‘You are so kind’, ‘you are beautiful’, ‘you are so foolish’, ‘he is very selfish and insensitive’. It’s mind’s habit to create an image for self and others. It continuously analyses and judges the people around and forms an opinion about them on the basis of its own understanding of the world. Words have a deep impact on psyche. When we listen to what people think of us and it’s not pleasant, we try to project a different image of ourselves. For instance, to escape the image of being self-centred, we sacrifice our own needs and put others before us. To give respect to our parents and maintain image of a good child, we do things that they feel are good for us. Our family, our friends, our relatives, our neighbours and all the people around us shape us into what we are, or at least what we think we are. But are we what others think or even ‘we’ think we are? Or should we go deep, scratch the surface and peep into our true self? What is it that we need to do to connect with our true self?
What is self with small s?
It is important to understand what self with small s is as differentiated by Self with the capital S. We are essentially spiritual beings who are in physical form with different identities. The self with small s is the identity we identify with, the world knows. Human is a social being and mingling with others and do things as a community is part and parcel of our life. The self with a small s tries to gel, do things that the society expects them to do, thinks of themselves as a person society judges them to be it beautiful, ugly, smart, intelligent, dumb, selfish, dedicated, lazy….and so on. There are so many ways in which the world around us sees us and the ‘self with small s’ is conscious of it. However, during many moments in a day, week or months, Self with the capital S shows glimpses of it, tries to show us the real picture of what one should or should not be doing. Some call it God, some call it atman, some call it our true self. So, what is it really?
What is Self with the capital S?
Self with the capital S is our higher or true self that we are not able to witness clearly due to many layers of social conditioning on us and also due to our ego that refuses to see beyond the surface. Self with small s focusses on need fulfilment, is materialistic, is revengeful, wants approval from the world, acts out of anger, greed and attachment. Whereas Self with the capital S is the spiritual part of us, the real us, that knows its spiritual journey, lessons, aware of the mistakes we make, is capable of loving unconditionally, is truly kind and uncompetitive, is divine and is limitless. There are moments in our life when we come face to face with it. When we introspect, reflect, meditate and spend time in quietness, we see it. It makes us uncomfortable. It expects different things out of us. It supports the unpopular parts of us. It reminds us that we are more than what we think we are.
How to connect with our true self?
We become so accustomed to interact as self with small s that it’s difficult for us to gain access to the capital S that’s our true nature. A person who operates mostly out of their capital S are highly evolved people who have worked on themselves with Yoga, meditation and introspections. When one stays connected to their true self, they are free of jealously, competitiveness, hate, and other such negative emotions.
It also makes us love more unconditionally without expecting anything from the other person. Yoga can help us connect with our true self. It takes one a lifetime or multiple lifetimes to truly see what they are, but the journey of self-discovery is fascinating as we meet the real aspects of ourselves. Through Yoga, as we work on our breathing, postures, mind and body, we are able to look beyond our small s side and begin to develop a higher and deeper perspective about self and life. As we start to see the world from a divine perspective and now how society sees us, all our worldly desires and attachments start to melt away and we enter the world of pure bliss.