Self is 'that which is at first known as the soul in the human experience, but which, in the end, is found to be identical with the supreme Reality.
The pursuit of truth or spirituality is discovering the truth of the true existence as its goal the realization of one's identity with the Ultimate Truth.
Seekers goal is always a spiritual one. In fact, a true knowledge is said to be a science which shows the way of approach, or rather of return, to the spirit, which is the true Self.
There are no other paths other then the formless path by which a seeker may realize the ultimate truth.
When one is in the realm of inner equilibrium - that is, perfect co-ordination between the Spirit (soul) and the Matter (mind). In this balance lies the secret. When the seeker of truth has learnt to view and judge the three states, on the standpoint of the soul as self, so to say, and does not allow himself to be imprisoned in the grip of ignorance. This is a very difficult thing to achieve, but it is an important aspect of pursuit of truth, inasmuch as it paves the way to detachment and gives freedom from the burden of experiencing the duality as reality.
The three states are external to the soul, which is the true self. The three states are dependent and the soul or consciousness, the innermost self is independent.
The Unconsciousness can only be a consciousness without objects; otherwise it has no meaning. Therefore it is really consciousness, which can exit with or without the objective awareness.
That which one knows best in the world, that which is nearest to him, that of which he can never be free, the existence of which is certain, is his consciousness. He may doubt anything else but he directly perceives his- self, which is consciousness.
No one so far has even been able to define the meaning of 'mind' and 'consciousness. Only through inquiry, analysis and reasoning on the true base to realize the fact that waking/dream are mental states. The truth is hidden in waking, dream and sleep--which come and go.
Before any of the states come in, there must have been the soul or consciousness, the innermost self. Before one could know that God created world, there must be the soul or consciousness, the innermost self to witness the waking experience.
The man, god and world are reality within the waking experience. Without the waking experience they are non-existent. Illustration is dream, the dream contains the dream world, dream entity, god. Similarly the waking experience contains the waking entity, and waking world and god etc.