How DO I represent myself to myself???

Have you ever heard someone say "That's not WHO I AM!"? Have you ever said it, or thought it, yourself? What exactly did you mean? How exactly do you know who you are? This is, of course, a question for the ages. A too rigid sense of self and you're boxing yourself in and preventing growth. A loss of the sense of self, on the other hand, is a major factor in depression, burn-out and some even heftier disturbances.

In ancient Greece "KNOW THYSELF", γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnóthi seautón) was a major goal in philosophy and self-development. 

But how do we represent that to ourselves?

Obviously, this representation partakes of the visual, the auditory and the sensory. In other words, that sense of *I* is some combinations of pictures, sounds and feelings. I know in the auditory, sound representation, it very often happens that people are shocked by how their voices sound on a recorded message. This is because we hear ourselves differently than others hear us. This is at once a profound and a mundane statement. Acoustically, we hear our own voices through our bones and resonance cavities. These filter and strengthen the frequencies in very different ways than the air around us. So our voices sound foreign to us on a tape. Same sounds. Different perceptions.

This also occurs visually, with inner pictures and sensorily, with our feelings. So our perception of our voice, to continue with that example, and the voices of others, is a construction of our brain. How we "filter" is how we "are". This may be a shock at first. But once you've gotten used to the fact that your sense of yourself is a construct, it becomes good news. It means we can alter and optimize our own inner representation.

One of the best ways I know to optimize our sense of self is using the model of "Archetypes". An archetype, to put it very simply, is an inner representation of one of our real, personal needs. Do they "REALLY" exist? Don't really know. Some say 'yes'. Some say 'no'. To be a bit provokative, let me ask some rhetorical questions: Do the folders on your computer desktop REALLY exist? When you drag and drop a file into one of these folders, is it REALLY going into a 'folder'? Dragging a file into a folder on your computer initiates a very complex series of machine language procedures that only programmers and hackers really understand. For the rest of us, it's a very useful and very creative user interface. Just so with Archetypes. There are some very complex biological, psychological, energetic procedures going on in our brains and bodies that these archetypes not only represent, but regulate. 

You've heard of the 'placebo effect'? How exactly does that work? Something ineffable about what we anticipate and believe will happen actually effects our biology and nervous system. This is one of a great many examples of how our inner, 'mental' life affects our health, our genes, our attitudes and our internal states. Archetypes have the same 'complexity reduction' effects. 

Access to YOUR archetypes occur every night in your dreams. Making these conscious increases not only the effect, but also the ability to regulate it. So if you can come in symbolic, archetypal contact with your inner "child", your inner "warrior" or your inner "critic" and carry on a productive dialogue, you are effectively regulating your biology. For the 'left-hemispheric', more practical natures among us, who have never done this, it may sound kind of silly. For those of us who do it regularly, it has great power. The systems and models which present different archetypal figures (Tarot, Mythology, Yoga Chakras, Talmud, Enneagram and ASTROLOGY, to name but a few) do often seem to invite us to believe that these symbols are somehow "real" or that we REALLY need to believe in them. We do not need to accept this invitation, even though others might. We can use these collective symbols, along with the personal symbols that our dreams present, to effectively modify, codify and optimize our sense of self. We all do this, more or less, faster or slower, ourselves. Often we encounter impediments along this road to maturity. This is where 'coaching' comes in. A coaching using astrological archetypes, or tarot, or human design or any combination of these models, speeds you on your way your desired personal development. 

The sense of coming into contact with your own inner 'control panel' for your feelings is the GNÓTHI SEAUTÓN, the KNOW THYSELF, mentioned above. The ability to stay centered when everyone around you is flaming out is one of the great gifts of this kind of coaching. Allowing yourself to feel sad, as is appropriate, or to experience ecstasy, joy, thankfulness independent of outer circumstances is another.

Learning to take responsibility for your own needs through the astrological archetypes is the definition of "La Dolce Vita", THE GOOD LIFE!

                                                                      Evan Bortnick     
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