Self vs selves – Multiple Encounters

;A group process that will facilitate witnessing multiple selves in action and as the layers unfold – gradually moving to an inner stillness, A stillness that will help you get in touch with the inner intelligence, untouched by memory’



“I walk across an ice-cream shop after a full meal. I would have taken many resolutions that I will not eat ice-creams after a full mean as it shoots my sugar levels up. Yet I end up with a double scoop. “

“I decide that I will be more friendly with my teenage son. I have done lot of reflection on how I was as a teenager. Yet, when he throws his shoes of into a corner and not keep them in the shoe rack as agreed, I experience anger bolting from my chest.”

What happens really in the above two situations and many such situations in real life?

I want to be and act in way that is appropriate, yet I act differently, as though I am programmed!

How do such actions and emotions impact our life and what is the way out?


Processing such situations by playing it out in a contained space, creates a world of change in our life; as such instances are only symptoms of a deeper belief system and emotional entanglement.

Maharishi Patanjali sums up yoga as ‘Restraint of the activities/modifications of the mind’

‘Vritti’ is modification of mind stuff; which means that if mind is a material as a whole, the stuff with which it is made of gets modified. If you imagine mind as a pair of spectacles, the lens can be considered as mind stuff and this lens gets modified; if the lens gets modified, we don’t see what is actually present. This modification can be called as ‘Vritti’.

Each Vritti behaves as though it were an individual self; this plays out unconsciously from memory which is also a type of ‘Vritti’.

‘If you come as person I can liberate you instantly, but you come as groups (many selves within one self)’ so said an enlightened being.

It means that though each of us have one physical body and though each of us consider that each of us have one self, each hold many selves in the one-self encased in our mind. These selves show up consistently yet unconsciously. This is experienced in real life situations:

“I need to complete this paper work today, yet the thought of it brings out laziness in me.”

“I need to skip that extra dessert, yet I fall for the desire to later wonder why.”

“I need to keep my child off television, yet guilt catches up and give in to her demands.”

“I need to do the yoga practice in the morning, yet to move out of bed is so difficult.”

“I don’t want to browse for extended hours, but for this chat…ending up with one more hour of browsing…”

A part of us wants to act appropriately, yet we end up doing otherwise,

The seeds for these are sown at an early age from the time we were born and maybe even before. These karmic seeds show up even after many years of practice.

An example:

A seven-year-old girl wants to play after school hours. Parents give her permission till 6 PM. She feels restricted. Anger at parents could make her decide that I will never do what you say after I grow up. Yet She complies as a child as she is dependant.

She develops two selves here.

One that complies to rules and force to get what is required

One that rebels against this restriction and also not doing to get what is required to do.

This gets into a second layer, when the same parent gives her the food and sweet that she likes; also showers love on her when her daughter does the things she loves.

She has both love, hate, anger relationship with her parents.


This plays out later in career and family life.

With her daughter, it shows up with a similar love hate relationship. She allows her daughter to play more often. She showers love on her daughter when she complies to her. When her daughter doesn’t meet her expectations, she may scold her daughter and later wonder why she did it.

With her own physical fitness schedule, she may want to follow a discipline to be energetic and healthy. Yet she may binge and later wonder why. In this case the self that wants to follow the discipline of appropriate food and exercise is counter by the rebel self in her that rebelled against the restrictions of her parents. She ends up confused as a grown up, wondering, why do I binge compulsively.

Internally tired doing things what others like to get love, she expects her partner to shower love on her even if she doesn’t comply to certain agreed upon actions. She may also test his by intentionally doing the opposite of what was agreed.

The seven-year-old child is still seeking salvation as it hears the voice that wants to follow discipline as mother. It wants to show to her mother that she is free to do what she wants. Unfortunately, mother is not here now physically but its in her own head.

As you read this can you make note of the following:

What are the patterns that happen in my life that restrict me from living life fully now?

What is the compulsive behaviour or habit that I have wanted to come out of, but yet not being able to?

If I ask you to describe the life of your choice and describe five actions that stop you from being that, and five actions that will help you get there, what would they be?

What is your long time longing, on achieving which, you will live more happily today?


Imagine a calm pristine lake. There are no waves. When a stone falls on it ripples are created. If the whole lake is calm, then the ripples dissolve soon, the lake comes back to its original state. But if there are many ripples and the if the lake creates a counter ripple to the ripple created by the stone, then it acts as a cyclic self-perpetuating  ‘cause-effect’ process. More and more ripples – More disturbance.

Same happens to mind. When I encounter someone in the environment, I get an emotion from the person. I create another counter it. This kick starts a self- perpetuating wave pattern. These wave pattern behaves as individual entities – multiple selves. We have many such selves that program us to give fixed reaction to the same response again and again but expecting different results.

Emotions is the basis of being alive. Emotion helps us sense what happens. Yet, I wonder how I live with it as it takes over me unconsciously.

What do we do with these emotions?

The more I try to control, more intense it becomes, and I lose myself in it.

What is the way out?

Vedanta shows the way.

The first step is, “Right perception” – experiencing ‘what is, as it is’

One tool for that is ‘Sakshi- Bhav’ – being a witness.

The group process will facilitate playing out the real-life situations with the help of group; witnessing multiple selves in action and as the layers unfold; one experiences Stillness of the mind. A stillness that helps you get in touch with the inner intelligence – to access that part of mind that is untouched by memory.

More about stillness and what is Sakshi Bhav, how do we apply it? the next blog – Monday



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