Some say that life is a game of two halves. We spend our first few decades emerging as a separate entity, experiencing the egoic quest of trying to secure our place. We collect achievements, attract followers and likes and count them as a measure of our worth.
We acquire careers, gain titles and climb apparent hierarchies. We consider the number of digits in our bank balance as a reflection of our fundamental value. And the funny thing is, that even if the numbers go up, the sense of unease doesn't diminish, because we fear there is too much to lose.
Freud talks about the discontent of society and egoic need, using the German translation 'unbehagen', which has an air of onomatopoeia about it. Our longing for fulfilment, security and contentment is so intoxicating, yet only ever appears fleetingly, which just serves to rev up the search.
So what about Act II?
In the midst of the crisis that was postnatal depression for me, there was an apparent collapse of self. I felt I had lost my identity. The first person singular I had known myself to be. But, in retrospect, that turned out to be just a collection of labels and constructs. Bits of shiny memorabilia perhaps but with no real essence.
Those titles, descriptions and accolades that I tried so hard to secure 'me' in place seemed hollow somehow. And from the maelstrom emerged a realisation that wouldn't leave me, as the words "I no longer want to live on the surface" reverberated.
What Tolle calls the 'deeper I' was resonating. A sense of wholeness that lies within us all. When we let go of personal thinking, an expansiveness pervades which softens the acute neediness of 'little me'. A deeper stillness offers sanctuary and calm beneath the ever transient surface waves.
Yes I still fall into needing. Ego - the thought created separate self - loves first person singular to be centre stage. A metaphorical social media pop up, it relentlessly demands our attention, enticing us like click bait.
Look. At. Me.
It's just a trick. There's nothing to see folks but a constant distraction ticker tape. A poor sideshow obscuring our view of the main act.
So look beyond. Breathe. Let go. Dip down below the surface into the stillness within. The deeper I awaits.