What is the self?


Have you noticed, whenever you are asked to introduce yourself, the general questions you are asked are, your name, how old you are, your occupation and what education qualifications you hold. If you go in further with the questioning you also tend to share and express your achievements you have accomplished or holidays you have been on which were memorable. So basically all you talk about is your experiences of you in the past, of what you call your present self. Furthermore, to add to it you also talk about what your personality is like based on what you been told about yourself by others and what impression you have held onto about yourself according to your past. But really when you talk about it, do you actually believe everything you say about yourself is true, in that moment? Questionable right, your answers are never consistent and if they are they can always be questioned.

What is the self really, for me the self is an identity created through past experiences which can be altered every moment according to scenario and situations you are in, in life. It is never fixed, your definition of yourself is always changing, is it not? Depending on who you talk to you express yourself differently, you wear different masks. After you age a little you start to fixate yourself on your identity, this is due to the repetition of it repeated, again and again, you start to believe that identity is really who you are. This identity you have perceived yourself to be now will try to remain consistent in action and words. I will give you an example, two years ago I decided to change my diet to veganism. It was a different experience at the start, of course, you get introduced to a new identity and a new way of living. I developed an ego, I felt better than everyone too in my head, being a vegan feeling it was the right thing to do. I told people I was vegan, so even if I don’t have much choice when going out to restaurants I remained consistent with my beliefs of veganism, of course, time after time this identity I stuck on to for myself was always questioned by my mind, whether I was doing it for me or to remain consistent with what I had told others. Eventually, after a while I realized I was suppressing myself, forming new beliefs every day so that I can stick to it. From this, you can see that if you really question what you believe to be true about yourself, by and by you will realize that whatever you believe about yourself is really not as consistent as you think it is. Your actions will always be different in different moments but you will still think it’s consistent with who you are more or less. For example, you may try to go with an impression you have previously used in front of someone for them to be aware of you as the same person in that situation even if it goes against you, you will still try to live up to your past impression of yourself then, creating suppression within. You will notice it over time when you realize that whatever you have held yourself to be in front of someone is mainly because of remaining consistent with your words one way or another.

Of course, no one want’s to come across as a liar or someone that can’t keep up with their words in front of others, and this is the biggest reason why man goes against himself all the time just to remain consistent of how they represent themselves. To keep the words you have said in the past, you go against yourself in the present moment. But really when asked who are you, have you got any answers beyond any explanations of who you ‘thought’ you were in the past? That’s a no of course unless you respond with “I am a soul”, but even that’s borrowed knowledge given by others. What is your own experience of yourself in this present moment? Everyone always wants’s to know about others and the drama happening in the outside world, but never try to know themselves. You distract yourself day in day out, whether it’s with social media or doing work, but you cannot be direct with your mind about who you are, can you? Have you noticed at night your sleep is sometimes more broken than ever because you are worrying anxious about the future or worried about what you have done during the day or previously in the past that is haunting you, whilst you sleep?

The self is created with ambitions and desires of the future and accomplishments and memories of the past, whether it be positive or negative it remains with you in your mind constantly trying to define you of who you are. This also includes what you perceive yourself to be according to your morals and values you have learned to follow whilst growing up. So basically how you describe yourself in the present moment is based on DREAMS. Dreams of the past, which will never come back and dreams of the future which is yet to come? How is any of it real, what are you really inside?

However, when you read this post, you can question it or think into it but remember this, until this is not part of your own EXPERIENCE you will not be able to tell, what is truth and what is an illusion. Be aware of what you have believed about yourself so far, stop being stubborn, stop trying to relive your past experiences day in day out. As Buddha said “The root of all suffering is attachment” so stop being attached to your ever-changing identity be conscious of it. Relax in your present self where their is no worry, no anxiety and no suffering, only bliss is experienced in this state of consciousness. Being free of the future and the past is very important as that will give you experience of real freedom.

“My true self is free. It cannot be contained” – Marcus Aurelius  

If you have any questions don’t be hesitant to email me on wisdombeyondmind@gmail.com


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