As you say Michael, the journey of the spiritual life is to find the “real self”, that is the self that is in union with God. The false self is the person seeking the world or the “great beast” of Plato as referred to by Simone Weil. Our spiritual journey seems to have us striving for the real self or theosis, while constantly slipping back to the false self. As you so rightly say, our spiritual journey is a gradual evolutionary process.