THE GREAT INDIAN SAGE RAMANA MAHARSHI, I UNDERSTAND, (and just because I do not have the exact wording to hand or where it was recorded (or in which language)), used to pose the question, “When the sense of the personal self collapses together with the energy of the sense (my italics) of self, what remains?” 


I answer you, my Lord, in the language of today. Thank you profoundly for receiving me.

What remains is the absolute Void. There is absolutely zero left. A disorientation, a disbelief arise; the question: what? as it is immediately experienced if one is unprepared or the collapse is unexpected. This can cause a cataclysmic reaction to the individual as he is radically de-personalised*, because an actual bodily energetic field vanishes. It is felt that an internal plane of aliveness completely ruptures and disintegrates. For some it feels like a slip into the divine, for others, it is the descent into something hotter and distinctly terrifying.

The idea of who we think we are is built up from infancy with thoughts, is is not?  and emotions which are electromagnetic in nature have a charge. Synaptic connections are made in the brain, building and constructing to validate more of this false concept of an “I”, and are further reaped and sown in by the brotherhood of man in the world around us. 

The ideas contributing to the idea of the “Great I” proliferate in number as we add mini and major ideas upon the initial suggestions in infancy from parents and family (based on culture and beliefs)  – and build up an untouchable persona for self-protection, to establish personal preferences, likes and dislikes: from food to friends, to become “Who I REALLY am, and this is what I do”.

These false notions perpetuate and multiply to create a full-blown living, pulsating sensation which we refine, modify, tinker with, re-haul, chop and change in order to perfect ourselves in the world – in the belief it is real.

This is all fine if you see it all as a game. If you believe it’s really you and you identify with it –  it’s unmitigated hogwash. Forgive my direct language, Bhagavan.

I consider how we bristle in response to something unkind or undeserved that is said;  how we react if we feel something is untrue about ourselves – the energy-field of self tells us that is not in line with who we think we are. “How dare you?” or “What do you think I am?” One of the most extraordinary statements I heard when I lived in Frankfurt in the 1990s, was when it was said of me, “What kind of species is that?” I bristled and burned till dawn.

My Lord, the God I prayed to in my early life had a Christian flavour because of my mother; my father did not teach me about Islam, although I have my first Koran given to me by him in 1968. The God found in my early 20s had no labels at all when I slipped into the dimension and knew I was home.  But then I left. What happened at the start of the cataclysm in 2012 which radically wiped me out, is shown here diagrammatically by the best description I have ever come across. 

It is taken from the foreword by Ric Williams in the book, What is Self?, by Bernadette Roberts (1931-2017), an advanced Catholic contemplative, who was for me one of the outstanding spiritual writers today. Together with Bernadette’s writings and the book, Collision with the Infinite, by Suzanne Segal, I came to rest. 

I have copied the design because it was impossible to scan, and the description is verbatim from Bernadette’s book:

Figure 1: Ego (gray circle); experiences God at its centre (black pinpoint)

Figure 2: Ego disappears and is replaced by Divine center (Unitive Revelation)

Figures 3 & 4: In a new life of fearless, selfless living, we experience less of self as the Divine increases. This is God’s creative act within us.

Figure 5: Self is gone. (No-Self)

Every aspect of my life journey is represented here. The Infinite decides how it will haul us back, and there are no correct procedures about how It executes this.

There are many spiritual paths all leading home, aren’t there? But intricate descriptions around semantics of words and definitions can be fodder for the mind. However, we can make preparations by starting our inner enquiry about who we think we really are, and tracing thoughts back to their origin. Here you will find something behind the mind which is like a benevolent observer. It’s silent love, beauty. It is God.

The infinite beauty of each of us as points of divine consciousness is such that when the toll-bell rings, it is not only the idea of self that vanishes at the Infinite’s behest (or command, if it dramatic), it is the entire energy sensation that built around this falsehood that is the supposed self. 

This is the meaning of the your reference to the energy of the sense of self, and which in my final surrender, I came to experience.

I accept your darshan with great love and gratitude.

Thank you for your supreme benevolence. I see that we are one.


OM. Shanti.


* I use de-personalise as meaning the collapse of the constructed persona

Circle Depicts Self. Roberts, Bernadette. What is Self? A Study of the Spiritual Journey in Terms of Consciousness. 2005 Sentient Publications Boulder CO. p. xxix


Selima Gurtler is a spiritual writer, philosopher, and Jnana yogi.

Her modern teachings to Self-Realization and Liberation are uniquely flavoured through the perceptive eyes of her Indian and European heritage.

Free copies of her books are available for download here:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu are patrons of her work.

Selima Gurtler




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