Friday, August 19, 2011

Sense of Self:Part 3

This is a continuation of the Sense of Self posts that I have been written so far.  I'm not sure where to go with it, or what direction I'm heading.  This topic is so general and almost infinite it and of itself I feel that I could type forever and never get to a point... so I'm just gonna dive back in and start going where ever my mind takes me.

I have noticed a radical change in my 'self' as I have began meditating.  It has been something of a treasure that was always there, but I have fully captured the essence of it now. I knew that this place of mind where I could openly feel without trepidation existed, but it didn't always feel available to me.  I could catch glimpses of it out of the corner of eye and feel it at my fingertips... It seemed mostly out of reach, until recently.

But first, what is 'self'.  This seems to be such a big question that many have asked and answered.  When asked most NT (neurotypical) people will begin to describe their social roles, ie; 'I'm a mother, a teacher, a wife...'.  I'm not engaging in bigotry, or saying that they're wrong to do this.  I'm just pointing out what most say and do, so please hold off the PC squad on this one.  This answer never seemed to make sense to me.It didn't make much sense with the Asperger ladies that I have discussed this topic with, either.  I am a mother, and I like what I do for an occupation (if you can call it that) and I love being married to my husband, but is me? Is it what defines me? I have to say no.  No, it isn't because I existed before my husband, my children, my career. I was me before they were around and if they were all to disappear tomorrow, I'll still be me.  So, if 'me' isn't that, then, what is it?  That was the question that I set to find out.  That was part of the reason I ended up on the path to Buddhism and Mindfulness.  I needed an alternate explanation to the riddle 'what is self?'

First, before I could move onto defining myself in any way I had to learn self awareness.  This was a feat for this aspie. I had to know what I was feeling, and when.  I had to identify my emotions and my wants and needs.  I had to learn about me, then let go of me.  I learn to recognize the little twinges of desire and the small nags of irritation.  Where I carried my anger, where I felt my sadness, where I stored my breath in anxiety.  This was all parts of me.  Parts that I didn't know existed within me in such subtle forms.  This journey of self discovery was overwhelming, but exhilarating.

Once, I could label my emotions and what they meant to me I could now begin to learn to let them go.  My awareness now moved to time. Nothing is permanent.  This moment is no more important than any of yesterday or tomorrow.  What meaning I attach to it is one that is arbitrary.  One that is made up and only experienced by me. Don't believe me?  Think of a time where life was difficult. When you look back things don't seem so bad, do they?  You may even have thought that you'll never feel better, or different, but you did.You have. While there is no doubt that we can and do suffer as humans, it's the attachments that we tack onto these emotions that we struggle with.

I feel that my self, me is defined by what I do,what I say what I am in every moment.  It's never static.  It's the choices I make that make me in this moment.  My values and goals and how I choose to fit them into my life, is me.  Every moment of everyday, I get to choose who I want to me to be.  How I respond to stranger at the store, or my naughty child, or frustrated husband.  My actions at that given moment define me.  I'd like to think that I am a kind, generous, supportive, person, among other qualities.  Before, I react to another person, or speak/act at all, I try to pause and ask myself if the person that I want to be is supported and defined by what I'm about to do.  If I say no, that wouldn't be kind, generous, supportive, ect... then I have the option of behaving in a different way.  One in which the me that I want to be is who that I am.


  1. Speaking of autism and Buddhism, have you seen the film "Wretches and Jabbers"?

    In Wretches & Jabberers, two men with autism embark on a global quest to change attitudes about disability and intelligence. Determined to put a new face on autism, Tracy Thresher, 42, and Larry Bissonnette, 52, travel to Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland. At each stop, they dissect public attitudes about autism and issue a hopeful challenge to reconsider competency and the future.

    Growing up, Thresher and Bissonnette were presumed “retarded” and excluded from normal schooling. With limited speech, they both faced lives of social isolation in mental institutions or adult disability centers. When they learned as adults to communicate by typing, their lives changed dramatically. Their world tour message is that the same possibility exists for others like themselves.

    Between moving and transformative encounters with young men and women with autism, parents and students, Thresher and Bissonnette take time to explore local sights and culture; dipping and dodging through Sri Lankan traffic in motorized tuk-tuks, discussing the purpose of life with a Buddhist monk and finally relaxing in a traditional Finnish sauna. Along the way, they reunite with old friends, expand the isolated world of a talented young painter and make new allies in their cause.

    From beginning to end, Thresher and Bissonnette inspire parents and young men and women with autism with a poignant narrative of personal struggle that always rings with intelligence, humor, hope and courage.

  2. I have heard of it, but haven't seen it. I'm thinking of purchasing the DVD.

  3. I got a trial Netflix account (I'm not sure if I'll keep it), and it was available for streaming, so I watched it for the first time yesterday. I was hoping "Fly Away"( would be available too, but it wasn't.


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