We humans are in essence predominately creatures of the heart and not the head, intuition and not intellect, cooperative and not competitive. We have betrayed our true self by surrendering to the pattern of our instinctive, biology-driven behaviors. We cite our ability to reason as that which distinguishes us from the “lower” animals and yet we are far less successful at creating sustainable communities than animals are. The human false self engages in senseless, destructive violence, something animals do not do.
A disaster not unlike that which would be caused if the earth were struck by a large meteor is unfolding in a kind of slow-motion tableau. That meteor is the false self which struck the planet of human consciousness long ago. The collision was natural and subtle and most of us are unaware that it happened—but make no mistake—it happened.
For many centuries now we have been breathing in the toxic particles of that smothering dust. We fight back looking everywhere for the causes of our suffering projecting blame on a thousand imagined causes which have nothing to do with our choking paroxysm.
What would deliver that slap-in-the-face shock that will wake us up, that will reveal the Great Insight that would lift us above the polluted air of our own delusions into the fresh life-giving realization that we are not destined to perish? It won’t come from somewhere “out there” because nothing in the world of form has any substantial reality beyond that which we attribute to it. Nothing “out there” can harm us. Would it not be sad if we suffocated in a panic, gasping for air while fleeing the specter of our own delusional false self? Wouldn’t it be sad?
In 1862, Charles Dickens met one of his admirers, Fyofor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky revealed in a letter written years later “that all the good, simple people in his novels…are what he wanted to have been, and his villains were what he was (or rather, what he found in himself), his cruelty, his attacks of causeless enmity towards those who were helpless and looked to him for comfort, his shrinking from those whom he ought to love…. There are two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel, I try to live my life.”
Dickens revealed to Dostoyevsky the universal Jekyll and Hyde inner struggle, our disappointment in failing to choose response over reaction in our relationships. His false self was dominant in his life in part because he had a public persona to maintain. “It was as though with Dostoyevsky he could drop the appearance of perfect virtue he felt he had to keep up before the English public.”
References and notes are available for this article.
For a much more in-depth discussion on Simple Reality, read Simple Reality: The
Key to Serenity and Survival, by Roy Charles Henry, published in 2011.