Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Real Self Realized – By Ozodi Thomas Osuji

I am now real self-realized. What does that mean? It means that I am living from my real self. What is my real self?

The real self has no definition, for to define it is to limit it. It is best understood by contrasting it to what it is not.

Our true self is our real self but to be on earth we had to forget it; therefore, we begin our lives on planet earth not knowing who our real self is.

There are two objectives to our lives on earth; first, to forget our real self and identify with our false ego separated self-housed in body and that lives in space and time, and later on to remember our real self, the formless unified self we share with all selves and with God. The real self, while it is our self in unified spirit self, on earth is achieved, is not always known to us.

All my life I tried to live from the idealized, superior and powerful self. From my earliest memory, which would be age five, I have strived to live up to the ideal self-image that I constructed and want to become. 

George Kelly said that each child uses his inherited biological constitution and social experience to construct his self-concept.  Where the biological constitution and or the social experience is problematic, such as a child who inherited serious medical disorders, or where the child is accepted only, as Carl Rogers pointed out, when he behaves in what his parents and significant others ala Harry Stack Sullivan consider appropriate and rejected when he deviates from it, such a child rejects his real self and pursue what Karen Horney called ideal self and Alfred Adler called superior self.

The drive to attain the ideal self-concept and ideal self-image drove my entire life. I was incredibly ambitious. I did not know a moment of rest; I was like a projectile shot towards a target: go to elementary school, go to secondary school, go to university, go to graduate school, obtain a doctorate degree, and obtain a teaching job and when that did not seem able to gratify my ideal self, go seek other types of jobs.

I was trying to actualize my imaginary ideal-self (not what Abraham Maslow would call my real self) through education, work and social accomplishments. 

The desire to become an ideal self produces fear, anxiety and anger in the person for he fears not attaining his wished for ideal self and feels angry when he is not treated as his wished for ideal self.

The desire to be ideal is actually the desire to be mad. If it were possible for one to become ones imaginary ideal self-one would be completely dissociated from ones real self and one’s body and that is the definition of insanity.

 The schizophrenic is split off from his real self; he lives as if he is his wished for imaginary ideal self. Now there are two parts to him and they talk to each other; the same process exists in multiple personality disorder and in delusion disorder.

     If I had actualized living as the ideal self I would have become deluded, that is, psychotic. I was only neurotic in that I was pursuing the ideal self but knew that it is not who I am although I wished for the ideal self so badly that I identified with it and felt good if you saw me as it and felt bad if you did not see me as it. To avoid being seen as not the ideal self, as not good enough I avoided people and kept to me (hence I have traits of avoidant, dependent and obsessive-compulsive personalities…those are modern terms for what psychoanalysts used to call neurosis).

       One must, therefore, be grateful to the universe and all those who obstructed one and made one unable to actualize ones ideal self for they prevented one from becoming insane.

     Failure to attain the ideal self and its images of success is therefore a blessing in disguise for it makes one not become insane and speeds ones journey to living from ones real self.

       Clearly, ambition motivated by the pursuit of the ideal self gives one anxiety, fear and depression (and if one believes that one is the ideal self, delusion/paranoia).

        The good type of ambition is a wish to understand something. There are many things that we do not understand so if one went to school and calmly studied something with the goal of understanding it that is good ambition; in that case one tends to go about it calmly, not obsessive-compulsively, not as if one is driven and one’s life depends on it.

       In the good ambition one has already accepted who one is, one’s real self, but use that self to try to understand phenomena. And do so peacefully and happily.

        If one pursues pure understanding for the sake of it one does not feel fear, anxiety, depression, paranoia from not attaining ones goal; research and studying is seen as a play and one enjoys the play.

      If one is living from ones real self, not desiring to live from the imaginary ideal self, one’s mind is mostly empty; there are no ego derived concepts in it; however, if one needs to study about something one does  so and actually does a better  job of it rather than doing so from anxiety.

       If one’s mind is consistently calm, over a period of time, one begins to have what religionists call spiritual experiences (Christ vision/spiritual sight; that is seeing one’s self and other people in light forms, and sometimes not seeing people and things in forms but knowing that one and everything in the universe in essence is formless and eternal).

      A person at this stage is real self-realized and can teach about the real self, although he still cannot explain what is the real self; you cannot define life (or God, for life is God),  for to do so is to limit it.

       In oriental religious language, one is enlightened, and is now living from the light that is our real self, a light that is always within us as our real self; one is now illuminated to the light that we brought with us from our real home, which is unified light, to the world of separated ego selves, which is the world of separation hence the world of darkness.

     One’s interpersonal relationships is now characterized by peace and harmony for one is no longer comparing real people to imaginary ideal self, to how ones ego wishes that they should be or behave; one accepts people and their behaviors as they are without desiring for them to be this or that way.

     If you compare people to your imaginary ideal self and its imaginary perfect standards you will find them not good enough and criticize them for not being perfect; people do not like those who criticize them based on unrealistic, mentally constructed standards of beauty and behavior; people like those who accept them as they are without comparing them to imaginary standards or judging them as good or bad relative to imaginary standards.

       If you do not judge you and people as good or bad you tend to live in peace with them. You become a bringer of peace and joy to yourself and to those around you.

     If you judge people as good or bad you give them conflict and war and they hate you.


      One is real-self realized when one lives from ones real self; in religious categories the real self is the son of God, a part of the wholeness of life; the real self is, in Oriental terms, the Krishna self, the Buddha self; in Christian terms, the real self is the Christ; in Igbo religious categories the real self is the Chi self (one is living from Chi, the God in one, the light in one).

     A person who lives from his real self, that is, from what Joseph Campbell called the center of his being, is mostly peaceful and happy and full of laughter, for he sees our earthly behaviors as done in a dream hence not real and should not be taken seriously.

     Our real self is not our earthly ego selves housed in bodies but is part of the eternal and formless unified light that folks call God. That unified light (aka life) is peaceful and happy.

      If you are most of the time peaceful and happy you must be doing something right; inner conflict is sign that you are doing something wrong, you are trying to deviate from your real self in pursuit of an imaginary ideal self that your mind constructed and tells you that you should be him.

      You do not need to be like anything outside you, anything that your mind constructed; you need to look inside you and see the real you that is already always inside you.

     You did not construct your real self (it is beyond your experience in body and society; you, with the aid of all of us, constructed your ego self); it is part of our collective self; it is part of life and, if you are religious, it is part of God.


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