Banishing the Big Self is an easy trick. Let me show you! Simply choose one of the following:
– A supersize bag of potato chips
– Keeping Up with the Kardashians marathon
– A credit card
– Your damn iPhone
Now eat, watch, spend or use whatever poison you chose until you feel gorged, then guilty, then numb. These feelings may not be awesome or wonderful, but good news: they belong exclusively to the Small Self. That means you did it! You’ve made the Big Self disappear, or you’ve at least sent it packing for the evening.
Is your pesky conscience interfering with your eating/watching/spending/using? Fear not! Obsessively checking and responding to work emails is just as effective. Other seemingly-healthy activities like compulsive calorie counting, obscene amounts of kale, developing a new Self, promoting your “brand” online, updating your cosmetics for an earthy, natural glow will also do the trick.
Now there will be times when it feels convenient to bring the Big Self back. You know, at some point you may feel tired of acting phony or anxiety will get the best of you. Or you might need to get the Small Self out of your brain so that you can sleep. You may want to unlock that brilliant inner Big Self and bring it to the party. Here’s where you might turn to drugs or alcohol. These are classic shortcuts to invite the Big Self back to the forefront after you’ve been so cruel to Him or Her! Okay, so it might not actually be the Big Self but you will feel like it is. You will have deep thoughts and fleeting purpose and you will feel just like YOU.
Listen, the Universe conspires with Big Self. Birth, Death, Love and such. Can’t the Small Self have its day?
Do you have a good sense of yourself? Are you surprised by the impressions others have of you?
The Self is on the rise in our current culture and society, from selfies to selfishness to selflessness. Although many of us enjoy talking about ourselves, few of us do the hard work to know ourselves. I’m personally guilty of this. For a long time, I preferred to gallivant around the globe than to travel inward. Global Awareness is a piece of cake compared to Inner Awakening.
Here’s a younger version of my Self
Who is the person staring back at you in the mirror? Have you ever meditated on your own reflection in the mirror for an extended amount of time? Try it. Did your own face begin to seem foreign? After awhile, does the thought strike: who the hell is that?!
Earlier this month, I had to whip out a short bio sketch. Two sentences. That’s all. If that seems easy, try it. Take a moment to do it right now: write two Self descriptive sentences that sum up who you are and please add it to the Comments below.
Here’s mine: A born mystic, Cynthia was raised in Saudi Arabia and there, at an early age, she began taking Divine Dictation (in the form of poems). Her decades of expatriate experiences on multiple continents and cultures led to careers in journalism, global management development and helped her develop the Wisdom Wheel, which focuses on the inner journey of spiritual development.
Self-help guru Dr. Wayne Dyer died yesterday. His family announced the news on Facebook as I started writing this blog post. The tributes are pouring in. If he’s taught us anything about Self-help, maybe the lesson here is to avoid relying on him too much now that he’s gone. At 75, he was suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia but to the very end he practiced what he preached. He never sought conventional medical help. Instead he relied on his brand of positive thinking, exercise, and “remote healing” treatment from the controversial Brazilian psychic “John of God”.
Would he have lived longer if he went to the hospital for treatment by regular doctors? Who really knows. Ultimately, however we judge his choices, his Self-help beliefs were sincere. His family assures us “he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying.” May he rest in peace.
What motivated Dyer to become a Self-help guru? Maybe his childhood holds some clues. Born in Detroit, his father abandoned the family. Because his mother was unable to raise three young sons alone, Wayne grew up in an orphanage. Self-help was his only answer. Dyer went on to became “one of the 10 most spiritually influential people in the world,” which is another way of saying that he came to rely upon the admiration and attention of millions of strangers, while advocating that they should not need anyone. Or am I being too harsh on him?
Like most of you, I didn’t know Dyer personally. His bald-head and black hat were a familiar sight from all his PBS fundraising programs over the past 40 years and some of his books sit on my shelves. In Wisdom Wheel class material I’ve quoted some of his classic sayings: “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours… When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
Am I judging him or defining my Self when I wonder whether Self-help advice can be taken too far? In the Wisdom Wheel class, we look at Self from all angles; the intellectual Self, the emotional Self, the physical Self and the spiritual Self. Sitting in a study circle with others helps us see too much Self and how much is not enough. I think all our virtues can become vices when carried too far, including Self-help.
Have you read any of Dyer’s books? Do you find his approach helpful or not? We’d love to hear your insights in the comments below.