Being Oneself

by Toni Packer

Toni PackerBeing oneself is utterly plain—no image in the brain of oneself! No idea about oneself! See images and ideas about myself for what they really are-fantasy, imagination, spin! They are not the real thing.

Being oneself is not a fantasy state—it happens spontaneously! No positive or negative image of “myself” is blocking or directing the brain, so all of a sudden there is a simple flow of freedom, by oneself or in relationship.

An unexpected affection is released in the absence of self-image. But if you think right now, “Oh, to be truly myself I have to be loving,” that’s not it. Because if you’re actually feeling angry this moment, then simply see and feel it honestly, clearly, and don’t pretend you are not.

So, while being angry with someone, does “being oneself” mean to express that anger at the person? That’s an important part of the question, isn’t it? If I feel very angry, I might think that expressing this anger is part of truly being myself! This is the way we often think about “being oneself.” It can become a satisfying justification for one’s changing moods and emotions: “This is just what I am—so why not show it clearly?”

But what I’m asking is, does anger need to be expressed at all when it arises? Or can there be a truly intelligent awaring, understanding that to vent anger right now would very likely not be helpful?

Not helpful. (There are cases when it may be helpful or even unavoidable, but we are not looking into those right now.) That can be discerned intelligently: is it helpful or not helpful to express anger this moment? There is nothing “wrong” with being angry and with expressing it. There may be good reasons for it. But right at the crucial moment, can it be clear that to throw one’s anger into the situation may not help but rather hinder? If that’s clear, then anger need not be expressed and yet it can be fully seen, felt inwardly, and understood without condemnation.

From the Springwater Center Newsletter.