unified field of consciousness, seeing through your eyes and resting in being right now.  Always present, never not.  No end and no beginning.  Always spacious.  Here and now. 

Unfortunately, societal norms and cultural conditioning often dismiss these experiences, relegating them to the periphery of our consciousness.

Cultivating the True Self

The Unique Self Emergence Process, therefore, emphasizes the cultivation of the perception of True Self as the basis of our daily practice. Through practices tailored to individual needs, participants learn to access and maintain their connection to this deeper essence of their being. It’s about creating a space where individuals can recognize and integrate these profound experiences into their lives, thereby laying the groundwork for their Unique Self to flourish.

The Three Faces of True Self

True Self is a term we use to point to the Ultimate, by whatever name. It is the most real of the real, the deepest of the deep.  Ultimately, it is a mystery that cannot be named or knowable; nonetheless, we can point to it. In the Unique Self Emergence Process, we use the Three Faces of God model from Integral Spirituality to offer participants a map of their spiritual journey. The “Three Faces” are the three perspectives through which we can experience our True Self: 

  • The first-person perspective is the domain of “I am” and includes practices like meditation and self-inquiry to discover who you truly are beyond the sensations, feelings, and thoughts that constitute the conventional consciousness. 
  • The second-person perspective is the domain of “You/we”, and here we enter by cultivating a relationship with the Ultimate through prayer, chanting, or devotional practice, as well as spiritual practice in community. 
  • The third-person perspective is the domain of “It” and involves studying the awe-inspiring intelligence of reality through contemplation of complex scientific processes like evolution, quantum physics, or microbiology.  

Even though each perspective or “face” leads to the same Ultimate Reality, all of us tend to prefer one over the others, which can lead to an imbalanced or distorted perception of Ultimate Reality.  In the Unique Self Emergence Process, we give you a taste of these three Faces and invite you to incorporate one or two that you tend to neglect. This serves to build your muscle to access True Self in more contexts and more deeply throughout your life.

The Collective Journey and the Role of Community

A fascinating aspect of the Unique Self Emergence process is its collective dimension. While the journey is deeply personal, engaging in it within a group setting amplifies the transformative potential. The collective field generated in such settings fosters a shared energy that supports each individual’s growth. It serves as a vivid reminder of our interconnectedness and the strength found in community. Community is after all a micro-expression of the unified field of consciousness—the True Self— in which we all participate.

For many, realizing the True Self can initially feel isolating and disorienting, especially if their immediate environment lacks support for such profound inner work. Returning from a meditation retreat can feel like culture shock, an inspired moment of prayer may leave you feeling lonely when there’s no one to share it with, and the awe-inspiring insights from quantum physics may fall on deaf ears of your friends. Those on this path need supportive communities that reinforce their practice and growth, like the community around the Unique Self Institute.  This underscores the reality that the True Self cannot only be accessed individually in the privacy and comfort of one’s home; the deepest experience of True Self is realized through collective engagement and practice.

Embracing True Self in Daily Life

Integrating the True Self into our daily lives involves a conscious effort to recognize and align with our deeper reality. It challenges us to see beyond the immediate demands and delusions of our ego and the external world, inviting us to live from a place of deeper authenticity and connectedness. This alignment not only transforms our perception of ourselves but also how we engage with the world around us.

The Unique Self Emergence Process, with its emphasis on True Self, offers a transformative path that goes beyond conventional self-improvement. It invites us into a deeper exploration of the Essence of our Being, where the discovery of our True Self opens the door to a life of greater meaning, purpose, and connection—the ground of pure possibility out of which the aliveness, power, and passion of your Unique Self can emerge. As you continue on your journey of Unique Self Emergence, may you realize that every step, every detour, and indeed every moment, is an integral part of your unique path.

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