Many years ago, I subscribed to a wonderful little weekly entitled Manas. Full of short, elegant essays on philosophy, education, art, and people, Manas was a treasure. One week, it introduced us to the German poet, Novalis and his term for our spiritual selves, our Transcendental I. "Ollie," I thought when I read it, "You are my Transcendental I. Nice to meet you."
That was back in the 1960s. In 1980, when I dropped out and went to ground, determined to understand the secret to life or die trying, I began making notes on my sense of our Transcendental I. I was reading extensively in religion, philosophy and psychology at the time and my sense reflected the wisest things I could find this aspect of our psyches.
This is my sense of the Transcendental I:
Your Transcendental I is your innermost being, your Highest Self, the God that lives within each of us. Your TI is IT in the sense that it is your access to ultimate Truth.
Your TI understands that life is completely absurd. While the rest of your Personae think experiences are serious and important, your TI knows that nothing is important. Your TI reminds you that all experiences come to an end. IT is awakened from the seriousness and importance of experience.
Your TI understands that nothing exists outside of Consciousness, and that Consciousness, itself, is nothing but a passing phenomenon.
Your TI understands that your body, like the stars it sees, is nothing but a record of the past, and that your mind is nothing but memories and associations.
Your TI understands that nothing is necessary. Even life. The universe is not "ultimate." Nor does it hide a great fact. There is no secret to be learned. It doesn't matter what you do; therefore, do what you please. If you do what truly pleases you, you will discover that what pleases you is listening with an open mind to your selves, to others, and to the universe outside of yourself. Such listening is reverence for the experience of life. It is the purest form of love. What better way is there to spend our time here?
Your TI understands that in order to realize the present in all its fullness, you first have to transcend your sub-selves and yourself. Your TI is the part of you that is leading the rest of you to self-transcendence. IT understands that in order to self-transcend, you must surrender and listen. First, you must surrender and listen to your Fears. Then, you must surrender and listen to your Faith in yourself.
Because your TI has understood and achieved this awakening, IT is free of the past and future. To IT, all phenomena are theater, a source of joy and delight.
You will know your TI by the fact that IT is always full of humor. When you understand why, you'll understand how.