The true self

1.5 years passed since I first started toying around with the ideas of stories, me and my ego, dharma and such.

I’ve read more books, listened to more of Dr. K’s videos (a goldmine, I promise) and most importantly – reflected – while running, talking with friends or just staring at the ceiling and listening to myself.

And I can now fully admit that my understanding at the time, although pointing the right way, was lacking in one particularly important way.

In the stories post, I mentioned Jim’s video, one I watched multiple times at the time and will repost here again:

I still remember, acutely, the feeling when I was watching that video, multiple times in a row – I blanked on some parts of the video, some I kinda got, but all in all I didn’t exactly fully comprehend it. Yet was sure of it’s significance.

Now, spoilers, I can grasp and accept the concept he describes so much better.

“Once you realise you’re complete, then this life and everything in it becomes a play of form. Something to toy with and play with, and make something good out of. ” – Jim Carrey

We’ll get back to this.

So, let’s start unraveling my learning process and the changes and understanding I gained.

First thing to talk about is the ego. In the prior posts, I kept talking about detachment from ego “as the way” and I mostly understood ego from the perspective of being egotistical – and by that I mean “self-centered or selfish”.

But that is not necessarily the case.

Ego, put bluntly, is the identity we form to reduce negative feelings – a set of pre learned (or tought) rules on how to deal with uncomfortable situation. A mechanism, when left unchecked, will form myriads of ideas of what we are in order to minimize pain and, in the same order, seek more and more pleasure.

For example – if you’re afraid of being hurt, the ego will come up with tons of reasons why you should not ask that person out or why, if you did, it will not work out. Red flags, boundaries (even healthy and necessary ones) will form from the ego in order to protect you.

And no, saying, as I did before, that we have to detach from the ego in order to be happy, to be ourselves – is not true either. Ego, when healthy, is a great source of information, as long as you’re willing to listen, rather than follow blindly.

Going back to the example, when you feel the thoughts and reasoning to not date that person come up, instead of just instantly accepting them as your true self, listen. What is the underlying feeling that creates these thoughts? In this case it might be fear of abandonment, of hurt, not being able to trust another person etc.

Few months ago I had this discussion on whether one should detach from the ego completely (the way I thought prior), or just mold the ego (or identity) to be strong – useful and productive. And I’ll embed a video that Dr K released around that time:

So what is a healthy ego? A silent one. One that is there, for sure. Accepted and sometimes taken into consideration, but certainly not identified with wholly – not the real you – and able to predetermine every bit of your life.

Sooo… what does this whole rant about the ego have anything to do with the true self and why I needed to address this first?

In my exploration these past few years I touched upon a few things – yes, the ego is somehow, often, in the way of happiness and real growth, and indeed, in order to be happy, just being here now, in the present is the way to go.

This I got a while ago.

Yet this whole topic lacks one crucial question, one I love asking my friends nowadays:

So who / what are you, [insert name]?

If you reflect on the way I wrote this post, you might immediately know why I started from the ego – one part of ourselves most of us, usually, consider to be “us”. Yet I’ll hope you might at least consider, even purely intellectually, that you (and I) are certainly not our egos.

We can, in some way, with awareness and some training, perceive the thoughts arising from the ego, interpret them, accept or dismiss them, suppress them (often unconsciously, and that’s super unhealthy) – so we could logically conclude – we can’t be our ego.

The same goes for emotions – we can feel them, accept them, suppress them (don’t) – so we’re not our emotions.

We’re not our vocation, our status, our favorite sport, our religion, our hobby – none of the social constructs. Nor are we simply our bodies, with a bunch of runny fluids, animalistic urges and desires.

So what is left, if we look through these all, one by one?

The true self is, in the end, the one that sees and observes. The source of our awareness, one we cannot actually perceive, nor does it change (unlike thoughts, emotions, our bodies or status, that are ever changing).

When I was meditating I never fully grasped the purpose of it. I understood meditation as a way to practise self control more so than awareness.

And here lies a problem – unless you’re aware of this difference and distance – between all the above and the true self – that the real you, the observer, is always simply seeing everything – none of this will make any sense, nor do I expect you to accept it.

Nor will you accept that meditation is training your true self to be more aware – off who you truly are, the underlying reasons for your emotions (be it those born from ego itself or elsewhere), the source of your thoughts and more.

I just hope I can nudge you at least to consider.

I promised I would return to Jim’s quote:

“Once you realise you’re complete, then this life and everything in it becomes a play of form. Something to toy with and play with, and make something good out of. ” – Jim Carrey

The true self is complete. The true self is simply always happy and content. You don’t need to achieve something or get something to reach a state of happiness (that’s another question to tackle, whether it’s a state at all).

And if you’re your true self, the world becomes a true playground for good, for happiness, for change, growth, love (and great sex), for colors, and beauty, friendships, losses and challenges, purpose, creativity and great breakthroughs.

For everything.

Just play <3

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