The True Self And The False Self

Meditation is an attempt to find the true self. It is this self which holds the identity of what I am, an identity which, when realized, gives fulfillment and direction to our life. This is what we call the consciousness of * I am, which emerges in meditation when there is concentration on the present and we focus on the now of * I am, rather than the past, or the future (* I was, or * I will be).

To remind us of this state, we use the word Om, which means ‘I am a soul’, the spiritual identity that acts as a key to human consciousness. As we find and realize the true self through meditation, we become aware of the false self and how deeply embedded it is in our lives, both in our way of thinking and being.

When we understand this illusory (false) self then we can begin the process of dissolving its negative effects on the original or true self.

The illusory (false) self is made up of desires that, even when fulfilled, fail to add value, or a sense of worth to the self. In fact, quite the opposite process happens.

Let us examine some of these illusions and how they give us a mistaken sense of value.

Illusion (False emotion): Ego
Thought: I know, I am
Result: Arrogance, inflexibility, controlling others

Illusion (False emotion): Anger
Thought: I expect
Result: Force, aggression

Illusion (False emotion): Attachment
Thought: I own, It’s mine
Result: Insecurity, possessiveness, jealousy

Illusion (False emotion): Greed
Thought: I want, I need
Result: Emptiness, wanting, dissatisfaction

Illusion (False emotion): Lust
Thought: I desire
Result: Exploitation, misuse, emotional dependence

These are the five fires that burn away the quality of human life: uncontrolled emotions that once, in their original pure state, gave happiness and peace to the individual but now create only emptiness and sorrow.

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The Dynamics Of Greed

Deficiencies inside us bring about a spiritual void or the lack of wholeness (fullness). As we lay the foundation of our lives on deficiencies or weaknesses, the result is suffering, sorrow and peacelessness. If we act in harmony with spiritual virtues and qualities, the result is cooperation, happiness, peace, contentment and finally, wholeness.

A spiritual void leads to selfishness and causes the creation of greed inside us. We want to have more and possess more, which generates a state of expectation and stress. We fill our lives with things and objects to cover up deeper deficiencies. Then we are afraid of losing them. We generate expectations of all kinds, and when they are not fulfilled we react with anger, frustration, fear or disappointment. The inner emptiness makes us become greedy. We fill ourselves with objects, properties, things. We take and consume more than what we can give to the Universe in the form of positive thoughts, feelings, vibrations, actions etc. and this brings about imbalances in the self, in relation to others and with nature.

Something similar happens on a physical level. The body has a capacity to recycle and eliminate waste through different mediums. However, since we consume more toxins than the body can process, it leads to imbalance and we are more prone to feeling physically ill and unfit and developing diseases etc.