The Many and the Self

This week’s featured article was written by Innerform™ Coach, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Licensed Massage Therapist and Somatrainer Amy Yates. In “The Many and the Self,” Amy shares the daily tug of war between engagement in the Many and the ease within the journey of the Self. The two paths are both fundamental to human existence but also very polar. Read more to deepen your understanding of both.


The Many and the Self

I experience a daily tug of war between engagement in the Many and the ease within the journey of the Self. I think of the Many as the current collective energy, the “system”, the “man”, group think, or even the “machine”. However, I do try to dampen any immediate connotations which arise from these words… this is why I have landed on the seemingly neutral identifier: “the Many.”

The Many reflects the system of current affairs; the entirety of energy exchange around the current human experience. The energy of the Many is timely, relevant, transitory and emotionally personal. It flows quickly from one story to the next with astounding amounts of energy. This energy is perfectly conditioned to be taken up by the self’s emotional system to be used for various purposes, most of which involve judgment at some fundamental level.

       “The journey of the Self has remained constant throughout all of time.”

On the other hand, the journey of the Self feels almost timeless and oddly impersonal. It’s the outline of each of our individual stories, which have always existed. The journey of the Self has remained constant throughout all of time. It is shared by all individuals but, without exception, is experienced from the perspective of the lone self. Predominantly, it surrounds fixed truths such as birth, death, life maintenance, and life meaning and purpose.

It is both the journey of personal maturation and also the substance of the deepest interpersonal resonance. Not the type of high pitched humming that is stimulated when agreeing upon a stance taken on a current affair. It’s a much deeper and lower resonance revolving around recognition of the shared human condition. The journey of the Self revolves around the shared truths which bind all of us together and provide us with the basis for empathy.

I think it’s important to note that the engagement in the Many is just that; an engagement. It requires a voluntary and active step into this non-material but palpably energetic sphere of mental and emotional activity. That is to say, you can feel the transition between being separate from it, and within it (if you have developed the awareness).

The Many really does have its own pulse which we can choose to dance to or not. This pulse changes frequently, creating a truly emergent and creative song. If you choose to engage in the Many, you generally move on a path of clarification, heightening of opinion, and development of will. The “you” becomes more defined, personal, opinionated and power-driven. It is, in general, a very exciting journey.

… it’s more like you open up a door within yourself.”

The journey of the Self is different. Instead of stepping into a new realm, it’s more like you open up a door within yourself. You then sink down to the level which you find appropriately uncomfortable. Instead of immediately feeling the pulse, you must search for it by peeling away the layers you have built up which define and isolate you. But when you find it, it feels like the slow beating of an infinite number of base drums, which have kept the same rhythm for all of time.

You lose the personalization of yourself but gain an immense sense of community and belonging, even when you’re alone. It provides a deep and meaningful premise for all of life’s stories. It is, in general, very grounding and humbling.

I assume this tug of war is real for many, if not all, people. I don’t view it as a problem. In fact, I think it helps foster a beautiful landscape of life experience. What seems important is that both ends of the rope are recognized and respected. Neither should have full reign nor be silenced. Perhaps the point of this post is to foster awareness of the journey of the Self and recognition of the influence of the Many.

With that, I invite you to take some time to recognize how the energy of the Many may be influencing you. And of course, please take some alone time to open the door and become aware of your journey into the Self.

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