Self, Reality, Truth and Language: Part 2 – Sentences In Your Head

Jeff Carreira Self Reality Truth & Language 11 Comments

We are all trapped in a self-image – a set of ideas that we identify with as who we are. If you want to discover radical freedom then you have to look closely at what choices you are making that are causing you to have the identity that you are experiencing right now. It has been my experience that the key to discovering the mechanism of self-construction is recognizing that there are two kinds of thoughts.

There is one type of of thought, which involves thoughts that appear to just come to us out of nowhere. These thoughts we commonly refer to as random thoughts or inspirations. When we speak of these we usually say that we ‘have a thought.’ There is another activity of thought that we relate to as us talking to ourselves. When we speak of these thought we usually say that we are ‘thinking.’ In this case we make statements that start ‘I think…’ Simply put, the distinction is between ‘thoughts’ and ‘me thinking.’

To contemplate the distinction that I am making more deeply lets use an example. Let’s say that you need to have dinner and the idea of Mexican food crosses your mind – maybe in the form of an image of a plate of tacos, or maybe as the sentence “I could have Mexican food.” There will be times that you will relate to this as just a random thought – a thought that comes to mind and should be considered. On the basis of the arising of this thought you might decide to, or decide not to, go out for Mexican food.

If that same thought comes in a different form – perhaps accompanied by a feeling sense of desire – you might not relate to it as a random thought to be considered, but rather as a description of yourself.  In this form the thought might take the form “I want Mexican food.” The appearance of the thought of Mexican food in this form will probably result in your going out for Mexican food.

Consider these two thoughts, “I could have Mexican food.” vs. “I want Mexican food.” The second is much more laden with identity. It is infused with selfhood. The first one we simply relate to as a thought to be considered. The second one we relate to as a statement about ourselves, from ourselves, telling us who we are. If you examine how we construct our sense of self you will find that it is constructed with thoughts just like, “I want Mexican food.” “I am a mother.” “I am a good person.” “I am a person who does this and not that.”…. and on and on and on. Our self is constructed by a never-ending string of conclusions that appear in our minds as statements directed toward us telling us who we are and who we are not. They are statements of limitation.  I am this and not that. I do this and not that. This never ending set of conclusions draws a boundary around who we are and who we are not.

When we look closely we see that these ideas are just ideas like all other ideas. They are just a collection of ideas about who we are and they may be right or wrong, but in themselves they are just ideas and they do not dictate who we are or what is real.

This realization is part of the dawning of enlightenment. It is the realization that there is a whole classification of thought that we have unknowingly and blindly accepted as accurate descriptions of who we are. This is what spiritual ignorance is – the unconscious belief that a certain set of unexamined ideas defines the limit of who we are.

When we make this discovery we experience the freedom of no-limitation. It isn’t that we replace these ideas with some new idea about who we are. We simply realize that we don’t know who we are. And because we don’t know who we are, we could be anyone. The dawning of enlightenment is the experience of unlimited potential.

About the Author

Jeff Carreira
Jeff Carreira is a mystical philosopher and spiritual guide. He is the author of eleven books on meditation and philosophy. He teaches online programs and leads retreats throughout the world that teach people how to let go of their current perceptual habits so they are free to participate in the creation of a new paradigm. To put it simply, he supports people to live a spiritually inspired life, free from the constraints of fear, worry and self-doubt, and aligned with their own deepest sense of meaning and purpose.
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Liesbeth
Liesbeth
9 years ago

Jeff, I am copying this link into an (privite) site I am talking on because it is a perfect illustration of what I try to say, but it is so much clearer! Thank you.

Birgitte Mølgård
Birgitte Mølgård
9 years ago

Dear Jeff. I understand the meanining of what you are telling us here, totally I am with (I hope) Often I get the thought, is it possible for us, for the human being, to live here with out a structure, I mean we are here, we have a form, a shape, we are in this body. Is it possible not to just make new ideas about live and obout one self, what is right and wrong, and then make new structures and new statements. Am I free now or is it just a new shape, new ideas about who I… Read more »

Josh
9 years ago

Hey Jeff, I host a conference call in which we explore enlightenment and last night we touched on something so very similar to what you’re discussing now…the difference between survival and quality of life? Are you good? Are you bad? Are you right or wrong? These questions have yes/no answers….they require a digital response. Like a standard light switch there are only two options for the answers: on or off. How are you? What have you been up to? How bad was it? These questions don’t have just yes/no answers but require a more in depth response. They require the… Read more »

Luca Maddalena
9 years ago

Very Interesting :), thanx Jeff. I often see myself drawing such conclusions. I see the interior contraction and the deep involvement in such repetitive habit. This habit , as you say, defines the “band”, of our possibilites and I’m struck to see how much such band is narrowed by this game of identification. We can say, by looking at our past, “I have been this”, but such is a slightly different type of action. Our attachment with this type of me really narrows the bandwidth at our disposal. I’m not sure if we can be anything or anyone, but I’m… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
9 years ago

Dear Jeff, very god blog. I agree with everything except the last sentence : “And because we don’t know who we are, we could be anyone. The dawning of enlightenment is the experience of unlimited potential.” I feel it is not because we don’t know who we are that we could be anyone. If we don’t’ know , we simply don’t’ know, period. Maybe there are constraints that we don’t know of and make sure that we cannot be “anyone”. Maybe there is an unlimited potential to be OneSelf which is at the same time infinitely Personal and Infinitely impersonal.… Read more »

Frank Luke
Frank Luke
9 years ago

Until we experience a Spiritual Awakening that convinces us of an identity we truly can adopt, so convincingly that it completes the search for that identity, we who are in that search may adopt many different guises. In our hearts and soul we will know when it’s the real deal or not. The Awakening may be a more or less complete one where all answers and understanding are given. It may also happen in a series of Awakenings, gradually becoming more enlightening. This partial Awakening should not discourage the “seeker” and if the search is sincere, the process of Awakening… Read more »

Moo Briddell
Moo Briddell
9 years ago

Dear Jeff, Peeling back all the layers of relative identities and conditioning we get closer and closer to our true self, the unlimited, unborn, whole and perfect being –the Absolute Self. From that boundary-less existence, we could say we are nothing, or everything. There is unlimited potential there. But, as soon as we step into our relative existence, with personality, a certain duty we have to perform in this life, etc. we cannot be anyone ( I agree with Catherine there, see above comment). We are born with latent tendencies carried over from past births and there is a certain… Read more »

Frank Luke
Frank Luke
9 years ago

Hello, Moo, Just commenting on your “We are born with latent tendencies carried over from past births and there is a certain karmic pattern which we will have to live out, live through, in this lifetime. How we handle it is completely up to us, our destiny is in our own hands, but it does give us certain constraints.” You’re right that our destinies are in our own hands (minds and hearts) but it can be complicated when it involves others whom we love. That reach for freedom and spiritual development may be painful personally and for others but there… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

I recommend you check this out: http://www.perceivingreality.com

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Andreson
8 years ago

Hi Christine, its a good question. We are kpeeing track of what the boys have donated directly as well as being advised of funds that have been donated through what people have told us they have done as a direct result of meeting the boys. We are also acting as a conduit for the three charities for which Daniel and William support and, for example, in this tour we have taken direct donations on behalf of The Orangutan Project of $582 ($82 was as a direct result of a gold coin donation programs instigated at Temora Public School). They boys… Read more »