Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? â€“ Morpheus, The Matrix
How do you know that what you are experiencing moment to moment is actually real and not just a complex construct of your mind?
There is a thought in therapeutic community that we are not who we think we are and that we are all living in a massive trance state with only rare moments of being truly awake.
The theory goes that the problems you have, or think you have, are always about yourself.Â You become the object of our problems. But in order to be the object, you have to be something; and that something is always an idea or a set of ideas.Â The idea is only a suggestion of who you are, but it is not you.
For example you might look in the mirror and say I am fat, or I am not handsome enough, or host of other you might say about yourself.Â In order for you to say you are fat, you must have in your mind a self-image of what you imagine you should like, an ideal self.Â When this ideal self doesnâ€™t match what you see in the mirror, then feelings of unhappiness or discontent follow.Â Basically what you have done is tied your identity to the problem.
To liberate your identity from the problem ask yourself, â€œWho is the â€˜Iâ€™ that is fat?â€? The â€˜Iâ€™ or imagined ideal self is an illusion born of a myriad of personal, social, religious, and cultural influences.Â You could, in theory, walk away from the illusion.Â But then who would you be?
You can find out through a process of self-inquiry.Â And a great place to start is by asking your self the question, â€œWho am I?â€?
What you will eventual find is that who you really are cannot be comprehended by thought.