Struggle between Selves
“One law of our souls is that if we are present to our here-and-now experience with an open and fresh attitude of curiosity and inquiry into the contents of our consciousness, our experience will rapidly deepen.”
“We cannot make ourselves change, just as we cannot make ourselves feel love for someone we don’t care about. Change does not happen through our own efforts. No one has ever made themselves or anyone else change. But our efforts can orient our consciousness in such a way that transformation is more likely. “
I read a lot of self-help books. Why? Because I have a desire to be better, and I guess I hope that by reading these books I will be able to change into this better person. It’s not that easy. I have the awareness of what I could do to make myself better, but I don’t always have the willingness to do the necessary actions.
Let’s take meditation for example. For several weeks, even months, I have had the idea of starting my mornings with meditation. In this romantic vision, I wake up with that sense of curiosity and presence possessed by children. I open the window, sit on a comfortable cushion in a designated meditation spot, light a candle, set my Insight timer for twenty minutes, close my eyes and meditate.
Have I even once done this? No. Why do I want to? For several reasons... One, I feel like overall I will be a happier, more peaceful, more enlightened person if I do this. Two, I think that I will be perceived by others to be a happier, more peaceful, more enlightened person if I do this. Three, I have an idea that it will give me a sense of purpose. Four, I believe that if I start my day this way, connecting with “presence” I will have an easier time achieving my goals.
So, why don’t I? I don’t have many good answers. I have some not-so-good excuses. There is resistance, of course, as Steven Pressfield writes so beautifully about in his book, The War of Art. The quote above from Sandra Maitri is also somewhat comforting, though I don’t think it fits exactly with this problem. It is possible to make an effort to do something.
What is coming to my mind is the struggle between the IDEAL SELF versus the PERCEIVED SELF versus the TRUE SELF. My ideal self meditates every day. My perceived self doesn’t have faith that I am capable of committing to meditating every day. And most importantly, my true self is buried beneath the two, so that she is very difficult to access.
It’s all a process, part of the journey. One reason I love the Enneagram is that it helps me get a little closer to uncovering the true self.
What is your experience? Do you have a sense of the struggle between the ideal, perceived and true selves? Are you able to make an effort to meditate every day, or do some other activity that you believe will be soul-enhancing? Please share your comments in the space below.