Being friend with our self. Part 1
“What am I?” is a classic koan given to Zen students to solve. What do we really know about ourselves.?
We put many different masks depending of the circumstances and goals. There are so many choices. Our participation in this social game of appearances can become so second nature to us that we hardly notice it. Apart from all these appearances, who am I really? Do I actually know? We also might wonder, do I really want to know? We are afraid of what we might find out. Are we friends with ourselves? Are we accepting self as it is, notwithstanding that improvements are always possible. Are we creating a self before even knowing the self?
Because of our Western education & culture, ego-centered mentality to be the best, to win, control and achieve perfection, self-doubt and poor self-image are very frequent and we need constant reassurance thru achievements such as work, money, control, loved ones and friends.
Strangely, although you are your most intimate companion your true self is hidden deep.
So the process of making friend with yourself goes to know yourself at a deeper, almost spiritual level far beyond its mundane profile
To truly make friends with yourself, you need to remove all social masks that you are using since young age. This journey of truly making friend with yourself is a difficult and tricky one since one has to avoid being too self-centered and narcissist.
It goes beyond simply feeling good about you, and it is not based on convincing yourself of anything or being convinced by others. This journey of deep friendship with self does not rely on credentials or affirmations but on a tender step-by-step process of opening yourself to yourself in the most natural way. It happens on the path of meditation because this intimate quest of self- discovery has nothing to do with better insight or analytic and cognitive thinking such as CBT or psychoanalysis.
Simply just sit with nothing to do and no one to impress. This step is all about being curious, inquisitor and the longing to meet yourself at a deeper level. No mind set. It will end-up that what you will discover be reliable, true, genuine, worthy and that too many of your flaws are a mind-set distorted view.
We are taught how our thoughts capture us, and how we can simply let them come and go like clouds in the sky.
We are encouraged to be steady as our emotional states rise and fall, rather than being jerked up and down by every roller coaster passing moods.
In short, we are encouraged to take a fresh look at our experience. In the context of making friends with yourself, starting fresh means that we drop all our ideas of who you are or who you should be and just look in a mindfully way. (You could also try this approach when you meet a new acquaintance—pause for a moment, instead of instantly sizing them up, and try to see that person with fresh eyes.)
There is a quality of tenderness in meditation practice. It is a mental open window and you catch a glimpse of something trustworthy and good within yourself. That glimpse awakens a longing within you.
You know you have discovered something valuable and you want to figure out how to go further with it.
You realize that you have tapped into an inner dynamism or force for growth.Although you might have many such glimpses, they usually come and go.
They tend to be not only brief but subtle, and because such glimpses are not all that graspable, self-doubt easily creeps back in. You are pretty sure you are onto something good, but maybe it’s too good to be true. At the same time, without your familiar masks and credentials, you feel a bit naked and groundless because what you discover is not what you thought about yourself.