I mention this in the light of the title of this post which, as readers of the book will know, is something the Masters told me early on in my training. Specifically they said, "Forget the personal self and merge with the Universal Self" which is the key to all spiritual growth though, like anything, open to possible misinterpretation. In this case that what merges is absorbed, swallowed up and lost. That is far from the case. If the dewdrop slips into the shining sea, as the poem has it, it doesn't lose all its 'dewdropness'. It is just no longer bound by or identified with that.
It might be wondered why I tend to repeat the same remarks from the Masters in these posts. The fact is that I only made notes of their talks in the first year or so which is the period covered by the book. The talks continued, off and on, for another twenty years but only rarely did I write them down. I rather regret that as they told me many interesting things, but in order to avoid any misrepresentation of their words I only quote them directly when I have a documentary record for what they said. Sometimes I do incorporate things I remember them saying into my own writing, but don't credit it as coming from them.
The idea of merging presupposes a real individual self - if there is merging there must be something that merges - and that is why strict non-dualists don't accept it. Their reasoning is that the individual self is an illusion to begin with so any merging means the illusion still persists. There can only be a seeing that there never was any separation and that is enlightenment. But I have to say that this shows a misunderstanding of the process of spiritual evolution. God creates real souls, individual beings that have real existence. He creates them out of Himself so they are Himself but they are also not Himself. They are themselves too. They have their own, quite real, being. God can do this. After all, He is God! These souls start off as spiritual babies. But through experience in the world of form they build up a real identity, growing their seed of individuality as they develop a greater and greater response to the various planes of existence, expanding their consciousness if you like. When this process has reached a point of full development their task then is to reach beyond the worlds of form and personal development and reunite their existence to the Great All out of which they originally came. To do this they have to forget the personal self and merge with the Universal Self. But this merging does not mean that their unique quality, their individual note in the cosmic symphony, is lost. They join the throng of realised souls in the great choir of heaven, souls who are all one with God, their being now consciously merged in His, but still unique facets of the Godhead.
To sum up this idea we can say that realisation or enlightenment means that you are no longer identified with becoming (the individual self) and now rest in pure being (the Universal Self). But that doesn't necessarily mean that becoming ceases because as long as creativity and expression exist then it does too. God Himself 'becomes' both through us and as the universe expands. But for a human being post-enlightenment it certainly shifts gear and goes into a totally new phase, taking place on the spiritual/cosmic level rather than the physical plane. And it continues until the night of Brahma when the universe enters into pralaya (dissolution). This does certainly not mean there are enlightened egos but there are enlightened souls who have, as it were, turned themselves inside out so that what existed outside (God) is now inside and what existed inside (self) is now outside. They have gone beyond karma in the three worlds and are liberated from identification with form but they still have their own particular and unique quality or identity. Unity does not mean uniformity. In fact I would say that for as long as life is expressed (i.e. not resting in a state of complete inactivity and stillness) unity and multiplicity are two complementary and equally real sides of the same coin. And this is the great glory and wonder of creation and why there is something rather than nothing.