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How can I encounter my real self?

James Smith
James Smith on behalf of MDLIVE
Psychology

Your real or authentic self encounters your inner and outer worlds with awareness; your real self or authentic self does not encounter itself.  There are ways, however, for the authentic self to recognize its own "tracks."  Your real or authentic self is creative, aware of the present moment, is non-judgmental, and does not criticize or condemn itself.

Your authentic self is not that voice in your head that compares you to others, that tells you everyone else is to blame for how you feel, and that tells you that you are worthless and irresponsible.  Your authentic self is the awareness that is aware of that negative voice in your head. 

Meditation is one way to experience your authentic self.  Since meditation is the practice of moving your attention to the here and now, and since your authentic self has the ability to focus your attention, you are being your authentic self as you purposefully meditate.

Deepak Chopra
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Try to catch yourself in a critical moment and pull away from it. Pick a strongly negative experience of the following kind (if possible, choose a repetitive one that has cropped up several times):
  • Road rage
  • Arguing with your spouse
  • Resenting authority at work
  • Losing control over your children
  • Feeling cheated in a deal or transaction
  • Feeling betrayed by a close friend
Put yourself back in the situation and feel what you felt then. You might want to close your eyes and visualize the car that cut you off in traffic or the plumber who handed you the outrageous bill. Do what it takes to make the situation vivid in your mind. When you feel that stab of anger, hurt, mistrust, suspicion, or betrayal, say to yourself, "That's how my ego feels. I can see why. I'm very used to it. I will go along as long as it lasts." Now let the feeling run. Get as worked up as your ego wants; envision fantasies of revenge or self-pity, or whatever your ego thinks is appropriate.

Imagine that you are swelling up with your feeling; it spreads out from you like the shock wave from a slow-motion explosion. Follow this wave as far as it wants to go, watching it grow fainter and fainter as it spreads to infinity, filling the whole universe if it wants to. Take deep breaths if you need to in order to get the wave of feeling to depart from you and travel outward. Don't time yourself. The feeling may be strong enough to take a while before it wants to expand.

Now, just as you see the wave disappearing into infinity, look at yourself and see if any of the following feelings are present:
  • A giggle, the desire to laugh at it all
  • A shrug, as if the whole thing is no big deal
  • A sense of calmness or peace
  • Looking at yourself as if at another person
  • A deep sigh of relief or exhaustion
  • A feeling of release or letting go
  • A sudden realization that the other person may be right
These are the telltale feelings that arise in us when we are crossing the invisible boundary between ego and the real self. If you follow any emotion far enough, it will end in silence. But it's asking a lot to get that far every time. Your aim is to get to the frontier at least, the line where the ego's needs begin to lose their grip.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.