WHO ARE YOU?
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.” William Shakespeare
In the journey of life, we all play many parts. We also lose parts of ourselves along the way. We come to believe that we are not okay as we are, and aspects of our nature get pushed aside and denied. Perhaps we draw that conclusion from the way we were raised. Or maybe we were taught the doctrine of original sin and think we were born guilty. Advocates of reincarnation believe we carry misperceptions about life and self from other lives into this one. Possibly the dark side of human nature is in the genes. In his book “Dark Nature,” biologist Lyall Watson proposes three laws of all genes:
Be nasty to outsiders.
Be good to insiders.
Cheat whenever possible.
Distasteful as those laws sound, all organisms have had to rely on them to survive, and that includes human beings. Outsiders are not to be trusted; they might take something from us or hurt us. They could invade our territory, steal our food, kill us. Law 1 is a ‘do unto them before they do unto you’ dictum. On the other hand, it behooves us to be good to insiders, those within our tribe, family, community. We need their help and support. Finally, we are all essentially selfish and cheating can enable us to get what we want, need, feel entitled to.
As we evolved, altruism and cooperation came into the picture. When humans shifted from a nomadic to an agricultural, settled society, they needed to get along with a greater number and wider range of people. Altruism and cooperation were beneficial to survival. Those impulses developed in our nature in addition to the three basic instincts of the genes. We remained fearful of outsiders, suspicious of other races, religions and cultures. We continued to favor our own, and do what needed to be done to get what we wanted. However, we learned to cloak baser impulses and instincts in more acceptable behaviors.
We learned that courtesy, helpfulness and reciprocation brought more rewards than cheating and stealing. Well, most of us did. There are still plenty of thieves, scam artists and psychopaths among us. Though hidden and modified in the rest of us, the dark nature still exists and shows itself in various guises and in certain circumstances. Wherever this dark nature – what Carl Jung called the shadow self – comes from, the result is the same: we all believe there is something deeply, inherently and irreparably wrong with us. It must be kept hidden.
“The person we choose to be automatically creates a dark double –the person we choose not to be.” Thomas Moore
We hide the dark double behind façades we develop. Persona means mask and the false self has many masks. We become actors, don different costumes, play different roles: parent, partner, child, worker, friend, teacher, student, on and on. We are constantly changing our façade/face depending on the people, times, situations we’re involved in. Consider all the different facets of personality people have: serious, funny, critical, compassionate, judgmental, dominating, submissive, demanding, easy going. There is no permanent, fixed personality. Forty-three facial muscles produce thousands of expressions enabling us to have a different face for every occasion: cheerful, irritated, shy, sad, arrogant, determined, sneaky, to name a few.
We recreate ourselves moment to moment. We change instant to instant depending upon our thoughts, emotions, experience and the energy around us. Different people call forth different aspects of our nature just as we do theirs. After a while, we’re not sure who we really are. In a desperate drive to define ourselves – to feel real – we develop specialized personalities, talents, relationships, works, possessions and so on. But still, the question lingers in the back of our minds: Who am I?
- Complete this statement with as many words as possible:
I am ____________________________________.
EXAMPLES: I am a woman, wife, daughter, mother, friend, cook, gardener, accountant, tennis player…
- Complete this statement with as many words as possible:
At various times, I am ______________________.
EXAMPLES: angry, anxious, happy, funny, serious, sick, healthy…
You are, in fact, none of what you mentioned. Your words do not define you. They describe your various roles and experiences. We have all been hypnotized to believe we are what we do and the face we present the world. We know ourselves only as the costume we’re wearing, but behind it there is a deep seated anxiety that none of it is real. We sense the façade will crack and fall apart the minute we stop reinforcing it, so we put all our efforts into shoring it up, dressing it up, making it stronger, more special. And still the sense persists: this is not who I truly am. When we finally admit it, the search for Self begins. We confront the perennial, existential question, “Who am I?”
THE TRUE SELF IS WHO WE WOULD BE WITHOUT THE NEGATIVE FILTERS AND MISPERCEPTIONS THAT DISTORT PURE LIFE ENERGY.
This book will help you remove those filters and misperceptions and re-discover your True Self. It will explain how the life force gets stifled and twisted, and provide means for detecting and dismantling the blocks that keep you from feeling wholly, happily alive in the present. The degree to which you desire wholeness will determine the speed of your journey.
A drunk was stumbling through a cemetery one night when he fell into a newly dug grave. The walls were muddy and slippery. Try as he did, he couldn’t climb out. A while later another man, taking a short cut home from work after dark, was crossing the cemetery and fell in the same hole. Out of the totally black night came the drunk’s voice, “Once you fall in here, you can’t get out.” But the man did.
The drunk didn’t have the energy or motivation to climb out but the second man, thinking he was in hell, did. When our pain or unhappiness is great enough, we will discover resources we didn’t know we had and have the power to climb out.
CONNECTION KEY 1: Intentions guide energy. Set an intention to know your True Self.