Self (2)

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People enjoy having their self-image acknowledged, accepted and respected. Courting praise is commonplace; inviting others to aid you in stroking your ego, and in turn stroking theirs...
This is a mutual appreciation game in which neither party gives anything. The entire exercise is essentially self-serving.


The conscious mind is the part of our brain that is paying attention to what is taking place right now. Or at least it should be. For many people things are quite different.


A cuckoo lays it's eggs in the nests of other birds. The eggs hatch and the baby cuckoo ejects the other eggs/hatchlings from the nest. This is the role of the 'self' in your mind.
It is the cuckoo.

Hijacking your brain

Media, politics, the news, gossip, TV, distractions, worrying, anxiety, opinion, memories and so on have usurped your consciousness.
Instead of seeing what is right in front of you, there is a chorus of voices, the chattering of the monkey. Rather than pay attention to what is, your mind is clouded


The unconscious is the 99.9% of things taking place that we are unaware of.
Our circulatory system, the neurons in our brain, the countless gigabytes of data being employed by our brain just to keep us functioning. We are conscious of so very little.

The unconscious is in charge

With so much our body, brain and life operating outside of our conscious awareness, it is easy to recognise that the unconscious is the boss.
The problem is that our self-image keeps getting in the way. We do not eat right, nor exercise. Our knees hurt or there is a back problem.
These are the outcome of distraction, carelessness, wilfulness, the ego...

Tai chi

Tai chi teaches the student to set-aside self-image and trust the unconscious. All aspects of the training were designed with this in mind.
It is not possible to advance to a high level unless the ego has been subdued.


The battle waged within our lives is not between self and other but between idea and reality. In Zen in the Art of Archery Eugen Herrigel stated:
Fundamentally the marksman aims at himself.
This insight refers to the true purpose of martial arts training. Your aim is not merely to vanquish an opponent, but to ultimately conquer your own demons - a far more insidious and destructive foe.


A well-adjusted person is honest with themselves and other people - they are not afraid to say that they don't know or that they have doubts. Nobody is perfect.
We all make mistakes. We are all vulnerable. We all fall ill. We all feel pain. We all experience fear. And we will all die. This is what it means to be human.


The glory of the human spirit lies in our capacity to admit our fears and proceed regardless. We call this 'courage'.

Loss of 'self'

Meditation speaks continually about loss of self. What does this mean? It refers to the shedding of our persona. Getting rid of the past.
Setting aside our opinions, bias, pride, conceit, arrogance, knowledge and guilt.

Authentic self

Meditation is concerned with the unveiling/releasing of the authentic self; the real you. The 'you' that was born all those many years ago.
Long before society, parenting and education taught you to become somebody else

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Page created 21 February 1995
Last updated 04 May 2023