Recently, I was asked to help a colleague find her true self.

What does that mean?

My colleague had psychic experiences as a child and young adult. They were disturbing, and she had to “turn them off” in order to function. She adapted to a mind-oriented way of being and went into a study of hard science. Then life sent her some hard shakes and she began to question who she had become, what her values are. She turned to prayer.

She wants to know how to find her true self – the self she was before she forced herself to have a materialistic, atheist mindset.

The request to help someone find their true self is paradoxical because in the truest spiritual sense, finding our true self feels more like a dissolution of self into a larger whole – the experience of bliss of oneness.

This merging into our true self is so unlike what the mind can conceptualize and comprehend that, famously, every spiritual school agrees it is “beyond words.”

Experiencing this true self is, in a sense, a psychic experience, in that it involves the development of subtle energetic perception – which might be called psychic perception, and that comes about through spiritual practices.

However, the meaning here of “psychic” has little to do with being able to receive visions, knowledge, or insights about other people or places, or to be in contact with the deceased or with spirits from the other side.

This true self is beyond all that. And, as is said in some yogic traditions, when the siddhis, or “psychic, occult talents” develop, as they will if you do enough breathwork and meditation, they are a distraction and a temptation. We acquire these skills as part of our perceptual range, but they are just that: skills – and not an end-goal in themselves.

Usually, when I am asked about finding one’s true self, what is meant is finding one’s purpose in life. Again, this can be a misleading question, even when we ask it to ourselves with deep sincerity.

When we incarnate, we come with a purpose. It can be something large, to carry out or participate in a great cause. Or it can be something small, such as learning to be less self-absorbed and to humbly dedicate oneself to the wellbeing of others. (In which case, the preoccupation with one’s purpose is the opposite of what we should be learning.)

I like Michael Newman’s descriptions of souls and their evolution, the idea that as souls progress, we are drawn to develop different skills and talents.

Some of us are healers, some are ethicists, some scientists, some are involved in the care of the earth, and so on. We come back again and again to complete our skillset, but also to develop our “character,” to mature in our depth, our ability to hold a larger perspective, and a willingness to sacrifice. (I think I just described my own challenges…)

I suggest reading Newman’s Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls, to offer perspective to this question. Newman himself offers “Life between Life” hypnosis. He says that when people experience who they are between lives, they get a sense of their purpose, and gain more energy and confidence to take on the challenges of this present life.

I offer hypnotherapy too, along with mindfulness guidance and the RoseWay meditation. I also find that guiding a client or student into a deep sense of self – indescribable experience – the result is more energy and deep confidence for this life today.