The false self is a constriction of our whole being, including our mental and emotional functioning, and our physical body. This constriction creates gaps in our ability to experience life, which are ‘filled in’ with false images, compensatory attitudes, and inaccurate beliefs about ourselves and our environment. These false images, attitudes, and beliefs, although unconscious or barely conscious, influence all of our life choices. The bound emotional pain in our body also colors or ‘haunts’ all of our experience. To some extent, we all suffer from a narcissistic wound, from a deficit in our self-love and self-knowledge. Most people compensate for this deficit with artificial postures meant to create a stronger, more functional, and more lovable self. It is this ‘false self’ that gradually dissolves as we become enlightened.
Our true, or essential, sense of self matures with the realization of fundamental consciousness (‘enlightenment’). We come to know ourselves as boundless, pervasive, pure consciousness. At the same time, we develop an experience of our individual being within this vast space. This is a felt sense of the internal depth of our own form, along with the movement of our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.
Our individual form is experienced as entirely permeable and transparent, unified with the world around us. But the unity of enlightenment is not a state of fusion. It does not mean that we lose our internal contact and become merged with the life around us. Although we can see and feel, to some extent, the internal life of the beings around us, we do not confuse our own self with them. Although we may have great empathy for other life, we cannot perceive the environment from someone else’s perspective, or think their thoughts, or decide to move across the room in someone else’s body. This is the mysterious paradox of enlightened experience: we become unified with our environment, and more fully our own unique self, at the same time.”
Judith Blackstone. “The Enlightenment Process. A Guide to Embodied Spiritual Awakening.” Paragon House, 2008.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort
and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
What you’ll discover will be wonderful.
What you’ll discover is yourself.” Alan Alda
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. ... If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” Clarissa Pinkola Estés
"If one completes the journey to one's own heart,
one will find oneself
in the heart of everyone else." Father Thomas Keating