The Ups and Downs of Working on a Positive Self-Image: Feel Good About Yourself Naturally (Series 3 of 3)

14 07 2011

Here is the last installment by guest blogger Jeffrey Douglass. You can read the first post here. This series helped me through some transformations. My wish is that it will help you as well. Namaste, Mrs. Scott

Article Summary: This article has three parts. Part One looks at the typical strategies used for working on a positive self-image and why suffering or always feeling like you are falling short is inevitable. Part Two discusses the source of feeling good that is already within you. Part Three outlines a simple and practical process for naturally drawing from your Soul to feel whole and complete. This is part 3.

Part Three: You are Whole

To return to your Soul to know who you are, let go of all the old, repetitive modes of thinking that have been used to protect and maintain your self-image. From the perspective of Soul consciousness, thinking is the dominion of ego asserting its value over Soul. To think is the desire of the ego to sustain an idea of a “me”. Thinking analyzes, breaks down, scrutinizes, takes things apart and puts them into smaller and smaller pieces. It has the cold feeling of concepts separated from life’s innate wholeness. The ego needs to think, there is an urgency to think. It is thinking vs. knowing with thinking posing as knowing. Thinking is the “false prophet”. The less one thinks, the more in touch one is with Soul and the more joyous and spectacular life becomes. When you let go of identifying with what you think you are or believe in, your identifications are replaced with Allness.  Divine wisdom has the space to unfold and arise from the depths of who you are. You move from wave to ocean, from a tree to forest, from content to context. You are One.

 Ask daily what your Soul is experiencing. Return to what was there before you had thoughts about yourself and who you are or anything about needing to work on yourself to become a better person. What have the thoughts covered over? What is there when you are not clinging to or believing in anything that leads to a self-image? What is beyond trying to do it right, being good enough and fitting in? Soul arrives by letting go of these mental/emotional structures without resorting to new definitions of who and what you are. You then are open to realizing you are an emanating presence. You are whole again.

 Soul informs you of the truth about your nature. A self-image can’t. The old negative stories that potentially run on for a lifetime are simply recognized for what they are in the light of your Soul’s consciousness. Stories that you are never doing enough, not smart enough, lacking something, not as good as and/or not pretty enough lose traction and interest as something more real and true is experienced from Soul. The stories become a reminder to return to experiencing your wholeness.

When you experience your truth, you are able to trust who you are and therefore, what you are doing in the moment and how you are going about things. Instead of pushing yourself as a protection against falling short in some way and being judged, you work in an effortless, flowing and unstressed way. If you have a self-image, it is impossible to experience complete trust in yourself because the origins of a self-image imply separation. Therefore, you can only trust yourself conditionally and in superficial matters. When you live from your Soul, trust arises as a natural consequence, is unconditional and across the board.

 When you ask what your Soul is experiencing in this moment, your body feels very different than when you are identifying with a self-image. It feels transparent, weightless, unbounded and pervaded with stillness in every cell. The body is alive and whole. The ego experiences the body as only flesh, bones and organs. It uses the body to locate where you are in relation to the world. You are solid and separate. The body is viewed as an object whose functions can be measured and assessed by doctors when you are sick. It is seen as a mechanical, material system.

From Soul, you experience the body as being formed in each moment. Arising from the energies of the universe, a weaving into matter occurs. The body is both non-material and material. You feel a bodily joy. Everything in your body is in perfect health. The wholeness and integrity of your body is felt in unification with the invisible realms of the universe. The sense of body extends into what feels like the arms of a loving mother or presence that gently holds you. This is the life of the body.  The origins of which are in the invisible presence of the Soul realm. The body is relationship, not an object. It feels everything in its surroundings both immediate and at any distance, visible and non-visible. The body touches and is touched by the world but it doesn’t have to be in physical contact to experience touch. Let go of the idea that the body is an object. Pay attention to both your body and your Soul and notice it’s intrinsic wholeness.

When you ask what your Soul is experiencing in this moment versus operating from a self-image, it is self-evident that spiritual presences are not separate from you but are individuated aspects of the same divinity as your Soul. From the ego’s standpoint, angels, beings of light and other spiritual presences are from elsewhere. Usually, they are rendered to the “above”, a spiritual realm such as heaven or some far off place. There is a gap between ordinary life and the world of spiritual beings. They are seen as more evolved and this accounts for the gap. They need to be channeled, solicited and they occasionally visit you, particularly in times of great need.

Instead of loving entities appearing removed, you realize you are woven together when experiencing Soul. You are not separate and alone. It is impossible to be separate from Christ or any other spiritual presence. They are within you as well as around you. There is no place they are not. Only the ego thinks that they are elsewhere because the ego was formed in reaction to the loss of Soul consciousness. As you experience Soul, there is always a companion presence that allows you to see and act with love. Instead of feeling like a spectator watching what is around you, you experience an intimate sense of being in and of what is around you. You are whole.

When you ask what your Soul is experiencing you realize that your mother is the Universe- she gave birth to you and all that is. “All that is” has the same mother as you. The stars, the wind, the flowers, the birds all have the same mother. When you let go of a self-image, you are not separate from the earth. You are whole.

Exercise:

Your self-image is a label. It defines you in relation to others and has a story that is attached. Common images are about belonging. For example,  “I don’t belong here” or “I belong here and others don’t”. Other images are conclusions about the life that you live, such as,  “A man will always eventually leave me” or “No man will ever leave me”. Or the image could be an enduring judgment.  For example,  “I am always doing something wrong” or “I am always on top of it”. Finally, they could take the form of comparisons that have finality to them such as, “I lack what others have” or “I have what it takes.” The next time you are living by negative or positive stories, realize you are living by a self-image. Remind yourself that to be attached to a self-image, as your identity is to suffer for it does not lead you to your true nature. Do your best to not be tempted into “fixing” it, “getting rid” or keeping it as your first reaction. You cannot change a self-image or keep it the same but you can return to Source or Soul. This often means resisting first responses such as talking to the other person about why they didn’t invite you, riding yourself for not doing something, working harder to be better the next time or blaming someone else to preserve your status. If something needs to be done or communicated, you will know. Your first response is to remember that your suffering is an encouragement to move beyond the prison of a self-image to something greater and more true. The suffering is just letting you know you are still attached to what isn’t most real, namely a self-image and that there is really no way to change it or keep it into everlasting happiness. Begin by re-directing your energy and focus on connecting with an innate wholeness that has no need for a self-image. It is the return home. Ask what your Soul is experiencing. As you sit with this question, notice what arises from within and merge with whatever draws you out of your self-image and into your heart. It could be the sunlight, the sound of the wind, the rhythm and sensation of your breath moving in and out.

There will probably be a resistance to letting go of the pain and anxiousness you are feeling from your injured self-image. You may feel its pull to be quite strong at times. Just keep refocusing on what your Soul is experiencing. Sometimes, it may be helpful to connect with a friend to feel their love for you and their reassurance. Receive this as a way of helping you open to wholeness. You are the love that you seek and need. You are already “perfect” the origins of which means “whole”. Connect with all that is until there is a sense of you being everywhere and in everything that is. What is it like to experience yourself this way? What happens to the self-image and suffering? Which feels more real?


Jeffrey Douglass, MSW, CSW, author of Living From Your Soul, has been a licensed psychotherapist integrating psychology and spirituality for 33 years. Jeffery offers individual and couples counseling (also available by phone), as well as retreats, workplace coaching, and telecourses. To purchase the book, or for further information, please visit the website: www.livingfromyoursoul.com, email  jeffrey@ livingfromyoursoul.com or call 208-667-8387.

Read Part 1 of the series here.

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