This is something that has perplexed me since childhood.
I’d keep hearing slogans like ‘be yourself’, ‘love yourself, ‘believe in yourself’, and so on.
I used to wonder, what is this self that they are referring to, while pointing at me.
Where is this self? What is it?
Is it my image of their idea of what I am, what I should be, or what I think they want me to be?
Is it my own image of what I am independent of them being around me?
But generally my own image of what I am, is heavily and actively conditioned/influenced by who is around me (in silent or talking level interaction with me) and the larger surroundings in that place.
Even if nobody is around me, my self is some sort of a more diffused response to the environment around me.
My general personality/disposition/investments/ways of thinking-perceiving-feeling etc. are part nature and part nurture.
I can recall an active self forming at the age of 6, then a more developed one at 11, and I think after the age of 28 it seems to have stabilized itself.
But what was that active self that first formed? What existed before the age 6?
It feels like I just emerged from a bunch of situations throughout early childhood.
Ok, then was I born a clean slate? – I don’t relate with that too.
I have no continuous memories of anything below the age 4-5, but I intuit I could have already had a seed with its potentials/proclivities/tendencies/patterns (what they call samkharas and vasanas in vedic literature).
So maybe the selves that formed through 6, 11, 20, 24, 28 etc. were different milestones where a distinctive evolving pattern emerged in my vibrating sands (like the sand patterns in Cymatics as the frequency is raised).
So my deeper self then could be my bio-memory embedded in the whole body (in its trillions of cells)? – Coming from my forefathers, ancestry, genetics, lineage.
That genetics could have passed on its own fantasies, ideals, projects, works, characteristics, goals, preoccupations etc. that I identify with or dis-identify with depending on my own past lives?
In my own past lives, again the same situation might have been there, of genetics, upbringing, conditioning, social environment (the yuga at that time) and its influence etc.
So it sort of loops on itself. When did it all start?
The dilemma is like, when you are a tree, you search for your source.
You find out, you grew from a seed.
But a seed cannot grow without the fertile ground.
So the ground is also responsible for the tree.
But that seed itself has come from a previous full grown tree (the past life), and so on.
It goes into an infinite regress loop.
My whole quest to find an independent self eludes me.
I just cannot grasp a ‘me’ that exists independently.
From my contemplation, I see none of any of this is me.
Because if I can perceive it as an object,
Then the me must be separate from the object right?!
The deeper I contemplate this, I realize that what I am is transcendent of language itself.
It is a transcendent dimension, what they call consciousness.