We wake up in this world when we realize we didn’t put ourselves here, we didn’t make ourselves, something else did. We didn’t give ourselves this body, this hair color, this face, this gender, etc. It was all given to us. We are the recipients.
And yet, we also realize we’re not separate from that which made us, but that it somehow became us, and is continually becoming us in every moment, giving us this life we experience right now.
We are not beating our heart, we are not (usually) breathing our lungs, we are not consciously aware of the trillions of metabolic and cellular processes and neurological activity happening in our bodies in every moment, not only of our own human cells but of the many other organisms that inhabit us symbiotically.
There is something much deeper causing all these things, controlling them, orchestrating it all, making it flow, running the show. “We” are not the source or cause of any of these things. They just happen, outside of our awareness.
Our sense of being a “self” is merely the tip of the iceberg, a psychological construction in our mind, thinking that it is in control, that it is the all of our being, that it is “us.” It is perhaps as Paul said, our ego takes a seat in the temple of our mind, thinking that it is God (2 Thess. 2:4).
When the ego is revealed for what it is, when we know our “self,” then we also recognize the deeper Source from which we come, and of which we are, the true Self, sometimes called the Christ Self, or the Buddha-nature, or ultimate Reality, or God. We (ego) don’t control this true Self, but rather we allow it to work through us, flowing through us unimpeded by ego. We surrender our ego-self to it, realizing that we (ego) are subordinate to it.
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said that it was the “Father” in him doing the work (John 14:10), that his words were not his but the “Father’s” (John 12:49-50), and that he could do nothing “by himself” but only what he saw the “Father” do (John 5:19).
It seems Jesus let go of his constructed sense of self, of his individual ego will, to allow the deeper Self to work through him, the divine Self which manifests as all selves and beings and things in the whole cosmos, this energy which flows through us, which has created us, this Love which unites all things as One Uni-verse, which gives us all Life and being.
Our individual consciousness arises within this greater Whole, but it is not the Whole itself. It is a manifestation of the Whole, an expression of it, an emanation of it, an incarnation of it, a child of God, as a wave arises in the ocean. And yet the wave is also the ocean, our individual consciousness and finite body-mind is what makes up the Whole.
Our individuality is perhaps like a hologram, encoding the Whole image within itself, the whole “world in a grain of sand.” In moments of deep contemplation, when the ego-self construction falls away from our mind, we can directly witness this deeper Whole within ourself, the true Self, the Source from which we come, and in which we are, together with all other selves and beings. And we know we are One.