Let us begin our journey by accepting this one critical idea: there are effectively two versions of each of us.
One is an infinite, impersonal consciousness connected to a larger, greater, central consciousness. This is who we are before we are born, after we die, and during a near-death experience –when ‘we’ leave our body– this is what leaves.
This is our spiritual self. It lives in a timeless realm from which it thinks our thoughts and powers the rest of our ego’s life. In that sense we are all both verbs and a nouns at the same time. We both are, and we are being.
The second version of our life starts when we are born and we inevitably enter the world of duality. In our ego’s world, everything is defined by how everything relates to everything else. Our thoughts about those differences then combines with our sense of our physical selves and our personal ego emerges.
Before long we have forgotten about our spiritual self and soon our ego becomes who we think we are. We begin doing rather than being.
To navigate in a physical world our mind needs to collect concepts like up and down, heavy and light, light and dark, winner and loser, success and failure. Those forces –those desires and wants for lighter, happier, more victorious experiences– shape what we pursue and avoid.
Ego’s get the job or they don’t. Ego’s get a compliment or they don’t. They get the second date or it doesn’t work out. The marriage succeeds or the marriage fails. We have enough money or we don’t. Ego’s live in a world of winners and losers.
Our spiritual selves simply enjoying being alive even if our thoughts are telling us we are failing or losing. Life, and the ability to experience anything, is truly that valuable.
Remember: we must start our journey this year by accepting that there are these two versions of each of us. One version is often called our ‘soul’ and ‘it’ can essentially be seen as immortal. And it powers the other version of us –our ego– which is engaged in the drama of living what is called our life.
An inevitable aspect of any drama is that we will both succeed and fail. Like any good story in any good book or movie, our fortunes will rise and fall. The drama will unfold in the winning and the losing. This is what it is to live a human life.
Accept this idea now and our journey can then take us to a place where we can live our ego’s life without mistaking its dramas for our spiritual self’s larger and much grander reality.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.