Our temperament, personality and specific quirks have been used to describe ever deepening layers of our unique self.
When we look yet more deeply, we see that what we have taken ourselves to be is composed of constructed images and concepts that are remembered and organised over time. These accumulated constructs became lenses through which we view ourselves and reality.
When we see through these constructs we recognise that they are not true and not real. We become free of them and can recognise their inherent emptiness.
Many of us are aware of a deep inner restlessness, which we may feel as a sense that something is missing in us, although it is usually difficult to define exactly what it is.
We have all sorts of notions about what we think we need or want—a better relationship, a better job, a better physique, a better car, and on and on. We believe that if we acquire that perfect relationship, or job, or new “toy,” the restlessness will go away, and we will feel satisfied and complete.
But experience teaches us that the new car makes us feel better for only a short time.
The new relationship may be wonderful, but it never quite fulfils us in the way we thought it would.
So what are we really looking for?
If we reflect for a moment, we may realize that what our hearts yearn for is to know who we are and why we are here.
Little in our culture encourages us to look for answers to these important questions. We have been taught that the quality of our life will improve primarily if our external fortunes improve. Sooner or later, however, we realize that external things, while valuable in themselves, cannot address the deep restlessness of our soul.
We understand that our ego, try as it might, cannot fulfil our Basic Desire. For this, we must turn to our Essence—the ground of our being. Although most of us have had some profound experiences of the deep satisfactions of our Essential nature, it usually takes many such experiences to convince the ego of the ultimate bankruptcy of its projects.
Part of the problem is that once we have identified with our ego-consciousness, it is difficult for us to imagine any alternative; even though it brings no relief and causes us to behave in ways that hurt ourselves and others.
The goal is to transcend the limited belief in a separate self, the so-called ego and in so doing become increasingly aware of our real Self. Therein lies freedom and exquisite healing.