'I am not this but I will be that. I am not good but I will be better.' A personal reflection on becoming

I’d spent so much of my life wanting to become something! I think I can narrow a major beginning of it in my life to around age 12, when another kid said he was much more into the outdoors than me. I always found my greatest enjoyment (and still do) outdoors deep in the woods or by the water.

We’d been enjoying a beautiful day playing outside and it was getting dark. Talking about how great the woods were that day, my friend made it clear he appreciated nature more than me because his father owned a tackle shop and guide service. But I love the outdoors I thought with an ashamed, intense jealousy as my friend one upped me with stories of pursuing big game fish on his fathers boat. My family had no boat. I couldn’t measure up in my mind as my world seemed to crumble around me; it hurt to be exposed as nothing.

Running into the backyard right after I remember a change in the air, a change in my breathing, a change in my brain cells? I felt I had to do something to prevent this sort of hurt again. It was time I grew up and became someone. I think I can delineate this as a beginning of idealization to a new degree and overpowering importance in my life. Time to say who and what you are in definite terms. Thats what grownup people have to do, I thought

I had an image about what a consummate outdoorsman was and I spent several years pursuing it. I bought books on tying flies and trapping game that I’d never use. Years went by and the direction changed (now a vegetarian) but the process of thought in time continued. The alternative was only flippancy, childlike behavior, hurt? Or so I’d believed.

The hurt kept coming and the idealization away from it did too. At age 13-15 I was sure I would become a professional skateboarder. From 20-27 I was sure I could become a professional musician (turns out I don’t like that much attention on me). Very recently I’d wanted to become a writer. At every age the ideal provided a crutch to face the world, a callousness to meet the hardest parts of it.

Instead of being helpful, I believe it led to an inability to deal with many actual pressing problems. With all my attention on becoming someone who didn’t have to deal with those problems, I was left me with no room to look at them.

I have to say I don’t think this does anything to negate useful goal setting, striving for achievement but only in the psychological sense of an arrival. It seems to run like wildfire through the mind when bought into an not questioned. When the arrival isn’t coming we have a multitude of escapes lined up to glide ourselves into the finish line, or so we think.

From that day outside at 12 years old forward I continued trying to become something or another, which I’d only very recently questioned. Facing facts, watching the way thought works in time through becoming seems very important to me now.

I wrote this for reddit last year and decided to work on it more and post here.


I sometimes wonder whether complete and utter failure is necessary. Necessary in the sense of creating total freedom from all the stories that drive us.

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I studied Daoism before I got into K, and questioning what’s known about success/failure, lose/win was helpful I think.

K says that some individuals can’t be conditioned, but for the rest (99.999%?) of us maybe it is necessary. If everything is working out for me (as the story gives some hints was not the case) why would I question the program?

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There is failure too in the story of Buddha. His father provides Gautama with everything needed to become a great leader. This fails. Gautama then does everything the gurus teach by renouncing the world (including Netflix) - this too fails.
He is then left with no guidance whatsoever, sitting alone beneath his tree.
Until he sees the mornng star. The morning star which symbolises the furthest reaches of this universe.

K speaks of the difference between noticing things and awareness of the whole space. Like when we walk into the royal opera house, theres a difference between an awareness of that whole space and noticing who’s looking at me, noticing where the free champagne is etc.

…without wi-fi…

K speaks of the difference between noticing things and awareness of the whole space.

The “whole space” being the totality of awareness.

The self-centered brain is less interested in the whole than in the part (its self), so attention is drawn by what serves/threatens its self.

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Maybe what is necessary is any complete and utter experience.

The self-centered brain with its psychological content is confused and conflicted by the incoherence of awareness and beliefs. It is caught between choiceless awareness and what its chosen beliefs compel it to conclude.

Maybe utter and complete are just thought-devised concepts, stories of transcendence.

Does the self centered brain have anything to do at all with choiceless awareness? Caught in between, or totally turned away from?

Edit: I was just reading some more about experience… is any experience complete? Experience means recognition does this come with the new?

Experience and reality are intertwined - practically synonyms

So when (or if) I am freed from the stories driving the story of self via the experience of complete failure - the completeness and the failure are what I experience - this is my reality - any ideas that they are not fundamentally real, and thus not to be taken seriously must be put aside - fundamental reality is a goal for theoretical physicists or philosophers. My reality is what drives me.

What is your goal?

Exposing the processes that drive self. The psychological processes that lead to suffering in the world.
In the hope that we care enough (and I reckon this is a possibility as social animals) that seeing the cause of suffering will result in an automatic action of recoil from the movement of self.

Am I right assuming you have come to the conclusion that self is responsible for suffering?

I is who/what thought says I is, which means I is a mechanical process based on knowledge, belief, the past. Without identifying with thought, all one knows about oneself is how one feels from moment to moment, and what one does in response.

Can identifying with this mechanical process bring anything but suffering to the identifying animal?

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Is self a complete illusion or is it an illusion in how we normally concieve it, as someone seperate thought?

Identifying with our sense of self brings a vast palette of emotions, suffering is just one of them.

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Our “sense” of self is not a sense - it’s an illusion created and sustained by thought.

Yes - everything (logic, evidence, experience) seems to indicate that it is so - nothing indicates that suffering is anything else than the movement of self.

By self I mean the feeling of being me : the central (and most important) entity within my reality/experience. And the accompanying stories, memories etc that I identify with.

We are a complex process evolved for survival - seen as a whole (for clarity’s sake) we understand that the pleasant feelings are not separate from the main goal, are not free gifts existing for their own sake.

Food tastes delicious for a reason. Pleasure exists for a reason.

The unpleasant sensations that move us away from death are not separate from the pleasant sensations that move us towards security. Its a whole movement, if we don’t like calling this movement “suffering” or “self”, we can try to come up with a better word.

Whatever the self is, sense or illusion or thought-form or time, identifying with it brings in suffering along with infinite other feelings and emotions. Though the argument may be made that a kind of suffering underlies the whole grand process of human emotion.