When Assagioli defines the conscious “I” (and the Higher Self), he speaks about a contentless self that is not the content of the awareness (sensations, feelings, and thoughts). Sometimes he calls this I or self for pure self-consciousness or pure self-awareness to underline the fact that it is always a self that has an experience of itself as pure consciousness. However, at other times he simply speaks of our innermost self as pure consciousness and pure awareness because the self is something made out of consciousness. This compilation of quotes by Assagioli highlights some of the latter uses.
“… the body, feelings, and mind are instruments of experience, perception and action, tools that are changeable and impermanent. But the “I” is essentially different: it is simple, unchanging, self-conscious. The experience of the “I” can be formulated as follows: “I am I, a Center of pure consciousness.” Affirming this with conviction does not mean that one has already achieved the experience of the “I,” self-identification, but it is the path that leads there and is a means of mastering our psychic activities. …
All this is preparation for the final positive stage, the affirmation and experience of self-consciousness: “I am convinced and affirm that I am a Center of pure awareness, of pure self-consciousness; I am a Center of will, capable of mastering, directing and using all my psychic functions and my body. I AM.”
Let us dwell on this statement, striving to realize this pure consciousness of being, this stable, unchanging Center, steady as a rock amidst the churning waves of becoming. “I AM.”” (From the Disidentification and Self-identification exercise)
(So, body, feelings and mind are organs of experience and perception, of action, but they are not myself, they are not “I.” What then is the “I?” What am I? First and foremost, and essentially, a center of pure awareness; a kind of inner eye, which observes, perceives and knows that it sees; and therefore perceives self-awareness. And as such, [it is] permanent, simple, immutable. We can doubt everything, except that we exist. Descartes said, “cogito ergo sum.” I think, therefore I am. One could also say, “I doubt, therefore I am.” I can doubt anything except my being, because the very moment I doubt my being, I would be the one doubting. If I were not there, I could not doubt. This is not a play on words. It is an observation, an internal experience.) (From Psychology and Parapsychology)
“The second meaning which can be given to “self identification” is the inner experience of pure self-awareness, in dependent of any content or function of the ego in the sense of personality. Curiously, it is a subject which has been neglected , and the explanation is that the experience of pure self-identity -or in other words, of the self, the I-consciousness, devoid of any content -does not arise spontaneously but is the result of a definite inner experimentation. Those who have tried have been able to reach a state of pure I-consciousness, self-identity, realization of oneself as a living center of awareness. This is well known to psychologists in the East, because they are interested in the experience, value it, and therefore use the techniques appropriate to achieving it.” (From Psychosynthesis, p. 112)
“The “I” is simple, unchanging, constant and self-conscious.
The experience of the “I” can be formulated as follows: “I am I, a centre of pure consciousness.” To state this with conviction does not. mean one has yet reached the experience of the “I”, but it is the way which leads to it. And it is the key to, and the beginning of, the mastery of our psychological processes.” (From Psychosynthesis, p. 117)
“When meditation is not based on a theme, the contemplation is a state of perfect repose, an inner silence, taking the form of pure consciousness of being.” (From Transpersonal Development, 2007, p. 36)
“… the true, pure awareness of the self is over-ethical – ethics comes into play in the relationship between all of this and the personality. But this is actually beyond good and evil – it is the pure awareness of the Self.” (From the Experiences of the Self)
“The second phase is that of true meditation—meditation, that is, upon an idea formulated from a phrase or elaborated from a single word. Its first stage is intellectual reflection, but this is followed by something deeper and more vital, which is a state of perceiving, of consciously realising, the quality, the meaning, the function, the value of what is being meditated upon, so that it is felt to be almost living and acting within. In place of words one can use images and symbols, adopted from the external world or inwardly visualised. Higher still is the stage of contemplation, the nature of which it is well nigh impossible to describe in words. One can but hint at so intimate a state of identification with what is contemplated that all sense of duality disappears. It is a state wherein subject and object become fused in a living unity. In the absence of any formulated idea, therefore, contemplation ensues as a state of perfect calm and inner silence, a “subsisting” in the pure consciousness of being.” (Psychological mountain-climbing)
“How about the Transpersonal Self. These are confused points and concepts. One speaks of (from the higher experiences) illumination, intuition , and all the other so-called cosmic consciousness, etc., as being the same. They are not. The basic difference is that all of these are processes, living processes. They belong to the world of becoming and even at the transpersonal there is this wonderful process of becoming, of growth, of all the phases of super-consciousness. But the Self in contradistinction is stable, firm, permanent – to use the philosophical word “ontological”. It is Pure Being. Pure Being is not becoming and becoming is not Pure Being. It needs the intuition to grasp this, or even the illuminated mind, but they are both together anyhow. Also, on the higher, and let us say the rational mind can see this difference, and many philosophers have pointed out the difference between being and becoming, process and entity. …
Well, this is absolutely quite correct. The higher Self is pure being and essence, not an intellectual construction. We’ll have to stick to that. … the Self in contradistinction is stable, firm, permanent – to use the philosophical word “ontological”. It is Pure Being. Pure Being is not becoming and becoming is not Pure Being. ” (From Talks on Self)« Back to Glossary Index