If we’re stuck at the surface of life, recurring periods of self-doubt, confusion and inner conflict will haunt us. The worry, indecision and resentment that come with these moods will force us to play it safe. We will live like a big corporation that has its worried eyes glued on the short-term bottom line. We’ll miss the big rewards that life can deliver when we live it as a long-term adventure rather than as an occasion to avoid short-term risk.
If we are too hypnotized by our family-based conditioned self-image, then we’ll be trapped in an identity that’s too small for who we truly are. We’re trapped because even if our self-image has little basis, we’ll in fact, think, feel and act in accord with it.
We can connect to our soul and learn to live from there with firm conviction and self-assurance if we can break free from the confines of our conditioned self-image. There is an art and a science to doing this, one that grants the knowledge and tools we need. Deep inner work, including awareness and mindfulness training, are important parts of this art and science.
Without the right knowledge and tools we can take wrong roads. One wrong road popular in our society is to try to escape from this soul problem through neurotic achievement. Those who do this flee from a good deal of self-doubt and insecurity, but just barely. They stay just a step ahead of it, like someone fleeing from a group of angry dogs right behind them. The angry dogs of self-doubt, confusion and uncertainty that come with being stuck at the surface of life can chase many people into a fierce struggle for power, position and wealth. It’s important for us to avoid this seductive struggle because it’s a false path; it doesn’t deliver what it promises.