THREE DAYS AGO, I put one of my poems on here, entitled “Today, I Bid myself Goodbye”. I then received a message saying: “Hey, Alan, are you depressed? Why would you want to say goodbye to yourself. That’s weird”. So I have written this article as a form of reply. Although I am grateful for this guy’s concern, I must say that I am not at all depressed. On the contrary! I can, however, understand why some may be unfamiliar with the idea of saying goodbye to one’s self. So this is a kind of commentary on the poem designed to show what I meant by it.
1. WHAT DOES “SAYING GOODBYE TO YOUR SELF” MEAN?
Firstly, I should say that saying goodbye to your self does *not* mean that there will be no ego whatsoever. One would cease to exist if that occurred! One does actually need some healthy aspects of ego purely in order to survive in this world. Neither is it a reference to any kind of suicide, which some might think on a superficial reading of the title.
So, saying goodbye to one’s self simply means that the ego — in all the fullness of its gaudy glory — no longer sits on the throne of your life like some autocratic king who always has to have his own way (and off with your head if he doesn’t!).
Saying goodbye to yourself means that your ego will no longer strive to push itself forward at every opportunity but instead is consistently prepared to give way in order to achieve the greatest good for all and everything. Someone who has said goodbye to self knows how to stand back. Standing back comes naturally to such a person. However, a “goodbyed” self will still also accept coming forward for leadership if it is requested by others to do so. For the goodbyed ego actually makes the perfect leader as the common snares of ego will not undermine the act of leadership, which must always be subtle, empathetic, magnanimous and ultimately seeking to make itself redundant through delegation and education.
And here is the essence: The one who has bid the self goodbye is no longer hardwired to seek only his or her own fulfilment at all costs. I believe that in the one who has committedly said goodbye to self, the very DNA will be changed so that a complete “rewiring” of the system has taken place. For, under the order of the old age, one has been hardwired to be a lusting, thrusting, hustling, acquisitive, accruing, entirely self-centred, conditioned creature; whereas, after one has committed to saying goodbye to one’s self, a completely new wiring system begins to be laid down. It is this radical rewiring which will set the stage for the coming age of the human experiment on earth.
So now I hear you say “But how can I rewire myself — say goodbye to my self? What can I practically do now to achieve that?”
2. WHAT ARE THE PRACTICAL WAYS TO “SAY GOODBYE TO ONE’S SELF”?
So how do we say goodbye to ourselves? Or, if I may put it this way, how can we prepare the ground of our lives so that a “goodbyed” self logically becomes inevitable? There are some people who will do this naturally. They have come to this earth already at least partially rewired and cannot feel comfortable acting through a false self which is subject to senseless whims and conditioned triggers. But for those who are starting to question deeply the basis of selfhood in this life, here are some practical ways to say goodbye to the troublemaking self:
i) See Through Your Self
The first practical way to say goodbye to your self is to commit to seeing through yourself completely. Get in the habit of catching yourself out in the way you act, react, behave, comport yourself and so on. Watch yourself out of the corner of your eye, as it were. If you are deadly serious, you will become increasingly skilled at doing so. *It cannot be stressed enough that it is impossible to say goodbye to one’s self without the development and implementation of acute self-awareness*. This is not identical to self-analysis, which is more of a hindsight intellectual activity. It is more about subtly but scintillatingly observing oneself in an ego-undermining manner — a process that takes place ‘on-the-fly’, every minute that we go about our business. It means calmly and quietly observing oneself objectively as one goes about one’s daily life interacting, thinking and being. This is not about self-obsession but about self-revelation. What one observes is not for broadcasting but strictly in order to catch oneself out and gain self-knowledge. It’s as if you are finding whatever it is about you which lies behind the you that you think you are and then observing your self through that purer filter.
This process of self-undermining will inevitably lead to epiphany. The more one practises it, one will find increasingly that one’s normal repertoire of stupidity is eradicated and consigned to the dustbin of history.
The second practical way to say goodbye to your self is this:
ii) Don’t Take Yourself so Seriously!
We tend to be so wrapped up in our own little lives and worlds that we take ourselves far too seriously. We make such a drama out of everything. We feel slighted when our egos aren’t being stroked or massaged. We become affronted if people don’t pay too much attention to us. We feel a failure if we get a low mark in an exercise. We feel peeved if people won’t behave as we want them to. We get ‘touchy’ if someone looks at us the wrong way. We get defensive and prickly if we sense someone is critical of us. We become exasperated if we don’t get our own way. We become crestfallen if we don’t get enough “likes” on Facebook on a picture of our lunches or faces. We get resentful if we perceive ourselves to have been “disrespected”. We feel indignant if the boss or our partner doesn’t compliment us constantly. We are offended if people make fun of us or insult us. We feel piqued if someone makes an uncomplimentary remark about our hairstyle or clothing. We go off in a huff or ‘go off the deep end’ at the least little thing. We let people and situations get to us in an entirely ludicrous manner. What a drama it all is! That is us taking ourselves far too seriously. Hey! Lighten up! Big-time!
The rewards of self-awareness and seeing through our selves (and thereby saying goodbye to our selves) begin when we are able to chuckle, or even outright guffaw, at the silliness of so many of our actions, sentiments and thinking processes. If we look at them objectively without the investment of a puffed-up ego, we will discover that most of our conditioned reflexes are actually side-splittingly hilarious! The Universe must so often be in stitches as we blunder around in our egocentric madness. Well, it’s about time we joined in the fun. 🙂 Doing so will bring immense rewards. Because when we stop taking our selves so seriously and start laughing at our behaviour and thoughts, we naturally begin to say goodbye to our selves.
Please bear in mind that the self which you are seeing through and laughing at, is not the true essence of you which lies behind the you who you think that you are. If you have said goodbye to that false self, then there is nothing that is a part of you which could ever be offended, upset or enraged. The self which is so prickly and easily offended is merely a conditioned set of ego-reflexes based on historical experiences (no doubt including some trauma) and accumulated perceived discourtesies. If we allow these to build up, then we start to take ourselves too seriously and those maladjusted circumstances and perceptions take root in us and become who we think we are. When we practise the art of not taking ourselves so seriously, we undermine these conditioned reflexes and they begin to dissolve.
iii) “Hang Loose” to People and Things
Another important way of saying goodbye to your self is to avoid being unhealthily attached to people and things. You will still love people and still kind of “own” things (in the sense that they are temporarily passing through your hands); but you will not be needily related to them.
One can still passionately love a person and be wonderfully involved with and committed to him or her yet, somehow, still hang loose — in the sense of not being utterly dependent on them. So many people think that their entire world will collapse without a certain someone in their lives. When one has said goodbye to one’s self, one may wistfully miss a person’s presence but one will not be devastated by their absence. The clingy, conditioned ego will have been loosened — a process which deepens exponentially the more one becomes aware of unhealthy attachments.
Moreover, when two people are together who have both said goodbye to themselves, the most exciting relationship can ensue. If only one of them has done so then any meaningful relationship will be impossible. But two together is a magic combination as the adventure is shared and they will be like mirrors reflecting each other in a fertile sea of empathy, support, fidelity, wonder and mutual adherence.
Similarly, with one’s material objects, one will not be overwhelmed by their loss. Through hanging loose, you will know what is your true relationship to material assets and this will ensure that you will not be devastated by their loss. Even if someone drives into that brand new Aston Martin which is parked outside your house, you will smile to yourself knowingly and say “Yep, figures”. For if we take pride in material assets and wealth and attach ourselves to them while professing to be spiritual and on the pathway of being self-goodbyed, there are lessons needing to be learned and the Universe has unstoppable ways of teaching them to us. Oh yes! 😉
So above are three major ways that we can begin to undermine our egos and say goodbye to our selves. Here are a couple of extra thoughts to close this section.
First, one doesn’t one day stand up and say in a dramatic flourish: “Goodbye, self!” and that’s that, done and dusted. Saying goodbye to oneself is primarily an interior process in which you create the right conditions through which you find that your self will naturally be “goodbyed”. That’s the only way I can put it. So saying goodbye to oneself isn’t the *end* of anything but, rather, a continuous beginning. It is not a complete act which is an end in itself. There is nothing self-contained about it. For it is merely one part of a vast process — a journey of self-awareness and self-discovery.
Second, saying goodbye to yourself doesn’t mean you won’t ever mess up. You will stumble. You will trip. You will stagger. And you will be rumbled. This is not a pathway for dilettantes but only for committed cosmonauts. Once one embarks on this goodbye-adventure one opens a Pandora’s Box of insights and while some may amuse or amaze, others will be temporarily uncomfortable. In fact, you may be taken into some darkest nights of the soul. The new-era journey which is being processed when one bids goodbye to one’s self is not ideally fitted for an old-era three-dimensional experience. Thus, one can find oneself in unexpectedly painful circumstances — physical, psychological or emotional as your new life tries to fit itself around your old. But, as you’ll read in more detail below, even your misfortunes will amuse you! 🙂 You will find them to be infinitely more rewarding than being comfortably numb!
We may think that we have achieved a measure of stability, only to be knocked for six and then realise that we have so much further to go in the process. It is rather like wandering across a vast mountain range. We reach the summit of one peak thinking we’ve “made it”. But there is never really any “making it”. There are many lesser “making-its” but not a “finally-made-it”. One never arrives. For as soon as we reach that one summit, we see stretched ahead of us a myriad other summits waiting to be climbed on the way to our everlasting destination. We soon realise that the summit we find ourselves on is only one peak experience of many!
3. WHAT IS THE OUTCOME OF “SAYING GOODBYE TO ONE’S SELF”?
This is a process which is totally transformative of life and outlook. So the results are plentiful. To say goodbye to one’s self — even just to begin the process by laying down the ground — is life-changing. It can also be a real roller coaster! I mean like shake, rattle and roll! Everything one thinks and believes (if we allow this process to unfold fully) will be challenged. But, at the same time, there is a highly beneficial fallout. Here is what that beneficial fallout consists of:
i) YOU WILL NO LONGER FEEL THE NEED TO PRACTISE ONEUPMANSHIP. You will be happy to see others do better than you and excel — especially in those areas in which you work or move. You will feel genuinely pleased for them. You will never seek to “outdo” anyone or be in competition with them. You will be happy to give way and see others shine. In fact, nothing will give you more pleasure than to see that.
ii) YOU WILL NO LONGER BE OFFENDED BY ANYTHING OR ANYONE. The reason is because there is nothing (or no silly self) in you to get offended. Only the false ego-self gets offended and as that self is of no consequence in the healthy person’s life, no offence can ever be taken! You will also no longer feel “slighted” by anyone. The reason is because you are already “slight” in your own eyes so there is nothing in you which can ever feel slighted or which needs to “big itself up”! Neither could you ever feel affronted, peeved, defensive, testy, prickly, exasperated, crestfallen, indignant, resentful, piqued or go off in a huff, or off the deep end. All of that drama will be completely redundant. When the false self has been slain, there is nothing there that can get one’s knickers in a twist anymore. That is freedom!
iii) YOU WILL BE AMUSED BY YOUR MISFORTUNES. If any misfortune befalls you, it will become a source of bemused amusement rather than stress or depression — merely an interesting challenge rather than a flummoxing problem. If something seemingly “bad” happens to you (especially if it is seemingly “by chance”), it will not fell you. It will not give you endless sleepless nights. It will not knock you for six. Instead, it will actually amuse you. You will sometimes find yourself chuckling out loud at the strange beauty of adversity. People will notice you “sharing a little joke with the world somehow”. You will come to appreciate poetic justice. You will see how there are lessons in everything and the first thing you will do when adversity strikes is look for those lessons. “What am I supposed to learn from this?” will be your first thought when anything apparently challenging occurs.
Obviously, I am not speaking here about having no feelings about some major catastrophe such as the bereavement of a loved one or other major loss. However, one will not be thrown in the same kind of way as one previously would. One will handle it completely differently. One will not indulge in feeling sorry for oneself (for there is no self for which to feel sorry) or being utterly lost in the mire of grief. In the meantime, countless little misfortunes will have you laughing, smirking and grinning your way through the wilderness of this world.
iv) YOU WILL NOT REPEAT ACTS OF STUPIDITY. Those who have said goodbye to their selves may stumble from time to time (and, being aware of it, quickly rectify the aberration) but they will not become involved in stupid cycles of repeated bad choice, in which they make the same mistake over and over again. The one with the ‘goodbyed self’ is a great, quick and willing learner. If, through watching oneself, one spots a certain pattern, that pattern will inevitably be broken through the vivid epiphany which accompanies the observation.
v) YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WILL BE HUGELY IMPROVED. When two people with goodbyed selves come together, the effect is explosive. Imagine two people sharing lives who each put the other before themselves — where no games are played — where there is no competition (always a passion-killer) — where there is only ever honesty and heart-talk — where defensiveness is a non-issue (and unnecessary anyway) — where one never has to hide vulnerability or weakness, which is never exploited but always cradled and bolstered — where mutual admiration never wanes — where there are surprises every day — where there is almost a twin-like camaraderie. That is what happens — what has to happen and what I believe is only possible when both parties are saying goodbye to their respective selves.
vi) YOU WILL BE COUNTERACTING THE MASSIVE OUTBURST OF NARCISSISM AND “ME-NESS” ON THIS PLANET. When you say goodbye to your self, you are being an avatar (forerunner) of the age which is yet to come. This is a most important function. For by your actions you are contributing to the build-up of goodwill in the planetary sphere and providing a conduit for virtue and angelic dynamism. This is what is keeping this planet from falling apart at the present time as an unprecedented wave of narcissism in the human field feeds on — and gives opportunity to — dark forces on earth. Saying goodbye to one’s self is the only action which can have a neutralising effect on that narcissism, so that one becomes a true human of the new age in the midst of the crumbling, dying age of old.
Speaking of angelic dynamism, it is worth noting that when we start to walk on this pathway, there will quickly come a point when we will discover that we are not alone — that there are invisible hands guiding us and assisting our efforts. But we have to make the first steps ourselves out of our own free will. Then help will come. Without fail.
That aspect of individual freewill is important. For it is imperative to build our life-philosophy out of our own personal experience and not as a carbon-copy of someone else’s beliefs or books of ideas. I want you to know that I am not merely parroting here what I have read in a book. From the point of view of individual freewill, this is important to stress. In fact, I have never read any books about this subject, though there will no doubt be those which handle it. A while ago, I had to go right back to an empty drawing board with regard to my understanding of life and self — thought and belief. What I am writing here is purely what I have gleaned from my own life experience and I am simply passing it on, in both poem and prose.
I do, however, recall reading some decades ago some words of a teacher from two millennia ago who was called Joshua ben Yitzhak (commonly known now by the Greekish modification, Jesus Christ). He said: “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. Stripping this of any religious connotations — for he never came to start a religion or mass following (as subsequently happened, to the detriment of his teaching) but to bring to the world a great deal of wisdom for and about the age to come — we can see that it is a pure teaching about saying goodbye to one’s self. “Let him deny himself”. When he says “to come after me” and “for my sake”, he means following in the cause of truth and light, which he came to emanate into the world. He was not building a cult of the personality but, as a Master, was showing the extraordinary paradox that the more we cling onto our egos in this world the more they will dissolve, for it is the false self to which we are clinging. The more we cling onto it the bigger a false self there is to dissolve. But…“whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. This is simply saying exactly what this little article is about. To lose your life in this context means to eschew the self you think you have in this world and, in doing so, you find your true self — that essence of who we really are behind the veil of who we imagine ourselves to be. When he says “for my sake”, he means for the sake of everything of which he was the earthly manifestation — truth, light, justice, peace, transparency. Notice also that he says “and take up his cross”. This is most important. It harks back to what I said earlier about this goodbye-self path not being for dilettantes. When we start to make a stand for truth in our lives and in this world — goodbying our selves and seeking the light — there is a price to be paid. We have to be prepared for that and also willing to pay it. The truly seeking soul will be willing to pay anything for it. For although there will not be a life of ease but there will be one of spiritual reward (which brings its own ease — one infinitely deeper and more enriching than any worldly ease). This wisdom made a deep impression on me when I first read it all those years ago. As life passed by I began increasingly to understand its real significance and to ponder how I could uniquely apply it in my own pathway.
I stress again that it is so important to be original rather than a clone or guru-groupie when it comes to these radical ideas about the true and false self. Obviously, other people’s worthy thinking or positive life-actions can help to stimulate our own thought-processes and give us ideas and encouragement for our own action-pathway. But each of our pathways is unique. To live our lives solely on the basis of someone else’s ideas by making them into our own without any deep thought regarding their application in our unique situations turns us into second-hand people. So many merely parrot the latest self-help book they’ve read and think they are “enlightened”. But this is merely feeding the ego’s pretence of growth under the disguise of some bogus development.
So, by all means, take these words I have written here and allow them to encourage you and inspire you on your own pathway, in whichever direction you may take it. But please don’t — without serious meditation on your own unique pathway — try to make these words, or anyone else’s, into your own experience. They aren’t.
In closing, I hope, if you have not done so already, that you too will feel moved to bid yourself goodbye — to die to your self, deny your self — and to become what I can only term as a genetically-modified member of the new humanity. When all is said and done, we will all one day awaken from this ever-so-fleeting dream to another reality. Better to be able to think back (if that was possible, though I’m speaking in 3-D terms) and know that one didn’t waste any time on an over-developed sense of corrupted and ultimately doomed selfhood.
© Alan Morrison, 2015