The Boundaries of Self Image

(Picture taken at the Hard Rock Cafe: Baltimore, MD)

    The only real impediment to inner human freedom and the ability to live, love and enjoy life in this moment is our identification with an imaginary boundary around ourselves most commonly known as a self image. This image of who we think we are began to be developed sometime during our early youth as we began the process of individuation or our learning that we are a seeming unique entity related to everything but also seemingly differentiated from everything. The problem is that we have seemed to forget the "relatedness" and put all of our energies on the "differentiated-ness." We each feel we are little "mes" walking about, each with our own agenda, our own stories, our own systems of believing, thinking and feeling.  No one has told us otherwise, and in the process of growth this "me-ness" has actually been affirmed by everyone we have met: parents, teachers, religious leaders, political leaders, psychologists, friends, spouses, etc. The sad truth is that few people alive even understand that the self image or the "me" does not exist in reality. The "me" we have come to know as "who we think ourselves to be" exists strictly in the conceptual world.

    Now you might think: so what? what difference does it make or even: "yes I am a unique entity called so and so and I believe in so and so and I am from such and such a place, etc." Well, the problem is my dear friend: if your image of you differs from my image of me, then perhaps we may have a conflict or disagreement based on that image. If we perceive that we are different: with different values, culture, religion, ideology, etc. then we probably will defend those differences to the end. Our selfish little minds may say: my uniqueness is better than yours! This continues to occur around the world, daily in our minds, as we make judgments on everyday life and always base those judgments on the image we have of ourselves (and others). A simple example: If I consider myself an "American" (which is a concept based on where I live [the geographic area of land, rivers, airspace and seas that makes up the "boundaries" of that which has been, again-conceptually named: the USA] and the accompanying belief systems of an "American") and you attack my "American" values or beliefs-then I have no choice but to judge you are against me-and react accordingly.

    The image of who we believe we are, forms a boundary around us and also alienates or prevents others from relating to us as we really are: that is as a human being, conditioned by previous experiences and teachers, and which human being's mind is a vessel of awareness, the container of consciousness and the eyes and ears of "God."

    If we have the drive, inclination and courage to do so, we can tear down all the boundaries of self image: that is, let go of all the conceptual tags of who we think we are. Upon doing so, we might be left with a clear open mental space, a pure silent space within, which allows the moment to be fully: now. We really only have 2 choices. Do we wish to maintain an image of what we think reality should be, and who we think we are? Or, do we wish to open ourselves to reality as it is - right here, right now? Only upon touching the silent open space within our minds and resting there, and being comfortable there, can we ever know this moment as it is. The pure spacious silence of awareness is the real "You." Once you find "this space" and understand what "this space" means - you will be forever transformed, and life might finally make sense. You will never need to rely upon the image again. Remember, images are reflections or copies. Reality just is - this very second. And that is who you are!

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