Getting Behind Who You THINK You Are

Blue sky thinking: can we change the ‘narrator’ at the centre of our lives? Illustration: Michelle Thompson

Blue sky thinking: can we change the ‘narrator’ at the centre of our lives? Illustration: Michelle Thompson

Inspired by The Observer’s recent article, “Are you really the ‘real’ you?”, I have a few thoughts of my own to share….

If we drop the story, drop the name, drop the ideas of who we think we are, who's there?

Brushing up against who we are, beneath the surface, for even a moment, is deeply healing. The spacious awareness of this state is deeply nourishing. Yet most of us for most of the time are identified with all manner of thoughts and experiences that we think are us.

The principle, "The true self is not encumbered by the limitations of a narrative. The true self is a being" anchors us in our work with people.

Stories matter, they're just not the whole story and they are not who we are. We are so much more than the sum of our stories.

Ok. So then who are we?

One of the collaborative learning tasks for the participants in the Fellowship Training Group is to write essays on the AAIT principles. The true self principle challenges all of us. What I LOVE about this model is how alive it is.

In the commentaries, participants challenge themselves (and me!) to explore and write about the ineffable. We challenge ourselves to work with what the principles mean to us in our work with our clients.

From a theistic perspective, the principle on true self acknowledges the possibility that the true self is a Being. From a non-theistic position, we acknowledge possibility that the true self is a being, a being-ness ... or maybe an awareness of being.

Then, as when we explore who is aware, we are back to Being. Who is aware of the experience of Being?

The dance between awareness of being and Being Awareness is compelling for those who seek the experience of true self. This distinction doesn't matter to most of our clients. What matters to most is how we can use this contemplative understanding to help them untangle from the limited identifications that normally drive decisions and choices.

Even though there is no combination of words that will ever illuminate an experiential understanding of the true self. Still we try.

It with deep bows that I acknowledge and thank all of you AAIT practitioners for exploring this territory with me.

If you want this kind of depth to be a part of your practice, PM me. We still have openings in the upcoming Fellowship Training Group.

Thanks to Heather for bringing this article to our attention.