Your best self — your wisest and most compassionate self — exists right now in you
You may be embodying your wisest self as you read this. Your wisest self is a fundamental part of you that wants to choose goodness, love, courage, and commitment to people and goals. Our wisest self is our best interior guide to the universe of relationships.
I’ve observed very young children being more drawn to love and kindness than to anger and fear. I believe that our wise/compassionate self constellates early in development and never leaves us. Even more, every time we choose love over violence, truth over lies, compassion over criticism, or self-awareness over self-deception, we strengthen our wise self.
Starting from a very young age, children, in relationship with caring others, develop capacities for love and wisdom, and can often feel the differences between compassion and contempt, truth and lies, generosity and selfishness. These virtues cumulatively constitute a wise self that most humans carry deep in their adaptive unconscious (the nonconscious part of us that processes information and sends us impulses, feelings, memories, and stories in response to experiences—what I call “Shadow”). This wise self is curious, calm, confident, courageous, creative, and compassionate. All any of us have to do to grow well is consistently invoke and trust our wise self, which deepens and expands as we access it and allow it to guide us.
The wise self has a different emphasis, depending on which vMEME is activated. As the individual grows in capacity, the wise self expands correspondingly in the include-and-transcend rhythm of vertical development:
- At red egocentric, Wise Self generates enlightened self-interest.
- At amber conformist, Wise Self is faithful to sacred beliefs and values.
- At orange rational, Wise Self offers practical integrations of real world demands and personal values in commitment to success and progress.
- At green pluralistic, Wise Self is dedicated to care and rights for all.
- At teal Integral, Wise Self feels a responsibilities and abilities to open the moment to serve the highest good for all.
When we develop to the point that we never lose contact with our wise self--even in extreme distress--we have an integrated consciousness and have passed a crucial developmental milestone.
We are conceived and our Origin Point comes into existence. Origin Point comes into existence at conception and is our closest connection the infinite. Multiple Spiritual teachers and healers have realized this and have their understanding of it at the heart of their systems. Diamond Heart’s “Pearl beyond price,” The Hindu “Atman,” the Christian “Soul,” Internal Family System’s and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy’s “Wise Self,” are all examples.
From infant to toddler we develop a separate self and an emergent moral system, based in our drives to survive, thrive, connect, defend, and care. Personality develops in response to genetic imperatives, our type of person, our social connections/learning, and our various social, sexual, physical, emotional, and existential drives. Personality can be more or less coherent with Wise Self.
Unthreatened, most humans want to share, care, and be fair. Threatened, we tend to enter defensive states that separate us from others and ourselves. Defensive states generate distorted stories that support flight or fight.
We have a billion year history of instincts which have included and transcended each other to culminate in all the drives that influence and guide us constantly both individually and relationally. When caught up in a drive—like hunger, sex, status, care, contact, competition, envy, jealousy, dominance, or submission—our unconscious creates stories to rationalize pursuing that drive. These rationalizations can be more or less distorted, depending on how coherent they are with our Wise Self.
When we never lose contact with Wise Self, even in defensive states or states of intense yearning or craving, we have an integrated consciousness.