There is an illusion that you hold on to though your own experience shows that it is just that – an illusion. You know it, but you behave as if it were not true.
And much suffering results from this.
What is this delusion that holds you in thrall?
It is the notion that you are one single permanent self that is present all the time.
I know this is not true.
The resolute me that greets the morning with joy and determines to eat healthy and exercise is not the same person who, having had a good dinner and brushed his teeth, decides the perfect way to end the day is with a deep-fried, salty snack.
The good natured me, who fully believes the universe gives hints, is not the snarling brute who emerges when he has sunk into a comfortable armchair to watch his favorite TV show and the universe, in the shape of his lovely wife, reminds him that he had promised to do the laundry.
The book “Sybil” became a bestseller and the protagonist had 16 separate personalities. You may not be a pathological case but I bet you have more.
I certainly do.
Perhaps you can relate to this entertaining piece written by Obi Ejimofo who took my course at London Business School. (Explanation – My course is called Creativity and Personal Mastery and frequently called CPM.)
My Nigerian me was caught on camera last Monday battling with the UK-born me
for control of the kitchen. Spontaneous me sneaked in between the two and
whipped up a spicy stir-fry with ingredients from both warring camps.
Mindless me grabbed the steamy plate, leapt on the couch, opened up my laptop,
turned the TV volume down a notch and began to make a phone call while
furiously blowing on the meal to cool it down.
CPM me wagged a stern finger and negotiated a more mindful experience of the
meal (the TV stayed on as a compromise).
Worry me applauded the choice of fish over red meat and the variety of
vegetables but worried about the liberal amounts of groundnut oil used.
Indulgent me tucked in, cleaned the plate, went for another helping and topped
it all off with 3 glasses of wine.
Sporty me bemoaned my foot injury, no football for a few weeks. Music me
couldn’t decide whether to play Cuban jazz or neo-soul while CPM me denounced
all the other me’s as mere manifestations of mind chatter
Nigerian me was sulking, UK me flicked the Dutch channels for something in
English while Don Juan me wondered yet again whether the ladies at the spinning
class giggled for Sporty me or the Black me.
The Black me chuckled to himself, he felt he knew the answer…
Creative me fretted and tugged and squirmed, he wanted to write and draw and
make music again ‘Damn this MBA’.
MBA me fretted and tugged and squirmed, he missed the classes, the debate, the
broadening of the mind.
Worry me sniffed, remembering that I turn 34 in less than a month. Nigerian me
concurred, my mum wants to see that me married. Family me agreed, he wanted
kids. Career-minded me joined the thought – I should have been far more
successful by now. UK-born me just wanted to be back in London.
CPM me joined forces with Sporty and Creative, morphed into Positive me, bribed
Mindless to stay out of it and kicked Worry to the curb.
Music me decided on some Cuban jazz…
… All of Me stretched, lay back and relaxed to enjoy the vibes…
…..except Worry me ‘Who was going to do the washing up?’
Do you recognize yourself?
You have many selves. Some of these selves do stuff that greatly upsets other selves.
That is just the way it is.
Your problem arises because you think that there is only one permanent self. And that self is accountable for all your sins of omission and commission.
Recognize that these ‘selves’ come and go. They are all equally unreal.
YOU are beyond that. You are NONE of these selves.
You are the OBSERVER of these selves.
Rest in that state.