Ultimate Fulfillment 48

by Christopher Lovejoy on March 8, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a penchant for spending time alone (hint: this tidbit of personal revelation will become all the more relevant the more you read this post).

In contemporary spiritual literature, as well as the ancient wisdom writings, you will inevitably come across admonitions not to live from and through a false idea of yourself. In modern times, the ego has been a favorite whipping boy for such warnings as and when the noble Self is perceived as being under threat. Some would even have you believe that you have no real Self, that no real identity is possible.

A clear distinction can be made, however, between your most intimate and subjective reality (your ego, your sense of “I”) and the image that you’ve cultivated for yourself in relation to others.

Make no mistake, your ego and your image are distinct.

Your ego serves as your functional core, containing as it does a master switch for tapping, and switching between, the energies of allowance and insistence; it cannot ever be false.

Your image (your persona), on the other hand, is a complex product of many influences, a complex mixture of training and conditioning, that serves to smooth relations with others.

The masks you wear are false if, in addition to sculpting your public face, you also presume and pretend your way in and out of complex situations that involve others. Otherwise, your image remains True to your Self as and when it operates in harmony with your ego at the core of your True Self.

The True Self contains the ego (at its core), which (again) cannot ever be false. On the other hand, the false self, the illusory self, so-called, is not the ego; it’s a complex, complicated, and complicating byproduct of the ego’s interaction with its physical, digital, and social environments.

One might also wonder if there is anything wrong with acting on the presumption to “fake it ’til you make it”, or with pretending your way in and out of a complex situation or interaction.

It is often said that you really should conduct yourself with discipline, especially if it’s in your best interests, and even if “I really don’t feel like doing this” is all that you can think about.

No doubt, presenting a false image of yourself can get you into a heap of trouble, and here, I’m not just talking about tweaking your resume, or coming off as better than you are on a date with someone you barely know (if at all), or pretending (easily, effortlessly) to be a princess or a prince, deigning to grace others with your divine presence. Such efforts can be called out by those who stay true to themselves.

Actually, I’m talking about something much more fundamental, something much more insidious. I’m talking about constructing an idea of yourself that has little or nothing to do with the true you.

Essentially, this is what happens: you sense, rather deeply and disconcertedly, that you are simply not good enough in the company of those you perceive as being your betters, and then proceed to create an experience of reality around a series of pretenses designed to give you a vicarious experience of being alive and being alive to the truth of who and what you really are.

There are so many ways you can do this, I hardly know where to begin taking stock of them, but for starters, think of the “radioactive” fallout from plugging into the cultural matrix whose primary nodes at present are HD TV, smartphones (and other handhelds), laptops, video arcades, and reality simulators.

Note: I use “radioactive” with tongue in cheek to describe how assiduously people-cum-androids tend to avoid each other in the public domain, whenever and wherever possible.

Do this long enough – plug and play, with as many nodes as possible – and you become little more than a mediated persona acting in a world of digits in place of a world of fidgets (tongue in cheek again).

In light of these musings, I suppose the main question is this: are you a consumer or are you a creator?

This rather pointed question brings me to a series of interesting psychological experiments, as reported in The Atlantic (and elsewhere), that was conducted recently on how people respond (and react) to being alone with themselves for a mere 6 to 15 minutes of their time. Here’s the upshot of these studies: many people do not like to spend time alone with nothing tangible to do, even for short periods of time.

A disturbingly large number of people would rather shock themselves than spend 6 to 15 minutes alone with their thoughts, even though they knew what the shock would feel like before the experiment began and even though they said they would pay money not to be shocked.

One might surmise that too many people have lost the fine art of entertaining themselves (can you guess why?), but then, one might also surmise that too many people have betrayed their True Selves in favor of manufacturing false, illusory, mediated, enculturated versions of themselves.

Could it be that these self-inflicted shocks are thinly veiled punishments for a betrayal of Self? I invite you to take a moment (or six) to think about this (that is, if you’re still willing and able).

As I read about these studies, I could not help but recall a Star Trek: TNG episode called The Game (season 5, episode 6, originally airing on October 28, 1991), about a holographic game used covertly to control the minds of unwitting participants by getting them addicted to the pleasures of winning a simple game. Just think of the possibilities: if an alien race of beings wanted to assume control of a starship (or even a planet, such as ours) what better, more economical way to do this than to take over the minds of those they seek to conquer, not with bloody conquests, but with potentially addictive games of pleasure.

Here, I take “games of pleasure” in the broadest sense of the word to include – you guessed it – those found on HD TV, smartphones (and other handhelds), laptops, video arcades, and reality simulators. In the spirit of Wesley Crusher, I maintain a healthy skepticism of what these devices are doing for us.

Holding_the_SunTo this end, I continue to use the solar metaphor as a way of coming to terms, not only with Lady Fate, at least indirectly, but more importantly with the notion of living from and through a True Self viewed in cosmic terms. In treating the True Self as an object of inquiry, in holding it in my hand (so to speak), I feel that much less susceptible to being drawn into any game or activity that would have me (the ego) disappear, only to be replaced by a conforming mediated persona, or that would have Me (the Self) diminished (destroyed?) by digitally addicted compulsions. In resolving the True Self into a unified, harmonious composite of ego, heart, soul, spirit, mind, Witness, Will, and body, I empower and liberate myself (inside my Self) into a position where I can use and control digital devices rather than allow them to use and control me (and Me).

In keeping with the subject matter of this post, I’ve added yet more content to my resource on coming to terms with fate. Your cue to find: “Let us now bridge the space, by way of the mind, between …”

Note: my evolving outline on the ultimate in personal fulfillment can now be found here, accessible from the nav menu under “Be Here Now”. I’ll be sure to inform readers of any updates.

Next: Ultimate Fulfillment 49

Note: this ever growing perspective began here: Ultimate Perspective

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