I had an interesting chat with my “selves” on a run yesterday. (Don’t act like you don’t talk to yourself all day long! I’m just admitting it) This is a conversation that runs within me on the regular. Its like that standing bridge club grammy group at the local YMCA. It is rarely missed and always chatty. The content doesn’t really change and the arguments are always the same. For me, this back and forth is mostly between my heart and my mind. Between my intellect and my soul. Between my inner materialist and my inner believer.
Yesterday’s ontological debate was going on like all the other ones. Back and forth on the nature of reality and my own experience, each side fighting for control. After a particularly long diatribe from my inner believer on how the universe is inherently meaningful while my inner materialist was rolling his eyes, pitying the other’s desperate need for a comforting meta-narritive, I noticed the Watcher. By that I mean the part of me who isn’t identified with either of these narrow perspectives, but simply watches the show go on. This watcher isn’t struggling to make anything ‘fit’ or ‘solve’ any dilemmas. The watcher is simply aware of what is, and at that point, it was two manifestations of my psyche stuck in a loop they fall into continually. The Watcher just observed their bickering like an old married couple.
For some reason, just becoming aware of the Watcher part of me, quieted down this crotchety old couple who just silently noticed that they had been arguing in the presence of another. In that moment of recognition… recognition of the old patterns, of the presence of the three distinct selves, of the silly need to consume each other… a space opened inside me.
Then and there, I (I guess this was a 4th me? Some kind of ego-negotiator function?) told them all that I was getting tiring watching these two constantly try to devour each other. I told them that I loved them both and that there is room in me for both of them. I was OK admitting that there will always be a part of me that has no room for all this fairy tale, wishful thinking, meaningful universe G_d-talk and that no matter how passionate my believer pleaded with him, he would never cave into that “G_d loves you” nonsense. My materialist smiled…
But there was more… I told them I was simultaneously OK admitting that there will also always be a part of me that doesn’t even need to believe in G_d, because he KNOWS G_d. This is my Spirit, the poet, the seeker, the psychonaut, the mystic, the sensual lover of G_d… one who has tasted the sweetness of being at a level the mind has never touched and never will.
I looked at them both with compassion, remembering the different times when I desperately needed one or the other to lead me in a difficult season. I loved them for all the ways they served me at unique moments. And then I told them in no uncertain terms that I need them to get along because we’re going to be together for the long haul and I need them – not to agree – but to hold hands and do their unique, individual parts in a harmony, the sound of which, will be the song of my life.