We all are in the constant search of becoming or having something better in this world. But sometimes, while in this wild search, we struggle to find our true selves. And start living a life, we may not need to.

The following article is an attempt to introduce the concept of true self and its relevance in common people’s life.


Sam and Bill were two best friends studying in the same school. Sam belonged to an orthodox middle-class family, whereas Bill was the son of the city’s richest businessman. Despite that difference, they were very close and spent most of their school time together.

One day, Bill invited Sam to attend his birthday party at his house. Thus, in the evening, Sam headed towards Bill’s house with a simple present. He was visiting Bill’s place for the first time, since their friendship.

When he entered Bill’s house, he was amazed by the decoration for the party. There were large balloons, banners, colorful ribbons, and numerous gift boxes of different sizes. Every other guest was beautifully dressed and wearing a special birthday hat. Sam hasn’t seen such decoration before or hosted such a party.

This environment made Sam feel small. Thus, he decided to silently leave the house. But, Bill saw him and dragged him to his side. A photographer then took pictures of the birthday boy and his friend. Later in the party, Sam didn’t get another chance to escape.

After the party, Sam returned to his home. He was in an unusual state. Within his mind, the images of those expensive decorations, large gifts, people were still revolving. While lying in his bed before sleep, he decided within himself; when I grow up, I will be rich so that I never have to feel small, the way I felt today.

Am I, What I am

Every man should take up his own ideal and endeavour to accomplish it. That is a surer way of progress than taking up other men’s ideals, which he can never hope to accomplish.

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume – 1, Chapter – 2

The above story is fictitious, however many can easily relate to it. When people see their family, friends, or favorite celebrities updating their status on social media about things they don’t have, most of them desire to have something similar and be in the same situation as them. This natural temptation is extensively used by companies for marketing and selling products. Popular social media figures often promote products or brands so that its viewer potentially buy them in the future. And surprisingly, people do end up buying them, even though they don’t need them in their life.

The point I am trying to put forward is that – how easily we forget about our true self (present life and state) and start following something based on mere desire or external influence.

In the above story about Bill and Sam, expensive decoration and attractive gifts made Sam fall into the comparison trap. Thus, he desired to be rich like his friend. There is nothing wrong to aim to be rich. The real question is – being rich is really your own aim or just a mere influence of someone else?

It might be the case that Sam was already happy and satisfied in his life. The birthday party falsely made him realize that he is missing out on something. And it can only be achieved by being rich. This desire made him forget about his true self and set him to follow a path, he might not need to pursue.

My True Self

What is my true self and how I can find it? – This question is one of the highest-order questions in spirituality. A Yogi spends years practicing and training to find this answer deep inside themselves. It is known that once a person realizes and be with his true self, he reaches the state of Ananda or infinite bliss.

For a common person, who does not wish to reach this highest state, there are still a few things we can learn from a Yogi.

Am I the creator?

In many ancient Hindu spiritual texts, it is stated numerous times that our true self is universal. That is, it is the same for each one of us, which is known as Atman. This external world may guide or misguide you from the path of knowing it.

For a newborn baby, she sees the entire world through her mother. In other words, her entire world is her mother. As the baby grows with time, she tries to learn and mimic the things she sees within her family. Thus, the baby learns and adds layers of values and knowledge over her true self.

Like a baby, we grown-ups are doing the same. We are also constantly learning from our external experiences. Each new experience either adds or removes a layer over our true selves.

Good moral values like honesty, truthfulness (Satya), non-violence (Ahimsa), non-stealing (Asteya); not only helps you live a respectful life but also point out and constantly remind you about your true self.

On the other hand, following immoral values like greed, lust, anger, ego, or envy; make you forget about your true self. These values create layers after layers over your true self. And the person becomes the prey of his own desire and sense-pleasure keep wandering randomly in this world.

External World

Whatever experiences we have in our lives, leave an impression on our minds. However, our true self is not our mind. Mind is just a vehicle by which we understand and experience the external world. It does the critical decision-making and lets us decide, whether something is important or not.

The Movies or TV shows you watch, the music you listen to, books or news feed you read, and people you follow or talk online/offline – are all the sources of information for your mind; which it continuously feeds in. it is easy to understand that the type of content we consume affects our thinking.

Even if the external influence has stopped its action, your thought process keeps it alive for a long time and takes control of your actions. For instance, the more you absorb celebrity gossip, violent video games, images of success, and troubling news, the more your values will be tainted with envy, judgment, competition, and discontent.

We all know that this world is not all filled with negativity. Unless we deliberately fix our focus on it. One can compare this world to an extensive library. A mind filled with positivity and curiosity can find valuable things in this same world.

Gautama Buddha, before walking in the path of self-realization, was surrounded by all forms of pleasure and happiness the world can provide. However, living this form of life for some time, he realized that – all sense pleasure is limited and a human life continuously whirls in the cycle of happiness and sadness. This observation aroused a great curiosity within him to seek the highest knowledge. Thus, he renounced everything in his possession and began his journey of self-realization.

Thus, this world can act as a great teacher or your worse enemy. It depends on what direction you choose to walk in your life.

Some Basic Practices

Our mind can be our best friend or foe depending on how we train it. To avoid the situations where we can easily get carried by some immoral values and disturbing external influences, we can implement some simple, practical yet powerful practices in our daily life.

1. Self-Journaling – Observing and evaluating are the keys to critical thinking. Maintain a Journal and pen down your thoughts and general analysis of your present life. A habit of self-journaling can do miracles in your life as it constantly pushes you to self-improvement.

2. Filter the Noise – It is practically possible to put filter out the information you feed your mind with. For instance, you can stop reading any violent and disturbing news or avoid social media feeds that give you a sense of discontentment. Audit your time, media consumption, money, and people’s influence over yourself. See what is turning you towards or away from your true self.

3. Meditation – Meditation is a powerful exercise to unify our minds and body with our true selves. It is the way to close our eyes to the external world and open our eyes to the internal world, we have within us. A short practice session is enough to calm your mind and dive deep within yourself.

4. Allow silence and stillness – Thanks to a plethora of electronic devices and technologies in our life. Many find it difficult to experience silence and stillness in their life. Watching morning news before going to work, listening to music throughout a commute, and after office engaging with another TV show. We are slowly developing the habit of hopping between one screen to another. We can’t address our thoughts and explore our minds if we constantly keep them preoccupied. Therefore, whenever possible sit alone and experience silence or positive self-talk.

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Final Thought

Just as when we clear out the dust from the surface of a mirror, we clearly see the reflection of our face. Similarly, when we stop the unnecessary chase of this material world, we can clearly be our true selves. Therefore, we need to tune out the opinions, expectations, and obligations of the world around us so that we begin to hear ourselves.

I am not a Spiritual Guru, but I have an interest in various topics of Spirituality. The above content was framed based on the books, articles, and personal experiences, I have gone through. Being an aspirant in spirituality, there is still more for me to know.

Do you think, you are living your life, not of someone else’s? Do you enjoy the freedom in your thoughts and mental state? How do you reduce the daily noise? Do let us know in the comments.


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Author

I firmly believe that life is a collection of extraordinary stories, waiting to be experienced rather than simply narrated. I'm Arvind Marandi, a writer passionate about exploring the intersection of life and spirituality. While my background is in engineering, with a decade of training and industry experience, writing about life's journey has always been close to my heart. Through my articles, I delve into the multifaceted relationship between life and its incredible experiences. My interests encompass mental well-being, self-improvement, the interplay between humans and technology, and insightful book summaries. I strive to present complex ideas clearly and engagingly, fostering thoughtful discussions and encouraging readers to critically examine the role of spirituality and well-being in their own lives. Whether you're a seasoned professional navigating life's mid-stages or an enthusiastic student juggling various roles and eager to learn, I invite you to join me on this exploration. Together, let's navigate the complexities of life through my writing and your valuable insights.

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