Reclaiming Peace Of Mind (By Letting Go Of The False Self)

Getting To Know The Map And The Territory

In my work with people experiencing anxiety and depression (as well as a range of other symptoms), I often find myself explaining what I refer to as “The Map”– a bird’s eye view of the mechanics of the mind. While much of the work I do in my private sessions are in the realm of “The Territory,” aka unpacking real-life experience and emotions, I find that, from time to time, an explanation from The Map perspective helps the mind to relax, making it easier to enter The Territory with more confidence. When there is an understanding of the workings of the mind, it’s easier to surrender to the process.

Discerning The False From The True Self

Another important distinction that I like to make is between the false self and the True Self. In the paragraphs to follow, I have offered an explanation of these, which will hopefully illuminate a crucial component of the journey toward true health, which is peace of mind.

This small ‘s’ self (what I refer to as the false self) and our allegiance to and identification with it are the cause of unhappiness in all its manifest human forms. In effect, the false self is nothing more than a grandiose belief about “who I am” made up of many smaller beliefs, none of which are true since a belief never defines a truth about who you are. Below, I will talk more about the difference between what I believe to be true about myself, and what I know to be who I am, and how to tell the difference. In any case, if we haven’t taken time to understand this concept and the working of it in our minds, more than likely we have bought into a thought system of beliefs about who we are without even realizing it. But beliefs are not real. They are essentially a bunch of words, strung together as a sentence, masquerading as a truth of some sort. An example of this would be: “I’m a loser,” or “My sense of worth comes from people liking me or what I look like.” But… to simply say that the small ‘s’ self, the false self, is just a belief and is not actually really who you are is likely to elicit a lot of fear and resistance afterall, if that’s not who I really am, then who am I? It is comforting to know that there is also a capital “S” Self (and its accompanying true Thought System) that is also available to us–one that we can come to know, understand, love, and rely on completely.

Getting To Know The True Self In The Mind

The thought system of the True Self is fully developed though likely not as apparent to you as who you are, yet. The false self tends to speak first and loudest, and your belief that it is you brings about a tremendous amount of pain, simply because some part of your mind knows that you have lost connection to the True Self and is clinging to something that is not real, thus leaving you with a feeling of being lost, broken, or insufficient in some way. Meanwhile, the True Self waits quietly and patiently in the background until you are ready to acknowledge it. Most of us are completely unaware of the fact that there is another completely developed thought system in our minds that we can learn to listen to and allow to guide us. As we learn to identify with this thought system, we will come to experience an abiding sense of joy, ease, relaxation, trust, worthiness, safety, security, and above all, peace of mind. And if that is not comforting enough, you may be happy to hear that lifetimes of meditation are not required in order to experience that.

For most people, the journey from the small ‘s’ to the large ‘S’ Self requires dedication to the process of learning to discern the two along with a good dose of vigilance. But you don’t have to wait to be enlightened in order to resolve anxiety and depression. In fact, the undoing of your investment in the false self’s thought system takes considerably less time than it took for you to make it. Most important perhaps is the sense of confidence, joy, and peace that you will begin to experience as you align with the deeper purpose that is revealed through learning to discern between what is false and what is true in your mind.

Emergence Of Your Soul/Sole Purpose

As you continue to wind deeper and deeper into the work of undoing the false self, you will start to see that your soul/sole purpose becomes quite obvious: to shift your identity away from the false self that causes so much pain, and to identify with, trust, and rely on the True/Whole Self in your mind. As this happens, anxiety, depression, comparing, and all of the painful symbols of separation from your True Self will naturally fall away. This is a project, but without a doubt, for anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety or depression, it’s worth its weight in gold it. All that is required is faith and a little willingness.