Am I Thinking For Myself?

Once you seriously ask, ďAm I thinking for myself?Ē the entire hierarchy of identity starts to unravel. If you keep asking without being daunted, eventually you get closer to the core. This is the final level of false identity.

Am I thinking for myself? Or am I thinking like: The person I was yesterday; the person I wish I could be; an ideal image of myself, a nobody trying to be a somebody.

We put on these layers of false identity in order to be separate from everybody else, to feel unique and special. Yet at the same time we know that separation is the problem. Common humanity is beyond self-image. Itís beyond the issue of whether you are a somebody or a nobody.

If you follow the way of peace you donít try so desperately not to be a nobody. Those distinctions stop having power over you, because you turn into something different. Instead of a label, you become human. Instead of ďI am X,Ē you become ďI am.Ē The healing of separation is the beginning of true knowledge.

This transformation isnít mystical. If I confront the first layer of false identity, I simply catch myself thinking like a type. I pay attention to my reactions when I start sounding too much like a typical Indian, a typical doctor, a typical middle-aged male. Having caught myself, I stop. Just that.

I can then proceed a bit deeper. I catch myself whenever I am talking so that someone else will like me better. If my words are a disguised way of saying, Love me, accept me, respect me, I stop. Thereís nothing mystical in that act. Instead of talking, I listen. Instead of serving my own self-interest, I think about what everyone wants, or what is moral and good despite what everyone wants.

Finally, if I am thoroughly honest, I get to the deepest level. If I catch myself talking for the sake of my ego, I stop. Again, it all starts with the thought, This isnít the real me.

Adapted from: Peace Is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2005).

82 comments

Dot A.
Dot A3 years ago

way
truth
&
light

the i am

is love
always

believe

love lives

all else falls
away

Lynn D.
Lynn D3 years ago

Thanks, I start each day with a new me....

Karen R.
Karen R3 years ago

a good question to ask yourself! "Am I thinking for myself?"

Anne Moran
Anne Moran3 years ago

WHERE DOES MR CHOPRA GET THIS STUFF ?? I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A '' NOBODY ''.. IN GOD'S EYES WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFULLY-MADE '' SOMEBODIES ''... THIS WRITER IS A REAL ''DOWNER''...

Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider3 years ago

To think for ourselves is difficult for many and to think at all is impossible for most.
This article is about seperating who we truly are from what we think our identity is.
I think that journey requires a process of unthinking.

Charlotte A.
Charlotte A3 years ago

Good reminder. Thanks.

Deborah F.
Deborah F3 years ago

After my divorce, a very wise older man taught me how to take the responsibility of thinking for myself. It was difficult as I had been married for 25 years and never lived alone. I never realized that I was NOT thinking for myself. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see what it a plain and obvious truth to others.

Victoria McFarlane
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks.

Alberta Gentleman

Very good article. thank you.

Becky Y.
Rebecca Y3 years ago

I dated a very nice man a long time ago who told me he belonged to a non-traditional church and asked if that would bother me. I said no, as long as it didn't rule his every thought or control him. He told me he definitely thought for himself and if I ever thought he wasn't, I should tell him. As our relationship progressed, I learned that he had been engaged to be married. He had been with his fiance 5 years and she had moved to California to be with him so they could be married but the leader of his church had asked her to do something that she refused to do and she had broken off the engagement and moved back to New York! I asked him what the leader had asked and he said he wasn't allowed to tell me. I said, introduce me to your leader and I will ask him myself and he said he couldn't do that either. There were several discussions about this non-traditional church and I told him it sounded like he had been brainwashed and he was no longer thinking for himself. I broke up with him. He was sad but he wasn't willing to think things through for himself. He lost a wonderful fiance because of his inability to think for himself. It is possible to be brainwashed by cults, by religion and by leaders who profess to have all the answers. We must all remember that a brain, a mind, a soul, is a terrible thing to waste.