I imagine most of us would agree that the adage “less is more” has a lot of merit. Some of us might follow the lead of Marie Kondo, the Japanese author who teaches us how to eliminate the clutter in our house. It seems that less clutter around us results in our mind being less cluttered, as well. Some of us have come to the conclusion that fast fashion and seasonal “refreshing” of our closets is simply consumption on steroids. And what about our phones? Less is so obviously more in regards to our phones, and sometimes we do go on a phone diet, with happy results. Some of us have found that giving away part of our money is what we focus on. We take real satisfaction in sharing what we have with others. Sometimes you read about someone who donated part of themselves, an organ from their body, in order to save another persons life. How wonderful for such a gift to be given.
 
Other examples come to mind, so many. And each of us could probably imagine that in any of these scenarios we, too, could give up what is being discussed. Not so far-fetched, is it? All true, but what I have come to believe, at least for myself, is that there is one thing I possess that I cannot let go of. I don’t even think that it might be standing in my way, let alone that it might be useful to discard. That one thing is my image of myself. For all of us our self image, our sense of who we are, what our persona is that we present to the world at large, is our most valuable possession. It is the image that we not only present to the world, but the image of ourself that we constantly present to ourself. It has been built up over the years.
 
It might be asked another way; how do I define who I am? It could be positive; I see myself as someone who is generous or caring. On the other hand, it could be more critical; here I see myself as someone who is not living up to my sense of who I should be. In either case we see only the actions and tendencies that validate our self image, ignoring or marginalizing those opposite actions that contradict who we see ourselves as. In either case something is lost. We box ourselves into roles that correspond to our self-image, declining to participate in life in new, untried, and scary but fulfilling ways.
 
My self image might be wrapped around some characteristic I have come to embrace as my world view. Let us say I am the one who always questioned authority. Questioned authority, and, when it seemed as though it may have an impact on me, however distant, resisted authority. It has made me who I am, a free spirit, but one who looks at people in positions of power with suspicion. Much of the time the suspicion is justified. Just a look at the state of the world and the authority figures in the world verifies that. But perhaps one day my world view may even cause me to resist some good that comes to me because it comes in a guise of authority. And try as I might I cannot renounce the central core of my self image. So I then lose the opportunity to receive something that might have been very valuable, even life-changing. 
 
One could just as easily imagine the opposite situation, in which I see myself as never wanting to “make waves” in which I always conform, always acquiesce. Then my self image is of the one that is adaptable, the one who is easy to get along with. Then, this image of myself will also stand in my way, with the same result of opportunities lost and freedoms constrained. 
 
I think I need this image of myself. But the part of me that is real has no such need. The part of me that is more permanent does not need any validation. It simply needs to emerge. If I could be sure of the fact that I do have something that is real, permanent and absolutely mine, it would allow me to put aside the limited image of myself that I must always protect. To discover the underlying yet ever present part of myself is the spiritual journey, a journey that truly defines the adage “less is more.”
 
Comments are welcome
 
 

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