Who are you?
This is fundamental question. You can answer it in a superficial way. That is easy. But to answer it in a really deep way, it is not so easy. It is also a deeply personal question and there may be no right answers.
To explore this question, we can take some help from a model which has been described in various ways by many people.
This model divides the self into three parts:
- Conscious: what we are aware of
- Unconscious: what we are not aware of
- Superconscious : what is possible that is not really human consciousness; this is difficult to describe. Well, we can think of it as states which sages, experienced meditators and people who the world calls as enlightened live in almost all the time.
Let us look at these in detail:
THE UNCONSCIOUS SELF
This can be thought of as our drives and temperament.
Based on research, it is thought that we have four innate drives:
- The drive to defend: ourselves, what we own, love, believe in and value
- The drive to acquire: objects and experiences that make us superior compared to others
- The drive to bond: with close family, friends and larger social groups
- The drive to learn: about the world and ourselves, to experiment, master, innovate and create.
Balance is balancing all these four drives.
Temperament is how we act usually. This is affected by genetic factors and by our early learning experiences, especially in our family. This manifests as personality.
THE CONSCIOUS SELF
This can be thought of as our goals, values, talents, accomplishments, interests, personality and awareness.
We all have values, the things that you believe in and motivates you to action. Then we have goals, without which we cannot act. Sometimes the values and the goals conflict and then we do not feel alright. We also have different talents and if we end up doing what we do not really like or have an aptitude for we do not feel okay. Then we also have interests which may be or may not be related to your field of work and if you do not get to spend time doing things that interest us, we feel down. And then we want to accomplish something, even though it is hard work. This gives us immense satisfaction.
Our temperament finds conscious expression in our personality. The five big personality traits are extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness and openness to experience. This can influence our happiness to a great deal.
Awareness is another thing. Sometimes we are not aware at all and are focused on a narrow area. At other times, especially if we practise mindfulness or some type of meditation, we can feel our awareness expand. Our attention is clearer and we can watch our thoughts and emotions more clearly and act consciously.
THE SUPERCONSCIOUS SELF
This is very difficult to describe.
This means able to touch the deepest part of ourselves, what we call spiritual, religious belief, spiritual intuition, our highest values and character strengths, being aware and mindful and how you give meaning to your own life.
To touch this, we have to experience meaning in what we do and go beyond the limited confines of this body in terms of awareness.
It cannot be taught to another person but when we are in the midst of it we can easily recognize it.
This is just a map, not the territory. However it helps you to explore the most important territory, YOU. And that is in a sense, the meaning of our life.