train of thought


By Ruth Lera


“Self-reflection is how we can transform society. Transforming society happens one person at a time, by our willingness to be kind to ourselves, and our willingness to be kind to one another.”

   -Sakyong Mipham-

This has been one of my favorite quotes for many years now.

This concept—that our personal self-awareness process is essential to our personal growth and that our willingness to transform our inner war to a place of inner peace for the benefit of the entire planet—is one of the most useful things we can do as a human individual. It has been my guiding philosophy for almost the past decade.

But lately I am seeing that there is one real pitfall to the self-awareness process that we all need to be aware of, and that is when one takes the whole self-awareness process too seriously.

Because when we hold on and grasp tightly to the findings of our self-awareness process, we might start to believe we are the self we are becoming aware of.

You see more and more I am realizing that all I am is a soul wearing the clothes of a person named Ruth. That my thoughts, feelings, temperament, personality, body etc., are just temporary clothes on a very old soul and that they really don’t matter very much.

I mean we need to use them (in the case of my personality and thoughts) and we need to take care of them (in terms of my body and feelings), but what we don’t need to do is identify with them.

One way to avoid this identification process is to steer clear of the words I AM.

As in: I am a messy person, a quiet person, a disorganized person, a blah blah blah person.

When we use the words I am, we are kind of back stepping on all the hard work we have done. I am so inspired that so many people are taking deep, hard, courageous looks at themselves.

People are investigating where they are happy and where they want to improve and what is their nature and what is their nurture but then what we all often do is harden the results of these investigations into a deciding that what we are noticing about ourselves is all we will ever be because that is just the way we are.

But instead of hardening our self-awareness observations into a sense of identity, we can instead make a different choice. We can choose to stay lighter, more playful and more curious with our self-awareness process.

We can tap lightly on our observations of self and let them swirl around in our awareness, like a dandelion seed in the wind.

We can just let awareness itself blow our self-awareness in whatever direction it needs to go without putting on artificial brakes and freezing our self-awareness epiphanies into a hard and fast rule for our life by slapping I am on the front of them.

Self-awareness is about setting the intention for our soul growth and for self-love. It is for being of use on the planet for the greater good and then just noticing and softening and noticing and softening some more, and letting the current move through us knowing that what we are being aware of is the most impermanent energy in the universe. That it will pass too, and isn’t that great because now there will be room for some new energy to manifest.

So, let’s drop the I am’s and soften into whatever just is.

Let our gaze soften around our own self-awareness process until it all becomes so fuzzy that all we see is I am you and you are me and everything is so fluid and interconnected that we couldn’t even imagine making a statement like I am if we wanted to.


ruthleraRuth Lera is the friend you turn to when your world has gone all topsy-turvy. Not because she tells you it’s all going to be alright but because she reassures you that not being alright is just part of the whole process of being human. And she might even give you some ideas about how to feel better, too. Find her at her website, her Facebook page or Twitter.


Photo: ethiopienne/tumblr

Editor: Dana Gornall



Follow me
Latest posts by Ruth Lera (see all)