The Lie of the “I”
Are you really in control of your life?
Many of you, in front of the mirror, will entertain thoughts like “I need to tone up” or “I am nearly at my goal weight”. At work, the thoughts may be more like “I want that promotion” or “I need to broaden my skills”. In relationships, “I am so unhappy alone” or “I’m looking for real commitment”.
But what if I told you that you may not be telling the truth in these instances? What if you are completely unaware of what “you” want, or where “you” are in relation to your health, happiness and fulfillment?
About 400 years ago, a French philosopher called René Descartes summed up the human experience in the phrase “I think, therefore I am”. What he was implying was that your entire reality only exists because of your brain and the thousands of tiny electrical impulses going off in your head every second.
It is this theory that makes you feel that when you speak of “I” you are absolutely, undoubtedly speaking about you. Yourself. All Of You.
But you’re not. Not always.
Your brain processes around 400,000 pieces of information each second; you are only aware of 2000 of them (0.005%)
You see, it is now known that the vast majority of your thoughts are unconscious — your brain processes around 400,000 pieces of information each second; you are only aware of 2000 of them (that’s 0.005%). Importantly, it is in these unconscious thoughts that you hold your learned beliefs about yourself and the world around you. These hidden, automatic beliefs drive your behaviors; your reactions; your desires and yearnings. Your self-esteem.
And if there is a bug in the system — if you have a deep belief that you are unworthy, or useless, or born to fail, or responsible for everyone else’s happiness — then these unconscious beliefs will hijack your conscious thoughts, decisions and behaviors.
What this means is that ‘you’ — the thoughts that you are aware of — are actually completely at the mercy of old, hidden habits, beliefs and criticisms.
Your unconscious brain is also responsible for everything that goes on in your body. Your beating heart, the digestion of your food and the expulsion of viruses and harmful bacteria — all of this is conducted automatically, in the background of your mind. This part of you is intuitively aware of how to heal your body and it is constantly striving to bring you to a state of health and vitality.
However, to make matters more complicated, scientists are coming to understand that you also carry some form of super cool, ‘super-consciousness’ where you have a deep connection with everything, everyone and every-time.
The problem is that you have been taught to lump all of these facets of yourself in one basket, under the identity of “I”.
So when you say “I need to lose weight” who are you really talking about? Your super-conscious self is non-judgmental and doesn’t give two hoots about how you look. Your body’s unconscious functions have been trying to keep you in optimum health forever — regardless of what you have been putting in your mouth. And your unconscious beliefs systems are simply busy replaying the thoughts you chose for yourself at some earlier stage of life.
Confronting the Lie of the I can be incredibly powerful in establishing exactly what is going in your mind, your body and your life. Discerning where a behavior, or a yearning, or an impulse is coming from can help you become more consciously aware of your actual needs. It puts you back in control of your actions and reactions and allows you to gently restore yourself to optimum health, happiness and well-being.
What’s cool is that it is really, really easy to start discerning which part of you is driving a behavior. You just have to ask.
Most of your conscious thoughts are driven by those crafty, insidious and unconscious beliefs and patterns, so simple awareness of your thoughts and automatic reactions will reveal this part of you. But to make more empowered choices, I encourage you to:
Ask your body:
“Body, what will help you today?” “Body, would you like a piece of cheesecake?” “Body, are you hungry/thirsty/needing nature?”
Your body tends to communicate to you in physical and physiological ways, so be aware of responses like yearning, goose bumps, feeling energized or a sense of lightness in your body.
Ask your super-consciousness (soul, higher self, intuitive awareness):
“Super-me, what is the best course of action for me now?” “Super-me, what am I not getting about this situation?” “Super-me, is this relationship healthy for me?”
This deep-seated awareness can be easily drowned out by the chatter of your inner dialogue. Therefore, the easiest ways to connect with your inner wisdom is by quietening the mind (meditation, mindful activity) or by paying close attention to your nightly dreams.
Kim Forrester is an award-winning author, educator and intuitive consultant with over 15 years’ experience as a professional intuitive and spiritual teacher. She combines cutting edge science with traditional spirituality to offer the latest understandings of psi, consciousness and holistic well being.