Illusory selves; the stories that run our lives and escaping them

Written June 2022


This morning I woke up feeling down.

Wondering what the point of all of this is. Hurting.

Tears rising up and spilling over.

Thoughts of not understanding.

Thoughts of not enough.

Thoughts of it will be better when…

Between falling into these thoughts and feeling them deeply, identifying with them fully, feeling like they are absolutely real and true…there was a little voice asking what on earth was going on. 

You see, about a month ago I had 3 full days where my sense of self dissolved completely. Life was moving and happening all around me and I just felt so deeply part of it all. The boundaries between this self here and all of life dissolved and I felt inexplicable peace and freedom. I saw the beauty in a swarm of flies. I laughed at flowers swaying in the wind. Yes, it was a like Disney movie 😉

The self I believe myself to be with all of its stories, patterns, habits, ideas, past experiences and future dreams was at rest, and all that was left was presence, witnessing life.

I can tell you there was a hefty bump back to earth when that self piped up again.

For a few days I was sad, feeling like I had lost something. Desperately wanting to get back there, to that grounded, peaceful being-ness that’s truly, painfully completely indescribable. 

There’s more to say about that, but it’s not for right now. Back to the story of this morning…

I knew that this suffering was a result of the self I believe I am. Because that self is always the cause of suffering. For all of us. 

And so I began exploring it. I asked how I felt and the answer was:

Like I’m not doing enough. Like I should be back to business, sharing and talking and creating and working. Like I’m a failure. Like other people are so much more capable than I am.

I enquired into where this idea came from. The very first memory I have of it came flooding into awareness:

School. Teachers telling my parents I had so much potential and that if I just applied myself, I’d do a lot better (and to my child brain I understood this to mean I would in fact BE a lot better).

There was the insinuation that I had control over it. That if I just did a bit more I could reach my potential. 

And in that moment of childhood memory appearing around me, I saw the truth… 

My feelings this morning couldn’t have been anything other than what they were.

There’s a program running that says I have so much potential but I’m just not good enough to apply myself fully. I’m just not quite able in the way others are. That if I just worked harder I’d get there.

None of that is true, I know that, but this morning, as I looked through the filter of this programme at my life, it felt so true, so real.

In this quieter phase of business, where I am being asked to simply allow the time and space for this next unfoldment to happen as it happens, without forcing or pushing or labouring over it, OF COURSE this old pattern would colour the experience. 

The experience is what it is BECAUSE of this pattern of a self that never reaches her full potential and should push for more all the time and ‘be in control of her destiny’.

There is great freedom in seeing this.

There is great peace in witnessing the pattern and the story. 

But I already know that this sense of self is an illusion. It’s something different than it appears to be.  

Because it’s not ‘me’. It’s simply a collection of memories, experiences, stories and perceptions and I carry that acts like a filter in each moment of life.

And in seeing through the story of self and it’s filter on today, there arose the inspiration to write this. 

And there is the paradox.  

From the self with the stories and patterns about lack of met potential and not enough-ness, nothing could happen. All that could happen was more of the same, more action and behaviour that supported the story. From that place there would simply be sadness, disappointment, self condemnation and as such, deepening of those stories. There would be no email written. 

It’s only when the story is seen for what it is (a lie, or perhaps more kindly, a misunderstanding, or more accurately, an illusion) that there could be writing. That there could be maximising potential. That there could be acting in a way outside of the pattern. 

Like I said, a paradox.

Ahh what a weird and wonderful experience life as a human is! The older I get the less I know. You too?

Anyway, who knows when the next email will be written or the when the business will be reborn. I’m here for it all and so devoted to seeing clearly. There’s nothing wrong with falling into our patterns, we cannot blame or shame ourselves for it (because hey, that’s just a story too 😉 )

I offer you these words today for the next time you are suffering:

What’s the story you’re telling? 

Where did it come from?

In seeing this, can you see that it’s not really you?

In that freedom, action can happen, change can arise, life can flow.

Or not.

And it’s all completely and absolutely okay.