In a Nutshell | The Origin and Outcome of the Idealized Self-Image

Happiness is a code word for life, and unhappiness is code for death. In duality, everything can always be tucked up under these two categories…Duality is essentially our great struggle between life and death; it is the illusion that there is always a question of either/or. It’s either you or it’s me; it can’t be both…If we’re unhappy now, we feel like we’ll be unhappy forever. And so the struggle begins…

There’s just no escaping our knowledge that unpleasantness is possible. It really happens. Our fear of this is ever-present, and that creates a problem for us…So we devise a countermeasure that we falsely believe will circumvent unhappiness, unpleasantness and death: we create an idealized self-image. In short, this is a pseudo-protection that doesn’t work worth a damn…

There’s a direct correlation between being unhappy and not believing in ourselves; our self-confidence takes a hit that is proportional to how badly we feel. Our idealized self-image is supposed to avoid all that by supplying the missing self-confidence. This, we think, by way of our unconscious reasoning, will lead us straight down the road to pleasure supreme…

We simply can’t be more than we really are in any given life situation…What we can do is have a genuine desire to better ourselves, which leads to accepting ourselves as we are right now…Once we’ve done a significant amount of personal work, we’ll start to see the difference between feeling a genuine desire for gradual improvement, and the pretense of the idealized self that just wants to click some ruby slippers together now and look better…

The very notion that, as human beings, we can be perfect is an illusion…Since our nutty standards are impossible to reach—and yet we never give up trying to uphold them—we create an inner tyranny of the worst kind. We don’t realize just how impossible our demands are and we never stop whipping ourselves to meet them, so we feel like complete failures when we prove, once again, that we fall short…Someone or something else must be to blame for our failure…

The idealized self is a phony, rigid face that we invest with our real being. But it’s an artificial construction that will never come to life. The more we invest into it, the more strength we sap from the center of our being…Only by seeing what’s going on can we color inside the lines of our being, and fill in our missing sense of self…Believe it or not, our feelings will become every bit as reliable as our intellect. This is what it means to find ourselves…

The idealized self wants to be perfect right now. The real self knows this isn’t possible, and it isn’t bothered by this one little bit…From our real self, we function from our wholeness, instead of from “hole-ness”…When we learn that we can squander ourselves into life, the same way that nature squanders herself, we will then know the beauty of living… In reality, having genuine self-confidence gives us peace of mind…Remember that no one can do this work alone.

Bones v.1

These snippets are from Chapter Six: The Origin and Outcome of the Idealized Self-Image

BONES: A Building-Block Collection of 19 Fundamental Spiritual Teachings

193 pages / $2.99 ebook / $8.99 paperback

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