Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Real Me

More on Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now"--

He starts off the book talking about how people mistakenly identify themselves not by their true selves, but with their mind or Ego. He says the most common ego identifications include our possessions, our professions, our physical appearance, our personal and family histories, etc. But none of these are You. It's wrong to identify myself as fat -- it may be part of my physical appearance, but it isn't my true essence. Neither are my identifications as a church secretary, a Lutheran, an American -- they are only labels.

Tolle says the Ego is always looking for something to attach itself to and will readily attach to our problems. He says for many people, a large part of their sense of self is intimately connected with their problems, and becoming free of them means loss of self. How many times have I wondered or have I read about others trying to figure out what staying fat does for us? Here it is -- we have identified ourselves as fat, and not being that any more means a loss of identity. If I'm not fat, than what am I?

This could be why I found myself going through such anxiety and almost a grieving process as I started IE. I obviously identified myself as a compulsive overeater, and I felt a loss of identity as I tried to change and end that behavior. If I'm not a binge eater, if I'm not using food to cope with stress and to comfort myself, than who am I, and what am I going to do? No wonder I was so freaked out.

Identifying with my mind, Ego, whatever you want to call it, also has a lot to do with perfectionism and having to be right. Tolle says "Once you have disidentified from your mind, whether you are right or wrong makes no difference to your sense of self at all, so the forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious need to be right, which is a form of violence, will no longer be there... Your sense of self is then derived from a deeper and truer place within yourself, not from the mind."

This is such a liberating idea. I have weighed myself down for so many years with these identifications, whether it was my physical appearance, my problems with food or my perfectionism. When I realize that none of these really matter, that they do not define the real me, it seems so much easier to let go of them. Of course, this is in theory; to actually break free of this Ego/mind that I've embraced for 36 years will certainly take some effort and not be easy. But the great thing is, it directly ties in to Intuitive Eating, so it's all part of the same process.

I suddenly have the lyrics of The Who song The Real Me running through my head. I've always found Pete Townshend an incredible song writer, and I know he went through his own spiritual journeys over the years. The only thing is, it doesn't really matter if my shrink, my mother or my preacher see the real me, as long as I do.


Beula said...

"The real me." I also have been compulsive about needing people to see the real me. Yet I was/am the perfect chameleon. I can fit in everywhere. Blogging has been an attempt at revealing the real me. I have deeply shocked many of my long time friends. I think we are all multifaceted, but many people choose to show only a few of their faces.

The IE is taking me apart at the seams. I too will have to give up my label. But what if I am wrong? What if I am a compulsive eater who is just deluding herself she can ever eat normally?

I believe God wants to heal us daily if we will allow it. I am choosing to believe I can cooperate in the process and be led back to my normal appetite. But I am struggling. I have got to get this book.

Anonymous said...

Very good food for thought Andrea :) Up until this point in our lives, how many times have you been encouraged to know who the REAL you was? Bet you could count those times on a fist! lol But really, until someone points out how mistakenly we have been thinking (identifying with an external instead of inner self), that sort of association will remain.

So if we don't use labels, like what is a good example of how it is more healthier/productive to think/internalize about one's self? Any clues in that book?

LMM said...

Lately I have been fighting IE, purposely sabotaging my journey. Am I scared of losing my identity, losing my screen? What happens if nobody likes the real me or what if? What then? Maybe these thoughts are holding me back.
Thank you for your posts they have been making me think.