Self-judgment, low self-esteem and not knowing the ‘true self’ are recurring themes in my work with clients. A starting point is to know what ‘the self’ is. In Chinese medicine the self is both physical (acquired) and spiritual (cosmic). The plan is for us to have a good balance of the two so we can integrate socially and be part of our community, but also have the strength and self-trust to carry out our individual spiritual business.
But what usually happens is, the dramas of daily life in a society and community, trap us in the material, into going along with what we think we are supposed to do (what’s expected of us) rather than what we long for or dream of. The cosmic / spiritual self slowly gets forgotten, and this is where those feelings of ‘I don’t know who I am’, plus low self-esteem and low self-worth, can rise.
When clients tell me they don’t know who they are, or have issues of the self, I always say “great”, because it means the quest to find the cosmic self has launched. Spiritual business is underway. You don’t have to live like a monk to be spiritual. You don’t have to stop creating your Instagram persona, shut down facebook or give all your stuff away. We are here to have a go at things. Personal growth and self-realization come from getting involved with the whole messy, complicated and amazing business of life on earth.
It’s tough to be your true self. It’s tough to find / follow / fulfil destiny. But there’s nothing as satisfying as taking on a tough challenge, holding your ground and doing it. Resisting giving in, “I can’t, it’s not realistic, it won’t work, I’m not good enough”, and unleashing the true cosmic self attitude “do it, leap, dive-in, bring it on”, is a buzz like no other. And that is what we are here for.
But to be cosmic requires consistent effort. Giving in / fitting in might get you back-up from people around you (safety in numbers) but you can’t rely on them. Cosmic-self choices are backed-up by the forces that hold this whole thing together, and we can rely on that forever.
Issues around the self are investment issues. No one expects to start work on a Monday and have a million dollars by Friday. Nobody thinks it’s ‘natural’ to have a mansion and a luxury car, we all know those things take work (usually) but most people think inner peace, purpose, feeling good about ourself and knowing who we are should be natural. They’re not, where’s the fun in that!
We all have a true self blueprint within us. To find it we can call upon our organs. In Chinese medicine, we have the physical organ but also the ‘chi organ’. One takes care of the material stuff on earth, and one takes care of the spiritual. Each organ has what the Daoist sages called an ‘orb’, or a divine spark. They are the messengers of heaven. Their job is to guide us towards being real. Want to stay focussed – turn to your spleen; want to be able to act on your dreams – hit up your liver; and to see and hear and know what’s real, call upon your heart.
If we follow a lifestyle that puts our organ’s preferences first, they can do their job. And what they want is simple: rhythm, nutrients and chi. This is why I created the chi-cycle lifestyle. It organises your day around organ preferences. It gets you out of your own way and makes some space for the cosmic self to come in. We have to overcome our resistance and our own preferences to follow this. For example, start each day building strength in body, mind and spirit and the journey of self-growth will continue. Every day you’ll feel more real.
Our interaction in the material world is important, our spiritual journey is also important. We all have a ‘contract with heaven’ (great Daoist idea) as in we signed up for growth, for challenge, for love and to make a difference. Everyone gets tested because that is where self-growth comes from. We are in the dojo every day but it is to fight the only battle that matters, which is internal. Fight against our own acquired urges, this is not who we really are, and fight for love instead. The best gift you can give to the world is to not give up.