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Be Yourself (from Zen Soup by Laurence G. Boldt)


Most Western psychological theories confuse the ego with the Self. As a result, we view the self as an object in need of adaption or correction. On the other hand, most Eastern philosophies, including Zen, distinguish between the ego and the authentic Self. The Self is to be realized, not perfected. It cannot be improved upon or in any way altered, for It remains ever transcendent to time and space and all the changes that transpire within them.

From the perspective of Zen, the ego (or mask of personality) is not to be corrected but released. The ego is the fictional social self we must lose in order to find, or realize, the authentic Self. Losing the ego does not mean despising or annihilating it but rather severing our identification with it. In the language of Zen, releasing identification with ego brings spontaneous realization of the "original" or "unborn" Self, the True or One Self in all.

Yet being yourself is more than clinging to the emptiness of spiritual Oneness. It is also participating in your becoming in the world of time and space. While we are all One in spirit, each of us is unique in nature. Being yourself means recognizing and celebrating your particular nature, your unique gifts and abilities. there is no point in trying to be somebody else or in letting concern with what others people think dictate your life. We must each find our own path an discover for ourselves the joy of being what we are.



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