Updated: Oct 15, 2020
"Everyone is the other and no one is himself."
~ Martin Heidegger
Living in society, means to be pressurised by the masses to behave in a particular way. Some of the demands placed on individuals are reasonable and helpful, There are also a lot of stupid, irrelevant obsolete and harmful demands placed on us by a section of power hungry, egoistic, greedy, idiotic people along with ideological and religious maniacs.
These pressure compel us to behave in an artificial manner suppressing both our natural instincts and needs. The more oppressive and restrictive the society, organisation or family the more the individual becomes angry, and frustrated.
People adopt different persona (masks) for each situation and audience, pretending all the time to be what they are not. Eventually we lose sight of who we really are. The closer we are to our natural selves the greater will be our happiness.
'Who am I?'
This is the most fundamental question that we keep returning to without getting a satisfactory answer.
No individual can see his or her own face. We need a mirror to look and examine our physical selves. But what about examining our inner being?
This is why all the great masters ask us to spend some time alone and in silence. For with our mind we can journey within ourselves, slowly and gradually uncovering the numerous layers of masks we have donned. This sounds easy, but our social environment and upbringing often makes this difficult.
The other way to is to spend time with friends, better a friend. Here we discover ourselves through discussion, debate, play, etc. It is not as effective but its easier than contemplation and meditation and a lot more fun.
Whichever path we travel on, honesty and openness with oneself is key, to discovery. Therein lies the problem. We have too many real and imaginary skeletons and monsters in the cupboard of our being, which we keep on hiding not only from others but also ourselves.
Only honest contemplation and meditation or friendship can help us exorcise ourselves of these demons.
That is why I say, "A friend is someone who lets you be yourself".
In contemplation I am my own friend, in friendship the other is my friend. Both the inner and the outer make us whole, with a healthy mind, body and spirit.