Finding your true self is the most effective formula for inner peace and happiness. Being your true self is the key to success. If you are searching for financial abundance, romance, perfect health, or more joy in your life, you must first discover your true self. But what is true self, and what does it mean to be your true self?
The renowned author Eckhart Tolle has written the book “A New Earth – Awakening to your Life’s Purpose” where he talks about the importance of knowing your self (chapter 7). He explains that in order to find our true selves, we have to let go of the ego. Oprah Winfrey was so impressed by this book that she invited Eckhart Tolle to her web classes to discuss the significance of finding true self. Below is a summary of their interesting discussion. Find out what true self actually means, how you can use challenging situations to discover your true self, and learn how to find your true self through meditation. Enjoy!
True Self Definition
The concept of the true self and false self (the ego) was introduced in the 1960 by the psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott in his article ”Ego Distortion in terms of True and False Self”. This article opened new ways of thinking and understanding ”the true self”. Today, this topic is still very hot.
What is the true self according to Eckhart Tolle? In simple words, it is the authentic self – free from mind created illusion or what we called the ”ego”.
The ego is your negative “self talk” and that is not who you are. The ego is simply something that you have repeated to yourself in your head over and over again, that now has become your false identity.
The process of releasing part of the ego often comes during loss of something or someone. This is when you start discovering your true self. Often, you can find yourself in the most difficult periods in life. It can be when you lose a loved one, or a lose something that you have valued and identified yourself with for a long time, such as job, social position, possessions etc. When you are no longer able to hold on to the false identification that is called the ego, you will start suffering and the journey to know your true self begins.
It is painful when the ego dies, because it will feel as if a part of you died also, although this is not who you really are. The mind wants to hold on to whatever you are identified with, but you are not your mind, you are not the ego. When you realize this, you will find your true self.
If you don’t know how to discover your true self, Eckhart Tolle has noticed that the easiest way to discover your true self is by pointing out what you are not.
You are NOT the ego
When you let go of your ego you will understand who you are NOT
Eliminate the ego and your true self will show up
How to find your True Self
Accept what is
The first step in finding true self is to accept what is. When you are faced with a huge emptiness in your life due to a loss of someone or something, you have an important choice to make. You can either continue to resist internally what has happened and complain about it and suffer, or come to a point of acceptance of what has happened. When you accept what is, the “hole” in your life due to the loss, will now appear itself as the light. Peace comes through that empty space, because when you accept the present moment an inner shift happens and you open up to the true self. This process of releasing the part that is outside your self, your false identity, will bring you closer to your real self. And who you really are is inside yourself, where no identification with the Ego exists.
Let go of the Ego
The next step in learning how to be your true self is a bit trickier. It has to do with letting go of the ego. When you let go of the identification of things – your ego – who you really are will suddenly be revealed to you.
Eckhart Tolle: “If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that: small. That will be your unconscious belief. What are the small things? Ultimately all things are small because all things are transient. Whatever matters to you will have the power to upset and disturb you.”
The deep knowing of who you are is not when you say: “I am a good person” and then the slightest thing goes wrong and you get upset and do the opposite of what a “good person” would do.
The deep knowing of “who you really are” is when you are “rooted in being” instead of lost in mind. This means when your attention moves fully to the present moment and in that moment you go deeper into being.
Finding your True Self from Bothersome Situations
A challenging situation is an excellent opportunity to discover your true self. If there is a situation that keeps coming up in your experience that bothers you, it can be very helpful to bring a very alert attention to the situation. You can cope with this by dividing the annoying situation into 3 levels.
When you are in the process of discovering yourself it can be painful
First, identify the thing that bothers you (Level 1). Next, notice your reaction to the thing that bothers you (Level 2). How does it feel in your body (physical reaction)? How do you react emotionally (emotional reaction)? What are your thoughts when this happens (mental reaction)? When you become aware of your reaction on all levels, you are free to discover your true self, see below:
Level 1: The thing that disturbs you
Level 2: Your reaction to the thing that disturbs you
Physical reaction: e.g. contraction in your body
Emotional reaction: e.g. frustration, irritation, anger
Mental reaction: e.g. “I can’t stand being here any longer”, “You make me so mad”
Level 3: Your awareness of your reaction
In level 3 lies freedom. Freedom comes through your awareness of the situation and your awareness of your reaction to the situation, and through recognizing that here is myself being the aware space for those two levels. When the dimension of presence is missing, you are lost in the reaction. When you become the reaction, you don’t know who you are.
Level 3 will make you aware of the fact that you are not the reacting entity that happens within you. When you observe your ego’s behavior without judgment, changes will start happening on level 1 and 2. When you observe without judgment, you can let go of your false image of yourself that you may have become attached to. It is in that state of mind (when you are absolutely present and mindful) that you are finding your true self. Let us give you an example:
Example: You observe without judgment when you with ease can say: “Oh, isn’t that interesting, I am getting so upset over the person who is cutting the line in front of me”. At that moment a shift within you happens that enables you to let go of the false identification that says: “I have to respond with strong emotions and by yelling in order for people to hear me”. When you stop resisting the present moment and accept what is, you will find your “true self”.
How to know your True Self with Mindfulness
Any kind of mindfulness meditation that brings your attention to the present moment will help you find your true self, meaning that it doesn’t meed to be complicated at all. You don’t even have to be in a sitting position. You can practice mindfulness as you are brushing your teeth, combing your hair, eating your dinner, going for a walk, taking a bath etc. If you are in search of your true self, put a side 10 minutes everyday where you can practice mindful meditation. Pay attention to how you breathe. Breath awareness is a very effective way of generating consciousness. Breath awareness is a way of bringing space into your life – where no ego exists.
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