A good way to conceptualize the True Self (at least for me) is to think about it as a latent seed buried deep within our being. Provided the proper conditions and nutrients, the latent spiritual seed grows and develops. Denied the proper conditions and nutrients, the latent seed remains muted and hindered. I use the word latent to describe the True Self here, but if my understanding is correct, latent does not imply the True Self is completely dormant or passive. On the contrary, the True Self is always active to some degree, but it is the degree of this activity and, more importantly, the degree of our own perception and understanding of this activity that determines the effectiveness of the True Self's activity.
Consciousness is the medium through which the True Self communicates; hence, the effectiveness of its communication depends entirely on the effectiveness of our perception of this communication. If our consciousnesses align (partially at least) with our True Selves, we begin to perceive and have the opportunity to respond to this communication. If our consciousnesses are misaligned with our True Selves, we either do not pick up the communications or misinterpret them when we do.
A good way to think about it might be through the idea of higher and lower frequencies, which is one of the ways Arkle illustrates the relationship between the consciousness and the True Self. If our consciousnesses our attuned to lower frequencies, they will miss much of the higher communication the True Self is transmitting. Nevertheless, if we set our consciousnesses to higher frequencies, we will begin to pick up what the True Self is broadcasting. Of course, this does not imply that we will immediately understand everything the True Self communicates to us, but we will, at the very least, become aware of this stream of communication. From the perspective of spiritual development, awareness itself is major step forward.
Since the True Self is of divine origin, it is essentially the seat of our divine meaning and purpose in this world. The closer we come to understanding the True Self, the closer we come to understanding why we are here and what we should be doing. And this is where false selves come into play. False selves are basically what the name implies - untrue or only partially-true conceptions of our meaning and purpose in this world.
False selves are false in the sense that they either provide little or nothing in the way of spiritual development or, much worse, act as hindrances or obstacles to spiritual development. Unconscious or automatic responses and skills - including but not limited to things like driving or the thousands of other routines comprising our daily lives - make up the former, while the latter comprises selves that are grounded in activities, thinking, and behaviors that are likely antithetical to the True Self and spiritual development. I tend to think of these false selves as being driven and fed by lower instincts and emotions such as greed, lust, hatred, fear, despair, and the like.
From my perspective, the false selves stemming from lower instincts are far more pernicious and harmful than the purely robotic false selves (though these can prove harmful as well if not properly considered). For example, very few people identify themselves with or attach any meaning or deeper purpose to simple, automatic tasks like the daily making of a cup of coffee or tea. Brewing a cup of coffee or tea in the morning is simply something one does - it is not what a person is.
By the same token, the truly obstructive false selves are those to which we identify purpose and meaning. For example, people might not identify with or derive any deeper purpose and meaning from brushing their teeth, but many do derive deeper purpose and meaning from their vocations or, more specifically, from the lower instincts fueling most vocations. There is meaning and purpose to be found in almost any job, and many jobs can provide the ingredients needed for learning and spiritual growth; however, if we identify only with the lower frequencies of our livelihoods, we run the risk of establishing the kinds of ego-based false selves that lead us away from or obstruct our True Selves.
I could spend pages detailing the various aspects and degrees of false selves, but the definitions supplied thus far are sufficient for the purposes of this post. And what is the purpose of this post? To draw attention to Arkle's concept of the True Self and how the process of aligning the consciousness with the True Self underscores spiritual development. It should go without saying that this is something we should be both aware of and, ideally, willingly and actively pursuing throughout our lives in the interest of spiritual development, even in the best of times.
Having said the above, the circumstances of the birdemic pandemic present a unique and unprecedented situation concerning false selves. Rather than willingly and actively confronting false selves, we have been placed into a situation in which we are practically forced into confronting false selves. Put another way, the birdemic has manifested and is manifesting conditions in which the existence of false selves, both in others and in ourselves, becomes glaringly evident.
On one hand, the lockdown has suspended or curtailed most of our routine and mundane tasks of the automatic/robotic kind - commuting to work, work-related tasks on job sites, passive enjoyment of certain pleasures, etc. On the other hand, the lockdown has also at least partially severed us from jobs and past times that fuel lower instincts like ego and status. Needless to say, this has created varying degrees of discomfort and inconvenience for all of us. Much of this inconvenience and discomfort stems from a severe curtailment of personal liberties and freedoms, but I suspect a great deal of it might also originate from the forced position of having to confront false selves.
Ideally, the confronting and stripping away of false selves should be a freely chosen and freely willed individual decision, but lacking such motivation, we sometimes find ourselves in circumstances in which we are more or less forced to confront false selves through no conscious choice of our own. This is an essential part of learning. I believe the birdemic panic has placed all us in this kind of position. For the first time in my living memory, the greater bulk of humanity has been given the opportunity to take a step away from the world and engage in the process of becoming aware of false selves - their own false selves and the false selves of others.
As mentioned above, becoming aware of false selves - both in ourselves and in others - rarely breeds comfort or pleasure. In other words, recognizing and eliminating false selves can be an arduous activity, one wrought with startling revelations, errors in judgement, and genuine moments of being (for lack of a better phrase), which helps to explain why so many of us are perfectly content to reside purely in the realm of false selves.
Another problem with the recognition and elimination of a false self is that it rarely leads toward the True Self but, more often, to the falling back upon or creation of another false self. Nevertheless, in terms of spiritual development, the mere awareness of false selves is a step forward.
Oddly enough, the System, which breeds, nurtures, and maintains false selves, has now distanced a great portion of the populations of most countries. This gives us all an opportunity to reflect upon the false nature of the System and of our own false selves and their relations to the System. Through no choice of our own, many of us have been placed into positions where the conscious choice of that step forward can be made, or if it has already been made, can continue in a fairly intense and robust way.
As people read this, I fear I may be accused of desperately trying to find a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud. Before I conclude this post, allow me to stress that the conditions of the birdemic panic have been motivated and fueled by evil. As such, they are not Good. All the same, this does not imply Good cannot arise from these conditions. One possible good that may arise is an increased awareness of false selves and increased movement toward the True Self - that divine spark within us all. And if it doesn't occur at the collective level, it can still certainly occur at the individual level. And if it is to occur at the individual level, then it must occur now.