What is your self image? More generally, what is an image? Let’s start with this question.
The dictionary defines an image as several things, including:
1. a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, photographed, painted, or sculptured.
2. a mental representation; idea; conception; semblance, counterpart; copy.
So, we can start by saying that an image is not the real thing, it is a copy or counterpart. And we can look at the root of the word image: imagination, something imagined.
So now back to the first question, and then I will tell you where this is going. What is your image? You see, most of us are very concerned about our image. The bigger the ego, the more we worry about our image. And visa verse.
The bigger our egoic mind, the more we constantly try to protect our self and our image, what others think of us. This is exhausting, and of course this means we suffer. Why? Again, because we are not our ego and our image. We are God embodied.
You may have heard the saying that We are all created in God’s image. This is not quite true. We are God. Sure, we are God with amnesia; we have forgotten who we are, but that is part of the game on Earth, a game we made up, and created, and anything we create we can un-create.
In other words, at any time, we can choose to wake up. We can choose to stop playing the game, stop identifying with the egoic mind and our self image, just give it up. This is what the ancients and mystics call awakening. We either spontaneously or over time come to self realize, not the small self, but the true Self. Then the mind noise no longer bothers us, and in fact, eventually either goes away or gently starts to support us, no longer as our intrusive enemy, but our ally.
Spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle, who understands the nature of the egoic mind as well as anyone, says, The unconscious compulsion to enhance one’s identity through association with an object is built into the very structure of the egoic mind . . . . He goes on to say, To see if you are attached to anything (product, title, how others see you, job, career, identity) ask: Would who I am be diminished by losing it?
So, you see what happens? In a world where nearly all of us have forgotten the truth of who we are, the God within, the indwelling Spirit, our egoic mind takes over and attempts to builds a false self image, under the guise of protecting us, but really limiting us to a very fearful, illusionary, imaginary existence, lost in duality, seeing enemies everywhere, and investing tremendous energy into self preservation.
In truth, we are everlasting, all powerful, magnificent beings of light, with truly nothing to fear, and therefore no reason to suffer continuously by desperately working to maintain whatever image we try to uphold, be it rich, or confident, or successful or valued. Let all your self images go. Feel the joy and freedom of identification with our true spiritual Self.