Ever notice a conversation that comes up over and over again with multiple people? It’s been happening in my life. People are asking me, “How do I live so that my perception of self is the same as other’s perceptions of me?” Key word: Perception. Who you are doesn’t change, nor should it. You are perfect. Who others are doesn’t change either. Our perceptions and koshas change.
So who are you? You are made up of many layers, sheaths or kosha that work together. The koshas are often represented in concentric circles as the outer later, contains all the ones inside it. As you move from the outside of this image towards the center, the outer layers support the inner layers.
The self is the atman and it is surrounded by your koshas. People can perceive your physical body and energy levels. They can interact with your thoughts and emotions. As you get closer to the atman, the layers of self are both harder to alter and more difficult to perceive. If you can be aware of of each kosha, you are aware of your total being and the layers surrounding the Atman begin to become in-consequential. They do not alter the true self and so the perceptions that others have of you are the exact same as who you are!
The koshas are described in the Taittiriya Upanishad (translated by Eknath Easwaran). After describing the relationships among the koshas, this is said:
The Self in man and in the sun are one. Those who understand this see through the world and go beyond the various sheaths of being to realize the unity of life.
Finding a non-dualisitc view of self (you are not separate from your koshas) can help you find a non-dualisitc view with others. Your true self shines and others will see themselves in you and you in them. Genuine connections are made as the illusions or perceptions of differences fade.
Am I in a place where my koshas work together to fade into the background allowing all my true self to shine? Well… when I am hangry (so hungry I am angry) my physical kosha causes my energetic kosha to crash. When that happens, I am less likely to be in control of my thoughts and emotions. Then, my wisdom body kicks in, sensing the conflict away from true bliss to hungry. What’s next? EAT! So yes. When I am attentive to my needs, I can live with my atman on the out side for all the world to see!
The trick is to meet the needs of the koshas before trouble happens… seriously. I am saying that self care can allow you to show your true self. Not just eating for your physical body but concentrating for your mental body and meditating for your bliss body!