The rise of the human potential movement has been a huge benefit and a sign of consciousness continuing to evolve. Firstly, the movement has created a new field, positive psychology, which focuses on the life-affirming values within you rather than focusing entirely on mental disorders. Secondly, the movement has also raised the status of women in society, even though equality hasn’t been reached. Finally, the movement has supported the notion of becoming your best self.
Your Best Self Is Your True Self
At this moment, countless people are pursuing that notion with hope and optimism. It’s the latest phase in self-improvement, which aims at lifelong well-being in body and mind.
But what is your best self, and how do you realize it? This hasn’t been easy to define, and many people are confused. If you aim to succeed in your career, for example, how is that balanced with other values like being fair, attending to your family, and not resisting others? Worldly success, as you often see, goes to people who are ruthlessly competitive, selfish, and unfair. Where does your best self come in? Through surrender, acceptance, and moral behavior? Even if this means getting taken advantage of?
There are countless other examples that crop up, because “best self” tends to be very vague and amorphous. I’d even venture that some people might end up hiding from life’s challenges in a passive way in order to preserve the feeling that they are being virtuous, moral, and spiritual.
What you need is a clear definition of the self, and I’d propose that the true self is already your best self. You don’t have to aim at it or try to improve it. The true self is present here and now. In your meditation practice, you contact it as the silent level of the mind, which is the source of every attribute of pure consciousness. What you value most in life—creativity, love, compassion, insight, curiosity, and personal evolution—arises from your source.
You don’t have to work or struggle to create these values. They exist innately. The reason you don’t realize this truth is that pure consciousness gets blocked or obscured when your attention is occupied with thoughts and sensations. You live out stories created from ego needs, desire, old conditioning, wishful thinking, and much more. However, every element in your story is a mental construct, and these constructs are a jumble assembled haphazardly in your past, beginning very early in childhood. Attending meditation retreats or wellness retreats can help reduce and ultimately work to eliminate mental constructs so that you can fully cultivate your potential.
How to Cultivate Your Potential
Human potential lies beyond stories and mental constructs. It is infinite, because no matter how many thoughts you have, how many actions you perform, or words you utter, there are infinite more waiting to be expressed. It must be remembered that this is the only definition of human potential that matters in the end. Otherwise, joining the human potential movement is merely taking up another mental construct and adding another page to your old story.
In practical terms, it is necessary to make your infinite potential unfold in daily life. That’s done basically by undoing your story, no longer participating in a constructed self-image. The only thing a story is good for is to foster a self-image that satisfies the ego.
Secondly, it is necessary to cultivate the true self by contacting it in meditation. Outside meditation, you consciously choose to align yourself with the values of the true self by the following:
- You stop struggling and opposing.
- You learn to say yes more often and to accept others.
- You resist the temptation to be judgmental.
- You stop creating stress in other people and take responsibility for reducing stress in your own life—stress is always a symptom of struggle.
- You walk away from negative situations and never engage with them.
- You act out of love and kindness.
- You consciously don’t do what you know in your heart is wrong.
The voice of the true self is silent, but in this list, you may see things you already know are right. The true self has been influencing your life, even when you feel trapped by your ego, self-image, and external circumstances. Whenever you carry out the influence of the true self, you come closer to identifying with it instead of the ego.
The Path to Awakening
Moving from disconnect to reconnect is the path to awakening, and awakening is the fully conscious life. Steps of awakening present themselves every day. The possibilities existing in the present moment are infinite—they have to be because the present moment is a reflection of your own potential, which is infinite to begin with.
I hope this vision inspires you because you have never lost your true self. Communication has just been interrupted for a time, and as you restore these frayed lines of communication, the joy of existence will emerge very naturally and effortlessly. With the end of struggle, the beauty of your own potential will be present every day.