The Way You Are

by Jeff Martens

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You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way. – Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda

Notice how you are feeling right now.  Become aware of your body, your energy level, your attitude.  What do you notice to be your experience of yourself in this moment?

Now consider this:

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.

Over and over and over again.

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way. And you can also take that a little further and realize that the people in your life are the way they are because you tell yourself they are that way.

We are always telling ourselves how we are, we are defining ourselves all the time.  This telling is usually based on the past.  We are also always defining other people all the time based on the past.  When you become conscious of it, you become aware of it, you begin to notice: Wow, I am telling myself how I am right now, I’m defining myself.  It is all under the radar, it is all unconscious.  It’s all that hidden 90% of the iceberg, that you are telling yourself that you are a certain way.  Or that you are telling yourself that other person you know is a certain way.  That person can be totally different to themselves or other people but you are still seeing them the same way you always have.*

The reason that, in your mind, you are telling yourself how other people are is that you need a supporting cast.  Your false self needs actors to support the false self.  So you have this drama that is your life, sometimes it is rated ‘G’, sometimes it is ‘R’, sometimes it is unrated, and you need a whole cast, sometimes a cast of hundreds to help define who you are.

You need the false self.  You need a villain, someone who can play the antagonist.  You need the commiserator.  You need the best friend who agrees with you.  You need the judge and jury.

So if you want other people to change, this means that you have to change first.  You have to change the movie, you have to change the script.  You have to change yourself from being the actor to being the director and the writer.  You have to be willing to rewrite the script, because if you don’t change, the other people will still keep playing the same roles in your movie, the movie of our life, the same way they always did.

Now sometimes people in your life will change and you don’t want them to change because it messes up your movie.  It’s messing up the plot of your movie.  Don’t they know that they are messing with your script?  And you are going to keep trying to make them play the same role, you’ll say “No, no no!  You’re supposed to say this, you’re supposed to do that.  In fact you will hear them saying this and see them doing that even when they are not doing it.  You will keep seeing them in the old role.  And that won’t change until you change.

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.

Maybe it’s time you stretched yourself as an actor.  Maybe it is time that you tried a different role, a different part.  Maybe you start to branch out into writing and directing.  When you let go of that old role, when you stop telling yourself that you are a certain way that you have been for a long time, it is a death of sorts  This is the archetype of the resurrection.  You will rise from the ashes of your  old self.  You will be the Phoenix.  You will be reborn, you will be changed, but much must be sacrificed; you must be wiling to let go of the old way of being.  And the tendency to preserve your false self can be very strong.**

In reality its not really much to be sacrificed, in fact it is mostly pain and misery.  But when we are pain and misery and difficulty, it seems like everything. It seems like ourselves.

So when you are that false self you have a false setting.  You change the whole world to fit your goal.  So it can be beautiful and sunny out but you will see miserable surroundings.  This is really a perversion of your ability to create.  The creator in you is being used to see the worst in yourself and others all the time as well as the world and nature around you.  And by not allowing the world or those around you to change you condemn yourself to living your past as your future.

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.

When you are stuck in that role we often give lip service to changing.  You have the opportunity to change you might say “I’ll try to change, I’ll try to make it, I’ll try to do it.”  But what this really means is “I’m probably not gonna do it.”

“I’ll try to meditate.”  “I’ll try to make it to yoga class.”  “I’ll try to eat better, to eat more fruit and vegetables.”  But you are still really too invested in your role to say it’s going to happen.

Let me ask you a question.  If you won the lottery and you needed to be at the lottery office by 1 O’clock would you say “I’ll try to be there?”

To that false role, living a life of joy and freedom and love and living a fulfilled life isn’t that important because you’re just going to give it a try.  “I’ll give it a try,” you say to yourself.  And that is okay too, it is all right.  You just realize that.

Right now, try to Breathe deeply.  If you inhaled more you did not “try”.

There is no try, there is only do.

You either do or you don’t do, once you start to be honest with yourself.  “OK, I’m not doing it.  All right.”  Then you can explore why you are not doing it.  Why you are not changing.  Maybe you don’t really want to change.

Don’t try to read these words.  Read these words.

In fact you are meant to continuously let go.  We are not made to hold on to old experiences, old selves, old judgments.  We are supposed to experience, let it pass through us, let it flow.  We are not supposed to keep it, throw it on a pile and then point to that pile and say “hey, that’s me.”

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.

It’s not because of what somebody else does or did to you, it’s not because of the weather, or the virus that’s going around, it’s not because of your parents, it’s not because of the car that you drive.  It’s because You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.

Just start to become aware or how many times you are telling yourself how you are, how many times you are defining yourself by how you define others and the world around you.  You make up a story about “them” so you can be who you are in relation to them.  They are mean and you get to be the victim of their meanness.  They are weak and you get to be strong.  They are wrong and you get to be right.  Every time you compare yourself to others you are defining yourself and cementing that self-concept into place.  You are constantly remaking the world in your own image.  How many times are you affirming the past repeating in the present over and over again?

How do I not repeat the past?  Find your heart.  Keep finding the heart so that space right behind the heart softens so the heart can open.  Heart is the center of feeling.  You want to be able to feel otherwise you have to rely on memory and repeating past action.  When you truly feel, not in an overly dramatic way, but you are just sensitive, you feel what is in this moment.  You can respond instead of react.  Responding means that there isn’t a script, you have a choice.

Then you don’t have to try anymore.  In reacting you try.  In responding you be.  And from this present self you do.

About a year ago there was a story about a local man in the newspaper who had some kind of accident and damaged a part of his brain so he had complete amnesia***.  He did not remember his family, he did not remember who he was, he did not remember his house, he remembered nothing of his old life.  So there is this woman visiting him and she has to tell him that she is his wife.  She has to tell him he has grown kids.  And so finally his wife drove him home from the hospital and as they were driving up the driveway he said “this is our house?  This is where I live?”  And she said “Yes.”  And he said, “Who all lives here?”  “Oh, just you and I,”  she answers.  “Well why do we have such a big house?”  They pulled into the garage. “Why do we have four cars?”  He goes into the house.  “Why do I have six watches?”  He is literally baffled, asking these things about his own life.  He doesn’t understand.  What’s happened is that he is no longer telling himself that he is a certain way.  Because he has lost the past he is not defining himself anymore, therefore he is able to experience reality.  He is able t experience what is in this moment.  And so he is asking legitimate real questions.  It is not wrong to have a big house or four cars or six watches.  But now he is asking these questions. These are questions that he has probably never asked of himself when his memory was intact.  He never stopped to think about it.

When you are the actor in that false role, you have all kinds of props surrounding you.  You have supporting players, you have mental soundtracks, you have whole sets.  But what they really are is artificial constructs.  They don’t reflect who you are, they don’t reflect your true self.  They can’t tell you who you are.  Because they are props.  Now again there is nothing wrong with having money or a big house or a lot of cars, but if you use these things to define yourself, to tell you who you are, then you are in a bit of trouble.

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.  Who is the “You” in that sentence?  Who are “You” anyway?

Become aware of the inner dialogue, become aware of the scripts.  Become aware of what you are telling yourself, how you are defining yourself.  It is all based on the past and this is how we condemn ourselves to repeating the past.  Because we define ourselves based on the past.  And we define others based on the past.  We don’t allow change to happen.  So let yourself be here.  What does it feel like to be here in your life now?  Let go of the past.  Keep letting go of each moment.  You are meant to experience the moment, let it flow through you but not carry it into the next moment.  Think of laughter, do we hold on to the last time we were laughing and relive it over and over again?  Yet we do this with pain all the time.  Keep letting go, let the moment flow through you.  Do not hold onto this moment and make it a possession, let it flow through you.

If you must tell yourself that you are a certain way, why not tell yourself something magnificent?  Not in an egotistical way that makes you better than other people or worse than other people, they are both egotistical.  Throw yourself in the gutter, build yourself a throne, they are both ego.  To see the best, the highest in yourself.  This is what the Master or the Guru does, sees the highest in you until you can see it yourself.  So be your own Guru.  To see yourself in a magnificent story, a story of evolution, of abundance, of joy.  Of healing, of prosperity of love.  It takes just as much effort to see yourself negatively as positively.  And then let go of even this effort so you don’t carry it with you into another story.

If you were to let go of your past and just suddenly appear in your life, what would you find odd?  What would you find strange.  What would make you go, “Really?  This is what I think about most of the day?  This is what I focus on?  Why do I have this?  Why do I talk that way to that person?  How come I feel this way around this person?  And why do I have such a big TV?”

There have been some studies of multiple personality disorder and people who have had amnesia like this**** and sometimes they have a skin affliction or some kind of disease or disorder, and when they are the different personality or when they have forgotten their old self, they no longer have the disorder.  They are no longer constantly defining themselves as their disorder, as their condition.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for somebody to bonk you on the head  or get some schizophrenic episode.  You can begin letting go now.  Just let go of your attachment to things and defining yourself in relation to others or your ‘stuff’.  It’s not wrong to have things… The way you live in your life is not wrong, none of it is wrong — it is all right and perfect.  But let yourself start to see it anew, let yourself start to see it with fresh eyes.  Just begin to notice and you’ll become aware.

How are you telling yourself that you are?  How are you defining the people in your life?  How are you perceiving the world around you all the time?  How are you using your powers as the Creator?  If you are truly made in the image of God the Creator as the Sacred texts say, how are you using that magnificence?  What kind of world are you creating each day for yourself and others?  And as you notice this you begin to have awareness, you begin to have the ability to create something a little bit different.  Feel so you can choose.

You are the way you are because you tell yourself you are that way.

Tell yourself something magnificent.

* See Yoga Sutra 4.15: Same object, different consciousness, separate path.

**See abhinivesha, Yoga Sutra 2.9.

***See: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/2010/05/02/20100502lost-memory-gilbert.html

****Colin A Ross: Dissociative Identity Disorder: Diagnosis, Clinical Features and Treatment of Multiple Personality; 2nd edition, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1996