The Buddhists say “self” is an illusion, and I believe this is a very helpful teaching.
I certainly think it is easy to get “too full of myself,” which is a way of saying I am working out some wrong assumptions of how important I am. And yet, dear reader, even if I offer you only a generic smile or a kind hand, briefly helping you up over a small obstacle, I must do that coming out of who I am –and relatedly– who I understand myself to be. And so must we all, each coming from our unique point of view.
In my case, what I have to offer is mostly my story. (I could speak as if I was offering some god-given, eternal truth, but that would be silly.) It may be my be my vision contains glimpses of eternal truth, but they exist within the very human context of my life, and I am in a poor position to distinguish between things that are thrilling only to me, and what will have value to you and to many others. The most honest thing I can do is to speak from my point of view, while explaining the context of my point of view, that is, my life.
I offer several views of myself,
a “bio,” chronological in order, with a fair emphasis on externals,
a “me,” which tries to explain what this person “Richard” thinks he has to offer,
and “my story,” going over the same ground as the “bio,” from the point of view of my inner life.
Since the self is an illusion we create, none of these views are “real.” And all of them are true to my current understanding and point of view.
I can be reached at richardatgaiavoices.net.