The higher self is a term in spirituality that is often used interchangeably with the soul, spirit or intuition.
There is a lot of advice that points to a higher self vaguely but doesn’t provide a lot of insight into what it is. Is the higher self the same as our soul or spirit, and why should we connect with it in the first place?
In this article I want to explore what the higher self actually is, why it’s so important and how to connect with this aspect of yourself.
What is the higher self?
The higher self is an aspect of ourselves that knows better. In a sense this is similar to our soul or intuition, I think we are using different terms to represent different levels of this one thing. With the soul being the widest representation of God or the Universe, then the higher self which is more connected or relatable to our human self and then the intuition which is the manifestation of it.
When I refer to the higher self I am talking about an aspect of our soul that is here to guide the human self. What do I mean by this?
I think each soul which makes up part of a larger soul group has a specific purpose. The reason we categorize things like this is simply because it is easier to understand as a human using language, although each of these elements isn’t exactly ‘separate’.
We can unconsciously create a sort of hierarchy or create disconnection in our system through this sort of language, but I also think it can be useful depending on where you are currently at.
It’s a lot easier to move into a higher level of consciousness if we have more relatable terms and concepts to work from. It depends on your personal preference and level of awareness.
The higher self essentially makes it possible for us to fulfil our soul mission. We each come here with a purpose, something we want to do as part of the whole (the world at large), and the higher self brings us to the experiences and resources we need in order to work towards that.
How to connect with your higher self?
Now that we’ve covered definitions, how can we connect with this higher aspect of ourselves?
We connect with the higher self in the same way we do with our intuition – by getting to know ourselves better!
As I say when referring to intuition, these higher aspect are us. We’re not looking to find anything (even though it does feel like that at times) but to reconnect.
The clearer our relationship with our human self, the easier it is to pick up and act on the spiritual messages we receive; because there isn’t a big smoke screen in the way. Our identity, ego, mind isn’t getting wholly in the way of our spiritual selves, even though those aspects of us are important and essential in their own way.
It’s less about getting rid of the mind or ego and dissolving all human identities and inclinations, and more about putting them into the right context and working with them constructively.
Clear the mind
The biggest reason we are not connected with our higher self is because our minds are full of ‘stuff’. The higher self is always there, even when our minds are full and we feel disconnected spiritually, it’s just harder to feel and then hear the higher self coming through.
You can start with a 5 minute meditation practice and build up over time.
A lot of the time we are afraid of the quiet space that can come when we practice meditation and mindfulness, because we can feel the presence of the higher self wanting to come through.
This might sound weird. why would we be afraid of embodying the higher self if it is a positive thing? However, humans love familiarity. The mind and ego loves to be able to predict things, and so opening yourself up to the higher self can feel incredibly unsettling. You have to be willing to give up some limiting beliefs, fears, doubts and this can be uncomfortable.
Get in tune with the body
Another important step to connecting with the higher self is to get more in tune with your body.
The connection between the physical body and spirituality is often understated, but essentially if our bodies are overwhelmed and tired it is going to be very difficult to receive clear spiritual guidance.
A lot of this is out of our control. There are a lot of stressors that we’re not going to be able to get rid of – if we live in a draining family or work environment for example.
What’s most important is giving your body some much needed care and attention regardless of the circumstances – focusing on what you can control.
Practices like breathwork, exercise, grounding, alongside meditation/mindfulness, is going to make it easier to integrate the higher self down the road. To get to a point of relative peace and calm within the body, so our spirit can be truthfully expressed.
Create spiritual rituals
You do something for your mind with meditation, something for body with somatic exercises and something for your spirit.
One of the best ways to connect with your spirit (same as the higher self) is to cultivate some spiritual rituals. Rituals act as little anchors throughout the day, that you remind you ‘I am a spiritual being in a physical body’.
The rituals themselves are important but I also think it’s helpful to figure out what you are devoted to, so that you are practicing these rituals with clear intentions. Are you devoted to God, the Universe, or is your focus closer to home? Are you practicing spiritually to become a better partner, parent or person for those around you?
A ritual can be as simple as lighting a candle during the major phases of the Moon and setting a specific intention, writing a page in your journal led by your intuition, or going to an altar each day and praying. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as it makes sense to you.
My experience with the higher self
One of my first direct experiences of the ‘higher self’ (we are always experiencing the higher self even if we are not aware of it) was after a full hour or meditation. I had gotten into the habit of meditating for longer periods of time while partaking in other activities. In an effort to make even ‘dead time’ productive in some fashion.
After this meditation session I left the bedroom I was in and went downstairs to make myself something to eat. It was still quite early in the morning and the Sun was shining in through the windows. Everything just felt different, as if everything suddenly had a lighter airier quality to it.
Then I began to feel guidance, almost hear my higher self talking to me, in each little action I took. Whether it was turning on the water faucet or picking up a specific item to eat, I felt like I was being directly guided as to the best way to do each thing.
This presence felt like a very loving parental figure.
How the higher self transforms our lives
The higher self is not always going to come through as directly as this. Sometimes we’ll hear a guiding voice, other times we’ll feel a warmth in our bodies, the signs vary.
The higher self will come through strongly at certain threshold points, like when we have released or raised a lot of energy. Ultimately we want to integrate more of our higher self into the physical body (at least this is how we describe it). These are timely moments for that to happen.
When we receive this guidance or care that comes through the higher self, we don’t want to see it as coming from outside of us but to properly appreciate and embody those qualities more consistently ourselves in daily life.
What does the higher self do?
One of the key ways the higher self comes through is by orchestrating situations that will bring us growth. It is usually quite obvious when these situations are taking place because they’ll have that magical feeling to them. When our spirit or higher self intervenes like this, there is often a sense of dejavu. I feel the reason this happens is because we are almost reconnecting with an old friend, there is an uncanny familiarity present that we can feel but can’t logically explain.
Similarly the higher self can bring about synchronicities, illuminating a specific path that is going to help us grow in some way.
A simple way to encourage our higher self to come forward more often is to show appreciate, give thanks whenever you have experiences like this. This will increase the amount of synchronicities and signs that come your way.
Integrating your higher self
Integration is a word thrown around in spiritual spaces but it’s not always obvious what we are referring to. Integrating the higher self essentially means taking the higher self as part of you; not as some separate thing that is above.
This isn’t about intellectually reasoning with yourself or understanding wholeness as a mental concept, but making sure your actions are aligned.
When you feel the higher self coming through, acknowledging it as part of yourself. When you feel this higher aspect, identifying which uplifting traits/qualities you want to bring into your daily life.
If when connecting with your higher self you feel warmth and ease, how can you embody these qualities daily. How can you bring an uplifting energy to each interaction you have – at home, in public, at work.
Here are some signs your higher self is being integrated:
- You feel guided to a specific goal
- You are able to feel + contain more emotion
- Your spiritual awareness is starting to have a constructive impact in your daily life
Recently I have really felt the higher self coming in to be integrated. I have experienced seemingly ‘random’ floods of emotions, acceptance, deeper knowing.
The difference this time is that I feel much more capable of balancing and integrating this volume of emotion, rather than feeling overwhelmed by it.
Almost as if something above is going ‘You are ready to hold and use all of this energy’.
Shadow work is a key step in integrating our higher self, because it is all about getting comfortable with emotions we’ve pushed aside.
The shadow (unconscious side) is essentially energy that at some point, we were unable to properly process, integrate and use constructively.
Being honest about our emotions, thoughts, beliefs is crucial to aligning our actions in the ‘highest’ manner.
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