Finding your “self” is the experience of realizing what is important to you. This may be a many layered process which take us through questioning ourselves, our relationship with people and the world and can lead us to find what some call our “true self.”
Creating life that is based on our true principles, beliefs and values as opposed to carrying the values of other people, society or structures can be a complex thing. As soon as we come into contact physically, mentally or emotionally with anything, be it an ideal, a feeling, a sound, principle or concept our consciousness both physical and mental reacts. Whether our reaction is in the negative or positive we create a link to that experience. This forms part of our relationship with that experience from now on. Over the course of our life we are connecting with experiences at every moment, and so relationships are being formed, moved, transformed and shaped constantly. Each thought that we have elicits a sensory reaction and the first reaction that will arise is the one that has been programmed from similar thoughts we’ve had in the past. In essence while we may think that each thought is new, the reaction to them is actually old. This presents a deeper meaning to the statement “living in the past.” Like wise when we have feelings of emotion and react to them whether we choose to express or suppress we are still “dancing” within a relationship with that sensation. It is still the “past.” This is interesting because often we may believe that we have transcended an old pattern simply because we are choosing a different way to react. In truth the pattern still has influence and control over us, it’s just that we have chosen to react in a different way in order to deal or adapt in a manner that we believe is healthier or wiser.
Transcending a pattern of reaction whether to emotions, thoughts or feelings does actually mean going “higher” or leaving it behind. Transcendence is actually a state in which we have chosen to experience internal freedom in spite of being smack bang in the middle of our patterns. We are the eye of the hurricane but we are also the hurricane itself. The freedom we experience comes not from running away but from facing ourselves and using this opportunity to find true power. The first steps of facing ourselves brings us the experience or perception of being buffeted by the “hurricane” of our self. We get blown around because we are not used to being in the intensity of emotions, sensations and thought. We may feel fear but the truth is that this cannot kill us. We cannot die here – and so inevitably if we stay, remain conscious and allow ourselves to be vulnerable and sensitive, then we will learn to fly within the hurricane. We learn to make our minds and body flexible enough to move with the hurricane and eventually it becomes like walking on solid ground. Another remarkable thing happens at the point that we learn to be the hurricane – we realize that these gale force winds were caused in large part by our resistance to them. Our minds have been like magnetic fields reacting with other magnetic fields which cause chaos. By allowing our own field to become congruent and smooth with what already is two fields become one, and so we experience unity. When we become unified then we gain another opportunity – one of looking into the reflection and seeing our “true” self.
Any description of the “true” self is one that will never compare to the actual experience and in a sense it is almost futile to speak about truth because words being words can carry only so far into the realm of actual feeling. The actual experience of the “true” self is indisputable simply because when something feels so right we are so in the moment the thought to doubt never arrives. It is similar to what one of my first meditation teachers related to me. He said “People only come to meditation when their lives are in pain. Then they look for answers. When life is good they do not need to look for answers – they just live.” Experiencing the “true” self is similar to this. Purists often argue that the “true” self is representative of absolute truth because it is eternal, it never changes. My own experiences of the “true” self do not necessarily support this argument either way, however one thing that I have experienced is that just looking into the window of eternal or infinite is more than I believe I can truly comprehend at this point in my life. Even at it’s furthest reaches, there is more and when I reach that point there is still more. The infinite is an experience that offers literally infinite wisdom and knowledge however I feel humbled by it, not by any means master of it. Through humbling ourselves I believe that the infinite allows mastery to be realized through and inside of us. It’s not something that we develop, it’s something that we allow to be recognized by learning to look and listen.
In order to find we do need to seek, however in seeking we must make sure to observe the seeker, because it is the seeker that transforms and reveals the “true” self.