This colorful set of Russian Matryoshka dolls offers an excellent example of how we may study and see ourselves as we were, as we are, and possibly as to what we may become.
Each wooden doll can contain the smaller one standing beside it, except for M5, the smallest of the dolls. Doll M5 is one unified piece, and no other doll may be placed inside of her.
In this illustration, M5 represents the Beloved, which in different esoteric traditions is called the Higher Self, the Watcher, the Soul, the Shekinah, the Kingdom of Heaven, Vishnu, Krishna, or Brahma.
In order for the voice of the Beloved to be heard – that is, the doll with the smallest voice – or for it to manifest its presence during our day, the silencing of the other dolls is necessary. As we describe what each doll actually represents, we see that this is no small task.
What follows is a brief description of dolls M4 to M1.
M4 represents what we looked like at birth.
We were physically and psychologically small. Although we needed to learn many new things, at this stage in our life we were free from fear and prejudices. In many ways, we were simply quite content to just be.
M3 and M2 represent the years from childhood to adulthood.
During these two phases of our life, we received the larger part of our academic and social education, and came to understand all that was expected of us by our family, teachers, friends, and even the entertainment industry.
In the early years of M3 we began to develop our false persona. Our lives went from living in the innocence and simplicity of just being ourselves, to donning the dreadful mask of fear.
During this phase, we developed the fear of making mistakes, the fear of looking foolish, the fear of not being good enough, and the fear of not being liked by others.
The M3 and M2 ‘era’ also introduced and indoctrinated us in the religious, ethical and moral values of our culture.
Thus, by the time we physically matured as an adult at M1, we were educated in the ways of the world, and fairly set in the sense of ourselves that would guide us for the rest of our lives.
It would not be too far-fetched to say that from the time we were born, nearly everything we were taught served to point us in the direction of becoming a mature and successful M1.
From the perspective of the spiritual side of our lives, however, there was little, if anything, that served to direct us in the internal direction of the Beloved.
In fact, as we were developing from the M4 through the M1 stages of our lives we rarely, if ever, heard or read anything that would make us aware of the existence of M5, the Beloved, within us. We were simply too focused on becoming successful M1 dolls.
At the same time, during this period of ‘growth’, we firmed up our judgments and prejudices towards other dolls, based on how they looked, thought, or behaved that was different from what we were taught was proper.
Even now, as we continue to crystallize in the direction of worshipping our unbending convictions, opinions, judgments, fears, and prejudices, we are unwittingly weakening the remote possibility of M5 ever manifesting itself.
Because the Beloved is composed of the divine attributes of love, wisdom, and compassion, she could not possibly appear in the midst of the harshness, severity, and fears that make up our false persona. These weaknesses that we consider strengths must first become muted, even for a moment, to enable us to experience another level of reality: the realm of our inner God.
The question may now be asked:
If we are so attached to all of these spiritually destructive traits, how do we begin the process of lessening the hold that they have had over us since childhood?
The answer, unfortunately, is not very appealing.
To struggle against the current flow of our lives, which is devoted to strengthening our M1 status, we often must experience a severe shock in the form of a deep emotional wound, financial ruin, or a life-threatening physical condition. (It is rare that one could initiate this process through their own will.)
Through the Ages, there have been numerous myths and legends of those for whom this type of suffering has served to soften their persona so they could psychologically don the robes of humility and meekness.
(For example, it was only after the wealthy and overly-pampered Buddha witnessed suffering, old age and death that he became determined to search for understanding.)
A severe shock, when used correctly, holds the potential to open our minds and hearts, thereby allowing us to begin the process of relinquishing our prejudices, judgments, and self-importance.
In this present essay we have largely discussed how an innocent M4 developed into a heavily encrusted M1. Our next essay will focus on how an M1 evolves into a divine M5.
This process of evolving from an M1 into an M5 is known as walking the spiritual path.