This week, during one of my yoga sessions, I realised that rather than growing into the spiritual life I have always sought, I am harbouring two different personalities within me. The conflict between these personalities holds me back and keeps my focus on my ego. It keeps me hovering around the idea of loneliness because it does not allow me to be completely satisfied in and with myself. I still feel a sense of isolation and a lack of consistency because I still look at myself in relation to others; to my family, to my friends, to those I interact with on daily basis.
“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give their separate names, identities, personalities, and have them relate to other characters living within.” —Mel Brooks
I used to think of myself as a single personality. I thought that I was who I was and that others needed to accept that. I had, however, the suspicion that all was not as it seemed. I rode the wave of life, and my approach shifted according to what was happening. That I found difficult. How could I deal with the fact that I was not always the same person?
I came to realise that what was happening was that I was many different people inside. I was not one person. There were other parts of me there. There was a dominant personality and many other personalities competing for attention. That internal battle could break out of me in reaction to random events.
Conflicting requirements, particularly from parents, create conflicting needs inside. I had conflicting directions and ideas of how I should be and what I should be. These built into conflicting and different personalities within. There were many different people within me; there were many different personalities. They showed themselves at different times as unpredictable, surprising and often awkward.
The essence of what I have been writing about in this book is the growing awareness of these personalities and my growing ability to re-align these personalities through the growth of my spiritual life. I have already talked about how I brought the different areas of my life together and opened myself up to an integrated view. I thought that together these two efforts had resolved the differences within me. But it seems not.
I seemed to have resolved myself into two distinct people that sit at opposite ends of my life. I have reduced myself to a simple conflict that I have yet to come to terms with. At heart these two personalities betray the conflict in my life that has been going on for as long as I remember, they explain many of the issues I have described hitherto in this book. I know that the final resolution into my spiritual life requires that I deal with these and integrate them. It is not a matter of one or the other its is a matter of bringing them happily together.
Once I do this all sense of alienation or isolation will disappear and my life will be settled. My task in finishing this book—there is one more chapter to go—is to complete this.
One personality is the one I have been seeking throughout my life, the one I have alluded to many times in tracing my journey. I see him as the end of the journey. I call him Sat Purusha.
He is the man that has been seeking a spiritual path, that saw that this could be a path early one. He is the man that is contained and orderly and who enjoys simplicity. I have recently discovered a deep desire for organisation and clarity that I associate with him. This has appeared at times in my life but has always been put down and suppressed. This is where the control becomes internal rather than external. It is not an obsessive desire to control my environment but a realisation that I can order things the way I would like rather than just accept what others want or do. It is important that this does not drift into controlling others, it is about me and how I relate to the world.
He is the man who likes simplicity and loves creativity. The simplicity is currently coming through letting go of so much that I do. I have always been drawn into doing things for other people, rather drawing myself into doing them. I have constantly been a leader or a co-ordinator, filling a need to open out how I am with others. The simple me does not need this, the simple me is happy in my own container. In myself I explore my creativity to see what It is suggesting to me. This creativity is not about what I do and show other people, it is about me and my role in the world, not in relation to others, but in my relation to my spiritual purpose.
At the moment I see the clarity of this personality. It is coming through in my struggle with food, drink and weight. He relishes his yoga practice and the desire to be fit and active. This is challenged by a love of food and drink, coming through the other personality. He is content to eat simply and drink rarely. He finds it difficult, though, to achieve this being subject to the other pressures that are there,
The other personality I call Graham Reid Phoenix, this is the one I am seeking to let go of, the one I want to see drift gently into the past. He is the man who has controlled much of my life and caused much of the chaos in my life. He is the one who is passionate and driven, he is the one who rushes through life leaving a mess behind him. He is the one who loves to eat and drink and celebrate all the time.
It is important to clarify that there is nothing wrong with this personality. He is a great person that people love and I enjoy. It is just that he is not really me. I developed this personality during my career to insulate myself from the fears I had about being inadequate. I was not inadequate, indeed I was far from it, but I was not ready to be self-contained in my career and my life. For that I needed to grow in strength and confidence. I am in that place now.
Graham has rampaged through the world leaving his mark behind him. He has, at times, achieved greatness and has, in some ways, loved doing it. Behind it, though, has been the anger and the domination that has coloured my life. It has been important for me to impose my will on those around me, as I was not willing to just let people be with me.
As I hinted above this clash of personalities has revealed itself in my inability to fully deal with the issue of my weight. I am heavy, not excessively so, but I need to lose some of it. In the last couple of years this need has come to the fore to deal with incipient Type 2 Diabetes. Weight and diet are the major issues in the advance of this disease. To stop its spread, and even reverse it I have needed to work on this. I have resolved how to do this and have created a lifestyle within which this can happen. The results, though are no long-lasting. Graham still breaks through to take on the world through excessive food and drink. I love Graham and he loves what he does, but I do not want to be him. I love Sat Purusha even more and I want my life to be his.
The resolution of this is not about will-power or control, it is not about denying myself or resisting what I want, it is about accepting and loving who I really am, it is about living honestly and completing the journey I have been on all my life. This excites me. This is my future.
In the last chapter, which I am about to start, this will be the life I explore. This will be about finally letting go of loneliness and the need to measure myself against others.
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—Photo Credit: Flickr/Calgary Reviews