How do you feel about this? I’m guessing the answer is you feel misunderstood, not recognized for who you are. You feel yourself completely called into question – all for a piece of cloth. In truth, you have identified so strongly with this outfit that, once it is criticized, you can’t help but feel personally attacked, to the very core of your being.
This example shows how easily we can feel disconnected with ourselves by defining ourselves through external objects. It also demonstrates our need to exist, and to be recognized as a whole entity. Beyond this, it also reveals our fear of disappearing and, on a far more fundamental level, of death in general.
Our ego leads us to become attached to things such as our bodies, our ideas or our social status because, through their material and tangible states, they can give an impression of stability and durability. But they are, in fact, fragile, transient and temporary. No one is blessed with eternal youth. Our ideas will be put into question. And no one is indispensable – the company in which we might have enjoyed a top position for 20 years will continue to grow and evolve well after our departure from it.
Suffering stems from our refusal to realize these things are ultimately short-lived. We believe they will last forever, and so will we. But our daily realities constantly contradict this belief, which increases our anxiety and leads us to clutch ever more tenaciously at these illusions. It’s a vicious circle.
In other words, human beings suffer from their desire to possess and to keep things that are inevitably transient. As long as we remain attached to mortal things, the fatality of death will have the power to make life meaningless.
The same principle goes for this supposed ‘self’, which is just as transient, and changes through time. We tend to hope that this imaginary, all-powerful personality will, like a fortress, provide us with shelter amid a sea of change, a place devoid of suffering. But this is a hopeless battle, which can only bring anger and frustration. We can only end suffering by ceasing to try to identify with our own personalities whilst holding up a shield to the outside world. By building our fortresses, we are only developing hostility towards life itself, by continuously turning our backs to it.
Once the self accepts the ever-changing flow of life without trying to oppose it, our ‘being’ is able to resituate itself within a reality that far exceeds its own bounds. Thus, by ceasing to identify with whatever we are currently going through, we can go from the notion of existence to that of presence, which goes beyond the limits of time and space.
Indeed, the part of me that is incarnated on Earth is just that – a part of me. It is the bodily, ego and destiny- bound expression of a far greater essence, with which all of us have the ability to reconnect. This is the self that we have spoken of, the one that is, has always been and always will be.
Discovering the self is an adventure, with all its traps and marvels. And ultimately, however many steps we might achieve, only the journey itself counts.
Axel TRINH-CONG Psychic, Therapist, Body- spirit-soul alignment, constellations, Tarot, soul messages. www.voiesymbolique.net