Getting to Know Ourselves without Analyzing
Flaws of Interpreting Ourselves
Let me put it this way: analyzing yourself is like taking your television apart to find out why the program is so annoying. This introspective self-evaluation can only detect some fragments of your intimate life, which may, or may not be relevant at all. Those loudest details seemingly prevailing may not be nearly as pivotal in your emotional dynamics as some of the others that you may be completely oblivious about.
You can't "explain" your emotions in terms of some "system" that you read about, which would only end up as a grotesque approximation of you as a whole personality. Similarly, your actions can't give you any reliable clue about who you are, except possibly mislead you into just a further fragmentation.
Of course, I am not trying to mystify your identity here, and those familiar words that are usually descriptive of you will always serve you for distinguishing you from them. However, we are talking about an in-depth understanding of yourself, where those words are mostly useless or misleading.
"Right Brain" Taking a Back Seat
The truth of the matter is that your psycho-physical nature is way too complex in its dynamics as to be squeezed into some models of verbalization. You are much, much more than any book can explain.
The moment you turn your attention inwards with an intention to "make some sense" of it, your left, analytical brain hemisphere gets activated, leaving the right, intuitive hemisphere back in a more passive mode.
So you start being "knowledgeable" about those details of you that seem to be sticking out as an illusion of your self-portrait resembling one of those abstract Picasso's paintings. You see, the right hemisphere of your brain is not dealing with words, and even though it's in a constant connection with your "left brain" via an intricate bunch of nerve fibers between them, it contains that unrefined truth about your intimate life - the one that gets altered and reduced by the left, analytical hemisphere.
Mindfulness Meditation or Releasing Technique
Let me give you a quick example about the role of the right hemisphere in matters which belong to the emotional part of our nature. An artist-painter's inspiration is totally guided by his right hemisphere, with just an "assistance" from the left one in terms of organizing his artwork.
However, his inspiration would be completely gone if he was mainly concentrated on that planning, like what color tone to give to it, what to use as a focal point, how to accentuate the light contrasts, how to organize the depth making it look 3-dimensional...etc.
For another, somewhat comical example, using the left brain where it's not appropriate would be in having sex by reading instructions from a book on sexology. Anything having to do with emotions is the domain of the right, intuitive brain.
So, in order to know yourself (better), you need to cultivate your intuition. Usually, the so called "mindfulness" form of meditation would give you the best insights. It means a non-judgmental observing of all patterns of experiencing welling up from subconscious. But you can also do it with "releasing" technique which is a sort of "mindfulness without a trance", which can be done during your normal daily activities.
It's simple - all you do is focus on that "felt sense" of your experiencing without putting a label on it, without analyzing its source or cause, just letting it be there until it goes of its own, replaced by something else. If it starts feeling "silly" and strange", then just focus on the felt sense of that "silly and strange", allowing the flow of experiencing to go uninterrupted by an urge to analyze.
Living a Free Flow of Experiencing
The key words in releasing technique are "allowing the flow of free experiencing" - however, not necessarily acting all of it out. Releasing does not mean a free and impulsive behavior which is a privilege of infants.
As you are doing it, those deepest parts of you-being-you get encouraged to emerge to the surface to be experienced there consciously after taking a back seat in favor of your social self-image. That material may come up in a disorderly fashion at first, but don't resist it, allow it to be.
A little word of caution. If you are presently seeing a therapist, or you think you should, because of a depression or anxiety, take it slowly with this method, otherwise it may "open the valve" a little too much, resulting with a feeling of an overwhelm.
Even if it comes to that, try to remember: it's not your emotions that are hurting, but your resistance to them. Just breathe deeply, slowly, and abdominally - letting your stomach rise and fall instead of your chest, and that will clear your head from those emotional upheavals, if any.
Bypass Your Ego's Limiting Life-Script
Our vulnerable ego has its defensive mechanisms protecting it from anything in the subconscious which is not compatible with its "life-script". That best in your potential is bound to be sabotaged and its expression thwarted. So know whom you'll have to face in your quest for liberation and self-knowing.
You free intuition will serve you some incredibly revealing non-verbal clues about your true nature. An indication of these moments of truth will be manifested at times when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror or in a shop window and it almost startles you - that the image you see is "supposed to be you".
Just for that brief moment, the depth of your experiencing yourself won't match with that image which was always experienced by your ego criteria.
In a Company of Strangers
Your new insight into an alternate, truer-you will inevitably extend towards all people of your life, as you will start realizing how little you actually know about them. For one thing, just like you used to do, they are mostly expressing their social image, not being in touch with their true self.
And then, that very image is guiding them to reveal to you only a selective, partial segments of themselves - which is a sort of "normal", since no one is really "an open book" to the others. Well, it goes without saying, knowing ourselves simply has to make overall changes in our perception of our reality.
Thus, from a sum total of what anyone in your life has told you about themselves, much of it might be an unintentional lie. Now add to it your own left-brain analyzing, and you have made pretty much a stranger of that person.
All until your intuition start picking up some "vibes" which will amaze you with the fact how much our analytic brains can fool us about ourselves and others.
Limitations of Left Brain
Have you ever asked yourself why the success rate of mental health providers is so low? And why all those motivational seminars, CD's, and books are not showing more positive results? You see, as long as folks are not willing to bypass their analytical minds to get in touch with their intimate truth, they are bound to get some mediocre, if any results.
I am aware how much I may be going against the grain of the mainstream theorizing, but I am intuitively pushed into belief that our mind-body has problem translating words into language which it can only understand, the one of metaphors, images, shapes, and colors, which are the main features in the domain of our right brain hemisphere.
While I was reading some of those sterile, lifeless psychology books, I couldn't help but getting an impression of "distances being measured by scales".
Giving Intuition a Chance
Once that you have become proficient at releasing technique, it will become your new way of being, not merely a "practice". From that point on your life becomes effortless, because all effort was caused by resistance to the free flow. When we "don't feel like doing it" and we do it - that's "effort".
So effort disappears the moment when we don't discriminate between what we "feel like" or we don't, being in a non-judgmental mode of processing our reality. Of course, we will still know "good" from "bad", but we won't be attaching to it an emotional charge like we used to. It will all be "just life" with its different facets and patterns of experiencing, all a kind of welcome.
So, why don't we give a better chance to our intuition to guide us and make smoother our going, while also enormously enriching our insight into who we really are when we stop running away from ourselves.