This comes out of an on-line discussion on the Falling Away of Self interview. Someone asks if Rick was referring to the individual soul. Rick responds “It seems to persist from life to life, some say forever. Is that the self?”
My response, edited slightly for this context:
That depends. What do we subjectively relate to as “who I am”?
I find the Vedic perspective useful. They describe layers to it. The ego-self (Ahamkara) or sense of being a separate self. It is identification with this that leads to the sense of a personal, separate me. It is this identification that is let go with Self Realization. (pre-Unity no-self or awakening in the interview)
[some also talk about asmita, where the ego sense is personalized, made selfish. It’s also associated with our conditioning. This does fall away.]
Jiva is that point value described in various ways. Jane mentions the “drop of personal soul essence” and it is often related with the heart. It is what leaves the body at death so is best associated with what westerners call soul. Some relate to that as who they are. [They have a sense of being that transcends death.]
Atman is the cosmic Self. It arises from awareness becoming aware of itself. Creation arises from that. A shift in being to this value is called Self Realization. But consciousness has 2 modes. It is aware of itself globally: the cosmic part that is universal. All things arise from and reside in this. But it is also aware of itself at every point within itself. Some points are dormant and some enlivened and expressing. One of those can be called a jiva. This understanding can arise in the Unity stage.
Brahman is the great. It is the source of the qualities that become consciousness but is not involved in that. Being beyond consciousness, it is an abstraction that is challenging to describe, known only by itself alone. And yet, it is the platform for totality and an understanding of the nature of reality beyond conception. And that too can be lived, although we would no longer call it a “self”. Brahman is the post-Unity no-self that was the main topic of the interview.
I would add that it also becomes the platform for pure Divinity to unfold on.