The Higher and Lower Self

by Joshua Tilghman on August 10, 2013

2882312995_2856e47a58_oFrom the first Adam containing the fallen lower nature, to the second Adam (Christ) containing the risen higher nature, the Biblical stories explain the development of consciousness from the lower ego to the maturation of the spiritual ego. This is the main key to unlocking all of the Bible’s deeper mysteries.

With that being said, let’s jump into the topic of the lower and higher self. Although this information comes from esoteric material outside of the Bible, by the end of this post you should be able to see that the higher and lower self are certainly Biblical concepts.

The Lower Self

It is important for you to understand that when I use the term “matter” throughout this post, I am not speaking of physical matter only. There are types of matter that science cannot yet measure but are nonetheless real.

The lower self is comprised of three bodies: the physical-etheric body, the emotional body, and the lower mental body. All these bodies interpenetrate one another and through them we experience the waking consciousness, the personality, and lower ego; who you think you are as an identity in this earth-life.

Nothing needs to be said about the physical body. The etheric body is a double of the physical body, but it’s a higher frequency of matter and it provides the vital energy (prana) that the physical body needs to function. In esoteric literature the etheric body is sometimes labeled separate than the physical body, but I believe it’s more beneficial to see them as two parts to a whole since the physical body is dependent on the etheric body to stay animated.

The emotional / astral body is an even higher vibration than the etheric body. It is through the emotional body that consciousness experiences emotions and desire. You can also think of the emotional body as the psyche. Although it cannot be seen by the physical eye, clairvoyants say that its aura extends a little beyond the physical body. The color of this aura depends upon what type of emotions a person has harbored throughout life. Higher emotions are a lighter color and hold a higher vibrational frequency. Lower emotions tend to be darker in color and hold a slower vibrational frequency.  When you sleep at night and dream, consciousness leaves the physical body and withdraws to the emotional body. Consciousness is experienced differently here. Things are illusory, and the type of matter that makes up the emotional world is more easily manipulated. It is the stuff of dreams.

The lower mental body is where individual thoughts and the intellect originate. All thoughts within the lower mental body contain emotion as well, for the emotional and lower mental body are closely linked. Remember that the physical, emotional, and mental bodies all interpenetrate one another. Clairvoyants state that the mental body extends out even further than both the emotional and physical body, and its color also depends on the frequency and type of thoughts a person dwells on. When a thought is experienced in waking consciousness, it is interpreted by the physical brain, but just as emotions originate in the emotional / astral body, so does thought originate in the mental body.

The Lower Self is Not Permanent

What’s important to realize about the lower self is that it’s not immortal; all three of these bodies eventually decay. Just as God said the first Adam would die, so does the personality and psyche of the individual. In each incarnation these three bodies are rebuilt for the manifestation of consciousness as the self. If you remember, Adam was immortal in the Garden of Eden. This is an allegory for the fact that mankind had not incarnated into the physical plane yet and experienced the fall.

What Happens When We Die Physically?

When the physical body dies, consciousness withdraws to the emotional and mental body. The difference from this and sleep is that in sleep the etheric body is still functioning and provides prana to the physical body even though consciousness is residing in the emotional body and mental bodies. But upon death, when the silver cord is actually severed (Ecclesiastes 12: 6), consciousness permanently withdraws from the physical body never to return again. Once the silver cord is severed between the emotional body and the physical-etheric body, physical life truly ends. Anyone who experiences an NDE (near-death-experience) has not had the silver cord severed.

Sidenote: The silver cord connects all three bodies of the lower self to the higher self.

After a time the emotional body must decay as well. The length of time the emotional body survives depends upon each person and their life experience. Just like some physical bodies far outlast other physical bodies, it is the same for each individual and their emotional body. I have read in esoteric literature that a rough estimate of the length of life for the emotional body is 40 years.

Conscious experience in the emotional body is like a dream. They can be heavenly or hellish, pleasant or nightmarish. Again, it depends on the composition and type of emotional body one has built up by the emotions they have harbored during physical life. When a person focuses on negativity sometimes before bed, or watches a movie that harbors negative acts, they might have a nightmare. It is the same after the death of the physical body. Someone who has harbored thoughts of un-forgiveness and hatred most of their life may be in for a hellish experience until the emotional body dies.

As you can see, the original Catholic ideas of purgatory are based on the deaths of the emotional body, where the soul has to spend time working off its bad karma until it can proceed to heaven.

Once the emotional body dies, consciousness withdraws to the mental body. Consciousness in the mental body is usually a pleasant experience. Thought instantly materializes whatever a person thinks of, but for many people, it quickly becomes an unconsciousness experience. If they have not learned to develop consciousness to a higher vibratory frequency during physical life, they may remain unconscious (asleep) during the decay of the mental body.

One possible reason why this happens is because some have not developed consciousness through the higher mental plane where emotion and desire are not attached to thought. This being the case, they cannot retain consciousness without the emotional body. When the emotional body wears out and dies, consciousness simply has a long sleep while the mental body dissolves. They may begin life in the mental plane after the death of the emotional body, but they quickly lapse into unconscious sleep as the mental body continues to decay. For people who wish to remain conscious and have the heavenly experience talked about in most religions, I would advise them to work towards conscious, spiritual advancement in this life.

The Higher Self

According to esoteric literature the higher self is composed of the higher mental body (the causal body). There are other aspects to the higher self, but they are beyond the scope of this post. For right now we’ll just stick to the causal body.

The higher mental or causal body does not decay and die between each incarnation. It stays with us through all our lives in the human kingdom. As opposed to the lower ego of the personality, the causal body contains what we’ll refer to as the spiritual ego. The Apostle Paul referred to it as that which is “incorruptible.” Primordial awareness is eternal, and it is a property of the spiritual ego. The spiritual ego is that it is only a potential at first. It must be built up over many lifetimes, because here is where all the causes of our thoughts, feelings, and actions are stored during life. That’s why the higher mental body is also referred to as the causal body.

If we have made conscious advancement during physical life, there will be something to add to the spiritual ego at the end of the incarnational cycle. If we lived only through the lower ego, selfishly fulfilling our lusts and desires, nothing of substantial quality will be added to the spiritual ego in that incarnation; our next incarnation will begin much like our former and we will continue to learn the same life lessons the soul had the opportunity to learn before.

The Lower and Higher Self in Peter and John

At the beginning of this post I told you to think about Adam, the first man, as the lower self, and Adam, the second man, as the Christ who experienced divine union with the higher self. Jesus the man who matured into Jesus the Christ is an allegory to show us this spiritual path.

I’d like to illustrate this in the Apostles Peter and John. Have you ever wondered why the conversation between Peter’s death and John’s living forever happened at the end of the Gospel of John?

Peter represents the lower ego and mind. Remember In Mark 8:33 Jesus calls him Satan (the ego). If he is truly going to follow Christ, he has to die. That is why the conversation below takes place at the end of the Gospel of John:

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedest whither thou wouldst [separateness of the ego], but when thou shalt be old, thou shall stretch forth thy hands [symbolizing the crucifying of the ego], another shall gird thee, and carry thee where thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me” (John 21:18-19).

Jesus’ command to “Follow me” represents the spiritual ego’s call to crucify the lower ego and become one again with the divine. Now consider what is said between Peter and Jesus about John next:

“Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will for him to tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me” (John 21: 21-22).

The above had nothing to do with a physical man living for thousands of years. John represents the love nature. This would be a quality that adds to the spiritual ego. Therefore it does not die at the deaths of the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. It is a quality that would become part of the spiritual ego in the causal body. In this aspect it is an immortal aspect of the soul.

We must all walk the path of Jesus and become a Christ. The Christ is someone who raises their emotional and mental vibrational frequencies above the selfish desires and thoughts of the lower self, thus merging the lower and higher self into ONE. This is partly accomplished through the higher mental plane through the opportunities provided during physical life. This merger causes the lower self to be subservient to the higher self, and life is lived not by our desires or emotions. It is lived by enlightenment. Lee Bladon, author of The Science of Spirituality, puts enlightenment like this:

“…the light of the soul overwhelms and subjugates the persona/ego, relegating it into a subservient role. The peace that passes understanding” accompanies enlightenment. The ceaseless chattering of the mind no longer colors our perceptions with its judgmental running commentary, which leaves us free to just “be” and experience life purely and directly.”

In our next post where going to take a closer look at the higher mental plane through a famous mystical symbol in Genesis: the rainbow.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

anny October 28, 2013 at 8:49 am

Hello Joshua,

When you see the physical and the etherical body as one, as I think Paul also did by talking about spirit – soul – body, you get a human in three parts. Both concepts you could see as trinities I believe, who are One in essence.

This point of view makes it more understandable when we talk about God as the Trinity. It is three sides, aspects, phases of a Process. Deepak Chopra calls it Generation, Organisation, Dissolution/Renewal. Someone else, I forget who, calls it Creator, Creation Process, Creation/Creature. It is a process in three phases and so is Man I believe.


Joshua Tilghman October 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Great way to see it, Anny. I had never heard of Deepak’s explanation before, but I liked it.


Chris February 24, 2014 at 7:23 am

One of the best articles I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It also helped me understand some of the auras and colors that I see around me in meditation, which I’ve been searching for answers to. Very grateful. Thank you.


Joshua Tilghman March 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm


My pleasure. Thanks for the comment and encouragement. Blessings!


Samual April 23, 2015 at 3:07 am

Hi Joshua , Awesome blog
I’ve made many connections with Higher self ‘s from the 5th Dimension to 12th Dimension Highest self then the connection will be much clearer with soul then spirit connection and you will see all the energetic implants in our energy body .Ive been removing implants for 5 yrs peeling each layer away to spirit.
We have lived in many universes on many planet’s threw out the cosmos .
Be the one


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