What is your essence?

Your essence is your soul or higher self, the part of you that experiences all your lifetimes on earth. It is spawned by the Tao into the dimensional universe, which consists of seven planes of existence. The core of it is the spark of the Tao that spawned it.

Just as your essence is an expansion of the Tao, your personality is an expansion of your essence. Before your essence begins incarnating, it is, you might say, a seed pod full of potential. It has had no experience, so it seeks all experience. It casts forth one seed, a piece of itself, into its first lifetime, and hence the game begins. Every experience on the physical plane expands your essence. If your essence were already whole and complete in the sense in which you might think of it, if it had nothing to learn, it would not bother to confine itself within human bodies. The very limiting of an aspect of itself in a human body gives rise to more possibilities, more experiences.

Is it accurate then to refer to our wholeness, if the essence is always learning and expanding?

This is an apparent paradox, but you are always whole and complete even though you are continually growing. Your physical body is a symbol of this. It was complete that is, having all its parts when you were born, but it grew and matured for many years. In fact, it never stops changing.

All your parts make a perfect and complete whole. Knowing wholeness is integrating them, including them in your awareness. You can do this and still not know everything that there is to know in infinity. The possibilities of existence will never be exhausted. Your possibilities as an essence will never be exhausted. There is always more. Yet you are a whole being, consisting of all your parts. The greater your awareness of them, the more effective you are.


The essence becomes bored when there is little growth occurring. If there is little growth occurring, it is because there is something stuck. Sometimes the essence will generate a traumatic event to jar the personality loose, because that is the only way to get through.

Your essence is neutral about how you grow, but it feels much better to grow through joy than through pain. It is only because people insist on growing through pain that this is the predominant way of growing at this time on earth.

Ultimately, there is no stopping growth. To make an analogy, if a four year-old decides that he no longer wants to grow physically, he can wear very tight clothing and never take it off. After a while, he will start ripping it and bursting buttons, and will find it difficult to move, but he will still grow.


As you stay in contact with universal knowledge through your essence, you increasingly find your right place in relationship to others. The machinery of your life moves more and more efficiently, and there is a flow that fills you with a sense of heightened well-being.

In this process, your essence receives pure, complex thought forms and distills them, giving your personality what is important for you to consciously know. Such cooperation draws to your essence greater knowledge because you are using it and therefore drawing it in. It also fosters a greater reciprocity between your personality and your essence. More and more, you become aware of being not merely your outer personality, but your whole being, your essence expressing through your personality. This allows you to integrate your personality so that it ceases to exist as if it were a fully separate entity. As long as you have a physical body, you have some sense of separation, but it is reduced. This brings healing.

A technique for fostering such integration is to think of the words I am as meaning your whole being, including your essence. Then, when you say “I,” you are consciously speaking from the whole of you, helping you come into alignment and identification with your wholeness.

Your wholeness is part of the universal whole. As you grow, more and more aspects of the whole, both internal and external, are blended into what you think of as “I.” That includes other people. Complete conscious unification with the universal whole will probably not occur for you on the physical plane, but you can deliberately add more and more into your identity through connecting and identifying with other people and your environment, seeing them as part of you. That is a greater challenge with those who seem contrary to you, and it is quite significant to your growth when you accomplish it.

Essence and personality are two aspects of you. Neither should dominate. If you are “blissed out” on your essence to the point where you are not experiencing your personality, you may as well go back to the astral plane. But if you are experiencing only your personality, you have forgotten what the game is about. Your conscious awareness, if properly placed, is not fully at the level of personality, yet not fully at the level of essence. It partakes of both.


Essence contact is a direct, clear, and powerful connection with the essence. It occurs either internally, between an individual’s essence and personality, or externally, between the essences of two people whose personalities are adequately open. It results primarily from genuine desire. The reason that stress often brings about essence contact is that under stress, there might be the desire if you are about to fall off a cliff with one hand grasping at crumbling rock, you might start praying. Because of the severity of that situation, an opening may occur in you that would not otherwise. But your essence does not require that you be under duress in order to make contact. The best way to develop essence contact is gradually, a little bit at a time. We recommend that you keep opening to your essence on a daily basis. Ask for its input and energy. Gradually, you start to have your essence properly represented in your life, if it is not already, just as the healing of your emotions allows your emotional self to be represented in your life. Every part of you deserves to be integrated into your life.


Your essence decides the big picture, and your personality, the details. Your essence sets the course and your personality carries it out. The essence is more adept than the personality at projecting the probable outcome of certain actions, and will block and reign them in if they are significantly off track. However, the essence is not all-knowing. Fundamentally, it incarnates for the enjoyment of creating and adventuring into the unknown. This really is a game, in a sense the only game there is.


Do not assume that your essence or spirit guides have better specific ideas than you do. Your essence delights in your coming up with ideas that complement its general vision.


We are told to identify with our higher selves. While I feel a connection with my higher self, I don’t identify with it. I sometimes get guidance from it that doesn’t make sense to me. Can we just “be” our higher selves?

You could describe the self as being made up of the conscious, subconscious, and superconscious selves. Each of these three levels of self in turn has many facets. You can identify with the whole of yourself, including all its parts. Your superconscious is your higher self, or essence. It is the part of you with the overview. It is wise to strongly consider the overview, but your subconscious gives you much important information, too. Your conscious self is your decision making and control center where your three levels of self can come together and co-create.

When your conscious self is isolated and dictatorial, it is the false personality or ego. When it is fully connected with both your subconscious and your essence, there is a fluid interchange that allows all your parts to integrate so you become a whole person. This is the true personality.

When you are making a decision in true personality, you gather information and experience internal feedback to it, developing an inner consensus so that it becomes clear what your best choice is. All your parts are represented in the process.

When you say “I am,” it does not represent only your higher self. All your parts are essential, or they would not exist. The higher self is “higher” only in the sense of having an overview, not of being better.

Your personality is valid. The goal is not to eliminate it, but to integrate it with your essence. The more you integrate it, the more you grow.

All growth is a result of essence contact. Contact with your own essence leads to growth, expanding your experience of self. When you also contact the essence of another person, there can be much further expansion.

All personalities start out in separateness. When the infant is delivered out of the womb and the essence incarnates, the personality is not yet very developed, so essence can be sensed. But you could not say at that point that the personality is integrated into the essence, because there is not much personality to begin with. Infants cry when they need to be fed or have other physical needs met. This is obviously not indication of complete identification with essence. Still, infants are recognized as being beautiful as they are.

The most evident aspects of a young child’s behavior spring from the specific nature of his physical body; for example, some bodies are naturally more passive, while others are more active. As he gets older, his personality become stronger. The more it develops, the more independent or separate he becomes, both from his parents and from his essence. It is necessary for his personality to develop if he is to integrate with his essence otherwise, what is there to integrate? Someone with an inadequate sense of self cannot manifest his essence. Although it seems paradoxical, you must find separateness before you can find oneness. By the way, separateness here refers to individuality, uniqueness, or differentiation, not to arbitrary isolation. Even when you are focused on developing your uniqueness, you can feel connected to the whole.

Integration with your essence is an essential part of the spiritual path.


Is it accurate to describe the relationship between the essence and personality as a teacher/student relationship?

It is closer to parents and child, actually. The reason your essence sends your personality into the world is so your essence can learn from the world, not so your personality can learn from your essence. If your essence already knew the things that it wanted your personality to learn, it would not bother incarnating. Your essence might know principles, but needs to incarnate to “flesh out” its knowledge.

Your essence is rather like a couple who has many children so that the children can help out with the family business. In that analogy, you are one of the children of your essence; your reincarnational selves are the others. The family business is what your essence wants to accomplish throughout all its lifetimes on earth.

Good parents try to help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls, but know that they cannot have your experiences for you or limit what you need to experience in order to learn. They give you the right amount of freedom. Just so with your essence.

While there is a trend toward parents teaching their own chil-dren, usually parents send their children to school so that other people can give their children input. Varying points of view stimulate growth in the child. If the only adults with whom chil-dren come in contact in their education are their parents, they do not get a balanced education. In this analogy, your teachers include all your experiences and every important person in your life on the physical plane, as well as your guides and other friends on higher planes.

Your essence should be respected, just as you might respect your parents, listening to what they have to say but making your own decisions, taking all factors into account. You are fully responsible for what you do no matter what your parents say.

Suppose that you have wise and loving parents whom you respect, but that you also have a beautiful mate, children, and siblings whom you also love and cherish, and your decisions affect all of them. If as a son or daughter you were to automatically obey your parents and disregard what your mate, children, and siblings feel, you would not be considered to truly be an adult. You would be thought of as being excessively tied to your parents. Your task is to take each family member’s needs and views into account and come up with solutions that work for everyone. You may value and weigh your parents’ views more heavily than any other individual view, because they have had more experience than anyone else. Nevertheless, their position is not yours. They are not standing in your shoes and they do not have to live with the choices you make. They are not all-knowing. As their child, you build on their experience and move in new directions. Repeating their lives is not your purpose. After due consideration, you must make the decisions that feel best to you. If later you find that they were right, you can grant them that, yet you have to know for yourself. It is not so terrible to make a mistake. Mistakes help you learn.

You do a much better job when making decisions that affect all your family members if you are connected and communicating with them. Likewise, you are constantly making choices with your conscious mind that affect yourself on many levels. Connecting and communicating with the various aspects of your-self allow you to know what is actually happening so that you can make the best possible choices.

The analogy of parents and child for the essence and personality is limited. The relationship is actually much more intimate than that because your essence is the core of who you are.


Each essence is unique. No matter how highly developed it is, it continues to advance. At the same time, it is perfect as it is.

The more highly developed your essence, the more pressure it brings to bear in your personality. What you call enlightenment occurs when the force of your essence against the constraints of your personality grows to the point that your essence comes forth and manifests. This coming forth is quite dramatic with some people; with others, it is gradual; and with many, of course, it does not happen at all.

When a highly developed essence manifests, there is more to manifest than with one of lesser attainment. However, every essence is beautiful and wise in its own way. There is simple wisdom, and there is more advanced wisdom based on greater experience. Once your essence manifests, there is still much to be learned by your personality, but the learning tends to be more through joy than through pain.


You look quite different to us when we look at you energetically instead of through a channel’s eyes. Energetically, you appear rather like the samples of watercolor paints that a creative paint manufacturer might employ to foster sales of his beautiful pastels and rich, bright shades. You have never seen some of them before! When you are in harmony with your essence, your aura is a full technicolor revelation of you. Those who are less alive look more dull, like the sepia Kansas in The Wizard of Oz; there is not a lot of color or magic in their lives. As you move on the spiritual path, your innate color fills in.

Imagine a cartoonist sketching a duck in pencil, and then painting canary yellow on his web feet, the white on his bottom, blue in the background, and so forth, until the color completely fills in. This is a little bit like what it can be for us to watch you over the years. Black and white cartoons can be entertaining and do the basic job, but full-color cartoons have a another dimension.

So here you are, going over the rainbow into the land of Oz to meet the wonderful wizard that is you. He is sometimes popularly known as your higher self or essence. In this case, the wizard is a wizard. You might fear that you are going to find out that he is just a bumbling middle-aged gentleman pulling down the handles and making a lot of noise and sparks. If so, this is one story that could be rewritten in your mind. Instead, you could see yourself receiving a warm welcome from a truly wonderful wizard who is also a friend of the witches of all four directions. It is not quite as dramatic as seeking broomsticks, but you have done that script and are now ready to experience the power of your own selfhood. You do not have to fight witches to do that.

About Shepherd Hoodwin

Shepherd has been channeling since 1986. He also does intuitive readings, mediumship, past-life regression, healing, counseling, and channeling coaching, where he teaches others to channel. He has conducted workshops on the Michael teachings throughout the United States. His other books include Enlightenment for Nitwits, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships, Meditations for Self-Discovery, Opening to Healing, Growing Through Joy, Being in the World, and more to come.

Visit his website at

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