In celebration of the separate self!



What’s the value of a small self?  (The self that thinks it’s separate from the Universe.)

Oh, I think many things!

A small self gets to play, to create, to sing an individual song, to dance a wild jig between squalling birth and sealed coffin.

A small self gets to experience Life from a seemingly separate viewpoint!  How unique, to see Life from only one angle, one focused view.

A small self gets to discriminate between itself and others.  How fun!  (Except when it’s not.)

A small self gets to wear many different hats, if it likes, or travel to Peru in search of what it thinks it lost.

A small self gets to forget, for a moment, what it truly is.

A small self gets to like and dislike.  It gets to think it can choose.  And choose again, if it doesn’t like the first choice!

It gets to forget about loving everything.  It can discern and judge and alienate and hate and adore and wallow in confusion.  So many opportunities exist!

It can forget about unconditional love for a lifetime or six.  The experience of a separate self is that it experiences other separate selves.  And one can compare, endlessly, analyzing, trying to figure it all out.  (And attempting to figure out things can be fun, I swear it.)

Separate selves get to decide who and what they love.  For example, ice cream.  A separate self can decide she likes ice cream better than chopped liver.  Or that the guy down the road is the one she wants to marry & live with happily ever after.  She gets to create concepts and beliefs.  She gets to think she’s the boss, captain of her own ship, pilot of her own airplane, driver of her own bus.

And oh the stories one can create!  A thousand novellas about this and that.  A million dramas.  One can stay awake all night long wondering how to resolve the latest crisis.  It’s the kind of life that keeps the reader spellbound, trying to figure out whether good will win out over evil.   A good book or play keeps us mesmerized, sometimes–if Life is in agreement–for an entire century.

A separate self gets to smoke cigarettes, drink bottles of wine, gamble at the casino.  It can polish off an entire chocolate cake if it desires!  It can judge itself as bad, oh you naughty devouring demon!  It might even decide to improve its crazy uncontrolled desires and judgments.  It can become a Mother Teresa!  Oh, wait, that role’s taken.  It may even become a villain, oh Snidely Whiplash, because all good stories need saints AND villains, better to keep the plot going. (We don’t want the audience to get bored with too much niceness, do we?)

Some of us also like the opportunity to try and become enlightened, to remember the wholeness that we’ve abandoned in our delight to see the world from a single view.  We try to become an enlightened person, which creates its own drama, as the person can never become enlightened.  (Enlightenment has always existed as the background of the separate self, sweet silly seeker, and it’s not something new to be attained…)

What do you like best about believing you are a separate self?

I think what I like the best–right now–is that it has been fun having adventures and telling stories.  (However, the believing part seems to be getting a little tiresome at times in recent years…)


25 thoughts on “In celebration of the separate self!

  1. hmm perhaps it’s not separate, perhaps it’s individuality and expression within what we are always. some awareness can be large omnipotent and some just to the feeling of chocolate first touching the tongue

    Perhaps it’s more words to try to describe that feeling that can only be had by the soul having it, trying to pass that along or to communicate with others. It all happens at once always and disregards my knowing or not. For me, I continue to observe what looks like a chasing of enlightenment, as a thing that is better, which then disregards what IS. If there IS a concept of enlightenment, I believe it already lies within the blueprint of our soul/spirit.

    • Individuality and expression within what we are always! Yes, a good way to put it. All words about this subject–the feeling of it–will always come up short. There are no words to pinpoint it. (That my separate self has found yet. 🙂 ) There seems to be a fine line, in my experience, between chasing enlightenment and continuing to stay attached to our patterns and beliefs. Chasing enlightenment may ignore that which IS. But there is also a way that Life can point out our attachments and reactivity, seemingly urging us to not turn away from pain and suffering but to see what it’s pointing to. At least that’s been my experience. And learning how to dance that fine line between chasing enlightenment and continuing to follow reactivity. I think I have erred on the side of both a million times, yet keep glimpsing and sometimes living that which isn’t limited.

  2. Perhaps what I like best about believing I am a separate self is that feeling of being special, fortunate even, to experience so many pleasurable sights, sounds, tastes, smells and sensations for as long as I have. That feeling of being lucky to be alive. It is a lovely story… sigh…

  3. I love this. It is a breath of fresh air or so it seems after being in “other” perspectives for awhile now. Nice to remember why it is ALL good afterall !!

    And I LOVE telling stories and having ADVENTURES even more. What do I like best about the small separate self ? – being aware of contrasts, and preferences, and alternative possible endings to every story. Oh !! and I like not getting bored !!

    I think I like the concept of “waking up” better than “enlightenment” which has always sounded a bit snooty and smacks of being somehow “superior” to my own point of view. Waking up means not being totally deluded. It means experiencing one’s self as a small separate self while still understanding there is a “bigger” picture which when it is big enough becomes “whole”.

    Thanks, Kathy.

    • Thought it was coincidental to get this idea from Abraham-Hicks this morning –

      “Enlightenment means literally aligning to the Energy of my Source. And genius is only about focusing. Law of Attraction takes care of everything else. Physical humans often want to make enlightenment about finding some process and moving through the process that has been pre-described. But true enlightenment is moving to the rhythm of the internal inspiration that is coming in response to the individual desire. Enlightenment is about allowing my connection to the Source that is me for the fulfillment of the things that I have individually defined here in my time/space reality. That’s as good as it gets!”

      And this is a definition I can feel much more aligned with. Just noting it here, since the topic of enlightenment came up here.

    • Thanks for sharing your separate self stories, Deb. It’s funny…I have been not liking the term “waking up” lately because of the same reasons you shared about enlightenment. Both terms feel so inappropriate once the thoughts get hold of them. That sense of a bigger picture that you described sounds peaceful.

  4. This is wonderful, Kathy. Gosh, what I like best about believing I’m a separate self has to be in the story telling, making up adventures in which I’m both Snidely Whiplash and Mother T within the course of a half hour. “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” — it’s just darn fun acting out all the parts, and pretending I’m solo while I perform my quiet dramas.

  5. I often feel as if I’m on a sound stage acting out a role I’ve put on that stage to pretend to be. This feeling comes over me frequently, and the best way to describe it is like the movie the Truman Show. I’m acting out this role as Lori, and a lot of the time, I’m not aware that I’m in the play pretending to be Lori, very much like Truman. Sometimes, I even feel like I’m being watched, as Truman was being watched by viewers. And when that “sound stage” feeling happens, I find myself watching myself too. So confusing, yet it makes sense to me. Thanks for this thoughtful post, Kathy.

  6. Coming late to the party ;-)………………as I am cleaning out my inbox, stumbled on this jewel of a post.

    It feels as if you said it all, Kathy :-)……………..what do I like best about the experience as a separate self? It feels as if it is offering the contrast to being ONE with ALL………..i.e. if it wasn’t for the separate self, we wouldn’t play with this dialogue. The separate self is the vehicle that allows the True Self to be seen …………..or is it the other way around? …………..yes, that is what you referred to as trying to figure it out.

    More simply put: The separate self has its place, as much as anything in the miracle of life, it is the seat in the theater from where the movie is watched………..

    Your post brings out my resistance to embrace and welcome the notion of my separate self. After the many Decades of fully identifying with it, there is a familiarity………….which is both comforting and challenging. The challenge is that unless I remind myself, or as long as I am not reminded, that separate self continues to pretend it is the navel of the universe…………..

    • Yes, our poor separate selves, sometimes so maligned from thoughts which sometimes try to disown them. I think some of us so much want to realize Oneness that we inadvertently “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. We know we’re not the navel of the Universe, but that separate self does seem convinced that it is. Thanks for not cleaning this out of your inbox before you stopped by and shared!

  7. I have many thoughts on all this being discussed.
    Perhaps all of you are far too intellectual for me or are operating on a different level of being….
    When born, I became a separate self from my mother’s body
    Even if I marry, I am separate, not one
    In a room full of people, I can only be alone, not part of the whole

    Perhaps I look at life in a very practical way always being that me that is not you

    • That is how I have looked at it most of my life, too. Feeling like a separate being coming from my mother’s body. Not part of the whole. Yet there have been many glimpses in recent years which have felt like an open door revealing a different perspective. These glimpses have filled this heart with joy. From one level of being we do see ourselves as separate, I think. But to know or sense that there is another way of perceiving…is filling this heart with gladness. From the practical rational way of viewing–yes, we are separate. This blog is about the glimpses which spontaneously have arisen beyond that way of viewing the world…

      • PS I like your honesty in stating what you perceive. I think most of us perceive as you do. I know I have perceived this way so much. Not everyone is as honest to say so very clearly.

      • I think we all have this glimpses, seen sometimes by a sideways fleeting image…I truly do not know.

        It is good to be on a journey with friends who know and feel as you do. I read backward looking for some explanation I could relate. Alas, I think that there is a generation gap!

        You present many interesting and different points of view. I admire that in you and your writings.

        For so long (in the 70’s) I searched for the self, the soul. It was an arduous journey, and I wrote many long papers trying to explain what I found, however, there was no internet and I was looked at with curiosity.

        I do not know if that little self exist and if so, does it change anything now?

        Rambling thoughts on this quiet Sunday.

        • I do not think our logical rational minds CAN know Oneness. However, I have pointed out Oneness to non-spiritual friends in a restaurant and they have seen it immediately. However, I do not think this is a generation gap. My husband cannot perceive anything but the separate self–and has no interest at all in pursuing anything else! My children aren’t interested either. It seems almost to be a calling–one must have a PASSION for discovering what exists beyond the separate self. And it’s not an easy journey. Mine has been filled with deep pain, grief and suffering. but I can’t choose any other way. The glimpses have been worth everything. This year I had two months worth of knowing Oneness. It has been worth every bit of struggle… Does it change anything? Who knows? It changes everything for me…

        • Perhaps the intense grief and suffering I experienced this summer have overshadowed any other feeling except numbness to what life is all about. I think this is my passion…what is it all about?

          I have looked at Oneness, but not very deeply. Perhaps I needed a teacher, a guide, a feeling….when I studied Tai Chi for two years, I think I had these feelings. I had a teacher….unfortunately he was Special Ops with the Army and no one seems to know where he is. That was a long time ago.

          Now there are days I do not consciously think; when I do it is with a simple prayer based on the song by Leonard Cohen…
          If it be thy will…
          then the other words are mine.

          I did not know I would have cancer; I only knew that I did not want to out live my son. The Universe knew all along. I do not fear the outcome; my son and I are now traveling parallel paths.

          We are not as estranged; we text about medical things. I have not heard his voice since I left CA….this is another story for another day.

          The topic was Oneness; webs we weave.

        • You have surely been through a rough time, Linda. I suspect if you are not consciously thinking you are touching Oneness at times during your day, but perhaps not recognizing you are doing so. I think we all experience Oneness states but often do not recognize them for what they are.

          I have been delving toward Oneness through spirituality since at least 1986 (or earlier) but only began becoming passionate about no-self since maybe 2003. It’s the primary passion that keeps rising and it’s hard to talk about it to anyone. Very few are on this path; very few even know what it is. There are all sorts of misunderstandings and assumptions both within and without.

          The Lake Superior Spirit blog was a blog about the self, the person, Kathy. This blog tries to express the passion which propels.

          I am glad to hear that you and your son are texting, and perhaps you will hear his voice again one of these days.

          Yes…Oneness does weave its webs. I think perhaps it truly loves its diversity and the appearing and disappearing of its One preciousness. The disappearing is hard on our human selves, though, as we have grown attached to certain representations of it… My dad weakens more every day. This heart feels so soft and loving and hurting for him…while simultaneously embracing his journey back into the Oneness…

        • A very thoughtful reply. I understand the watching of a father who is slowly leaving you. I kept this watch for a year and a half. I was aware every moment of his fight, his pain.

          This blog, in my opinion, is one I am more attune with even though I loved the other blog. This one brings the reader a closer look at their life as it is reflected through different lenses of seeing and knowing. No, I do not think many people are on this path; however, you must keep true to your mission, your passion. It may well lead others to find the path, and if only one finds the way, you have helped that one and that is enough.

          Thank you for your thoughts. We are all traveling a difficult path. I know that I am not alone. Others have watched their children die. Others have felt their body defy their will. Others have passed into a new light of knowing and I dare say that my life has been blessed in many ways. There may be intense pain as I move forward, but only for a little while, and then, I, too, can move beyond this sphere of Being to one far superior to this plane.

        • I have enjoyed talking with you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and life and knowings… And I am glad that your life has been blessed in many ways and that you can see this. So many blessings, Linda…

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