The moment you transcend dualism, two opposite and apparently mutually exclusive aspects become equally true. This applies to the ego in relation to the real self. It is true when one says the ego’s predominance, its exaggerated strength, is the greatest hindrance to productive living. And it is equally true when one says a weak ego is incapable of establishing healthy living.
In the last lecture I discussed the necessity of transforming faults of character. The first step toward this transformation is always awareness of the faults. This is not easy, but not difficult either, if approached with the proper attitude. Once you are aware of your specific faults, the next step is to understand the reason for their existence, and why you cling to them.
On the unified plane of consciousness there are no opposites. There is no good or bad, no right or wrong, no life or death. There is only good, only right, only life. Yet it is not the kind of good, or right, or life that comprises only one pole of the dualistic opposites.
First I wish to discuss how the inner self differs from the outer self, or the real self from the ego. What is their relationship to each other? There are many confusing theories about the function of the ego. According to some the ego is essentially negative and undesirable and the spiritual goal is to get rid of it. Other theories,
Your real self cannot be governed by will or by force. It is a direct manifestation, not of thought and will, but of a spontaneous, creative experience that comes into being unbidden, when least expected. This is very important to remember and to never keep out of sight.
Now let us try to determine the difference between your genuine, true self and the superficial self. Whenever you act out of your real self, you are in complete unity with yourself. There is no doubt, no confusion, no anxiety, and no tension. You are not concerned with the appearance of your act in the eyes of others, or about principles or rules. You are concerned with the effect of your action on others and on yourself and with its consequences; and you choose this particular alternative because, even though you recognize its imperfections, it still seems better to you than another alternative. It corresponds to your innermost nature. This does not apply, of course, to destructive actions of a crass nature.
Growth, development, maturity and the healing of distorted soul forces lie in eliminating the pseudo-solution and replacing it with truth, which is always flexible and knows no rules. It alone can provide true security, although the personality going through the process feels acute insecurity and anxiety when called upon to give up the pseudo-solutions.
The instinct of survival — or self-preservation — aims at gaining, maintaining, and improving life. By its very nature it works against anything that destroys or endangers life. Just as the body needs health to live, so the soul needs health to live most constructively. In order to live, one needs to be safe from destruction and damage.
I have occasionally used the term mask self in the past. The mask self and the idealized self-image are really one and the same. The idealized self masks the real self.
The subject tonight will be self-confidence. What is self-confidence? When your real being, your real self, your intuitive nature manifests, there is no uncertainty in you, no doubt about your right reaction or action, and no wavering. Your instant and spontaneous reaction is of such a nature that you know deep down, “This is right, this is so.”