How do we grow our sense of self? In some ways this is the same problem we experience with learning to be assertive: because we aren’t, assertiveness feels like aggressiveness. Similarly, when we lack a broader sense of who we are, any expansion is easy to experience as grandiose, narcissistic, and selfish. Is it? How do we know? We can’t rely on most others – some will say we are fine the way we are; others will think we need to grow more. Others will warn us that we’ll get “too big for our britches.” The solution IDL offers is to “try on” the expanded world views of emerging potentials that supply us with authentic, yet expanded experiences of who we are.
In this instance, the Eiffel Tower would seem to be a frighteningly grandiose way of experiencing the world: it is a mecca for the masses, a monument to triumphalism and to technological prowess. It is also a shrine to French culture, which many people see as proud, distant, and arrogant. No one wants to be viewed in such a way.
Yet, what we discover in the interview is that there is a broad difference between how humans may tend to view the Eiffel Tower and how it views itself. The implication is that we are misjudging ourselves and our potentials and thereby limiting our ability to grow into an expanded sense of self. That is why it is so important to “try on” various alternative self-definitions provided in your IDL interviews. Keep what fits; discard what does not. Follow the recommendations that are useful; ignore those that either are not or are a bridge too far.
This was a helpful interview in several unexpected ways. I was leading a group through interviews around the issue of guilt and, as I often do, I did an interview on myself at the same time. The image that came up, the Eiffel Tower, was so incongruous and unexpected that I had no inclination to interview it and no expectation that it would have any relevance whatsoever, despite years of being consistently being proven wrong on that score. However, I put my disbelief aside and stuck with the image in the interview.
The result was a way of looking at myself that is very different than how I have seen myself in the past or tend to see myself. The combination of rigidity and structure, on the one hand, and transparency and airiness is very intriguing, as are the contrasts of rootedness in the earth and elevation into sky. There is also a sense of technological remoteness that contrasts with the Eiffel Tower crawling with people and with life. All of these contrasts were new ways of thinking about myself, and once again my best teachers turn out to be my own emerging potentials, which know me better than I know myself and better than anyone else ever can.
What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
1 deeper meditation
2 more focus on editing
3 eating better; eating healthier
When you persecute yourself with guilt, what feelings come up for you?
If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?
Baby shit brown
Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.
Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?
The Eiffel Tower!
Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor? It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind. If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!
Eiffel Tower, look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see…
I am very stable. I am very tall. I am very stately. People are proud of me and I am proud of myself. I am a technological marvel that has stood the test of time. I don’t have eyes, but I experience the world as metal and space in a lattice dance of space and form.
What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
I like that I am an object that evokes aspiration and inspiration in humans.
What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
There’s nothing I dislike about myself. I am maintained very well, so I don’t have any weaknesses. I’m not afraid of anything.
Eiffel Tower, you are in Joseph’s life experience, correct? He created you, right? What aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?
The power of his mind to inspire and evoke greatness.
Eiffel Tower, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I like being who and what I am!
(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
Eiffel Tower, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence: 10 Nothing can hurt me!
Compassion: 0 I am a structure; I don’t have a sense of self or selflessness.
Wisdom: ? I don’t know. I don’t need to be wise. My job is to be stable and beautiful. That’s enough. I don’t need wisdom.
Acceptance: 10 What’s there not to accept? I have people climbing all over me; there’s rain, sunshine, ice, snow…so what??
Inner Peace: 10 Nothing disturbs my equanimity!
Eiffel Tower, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
I would be alive! I think I would be a human!
How would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
He would feel like me! Quite stately, elegant, proud, unfazed, powerful, anchored, important, aware, aesthetic, timeless!
If you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?
I would not take anything personally; I wouldn’t feel that anything was about me. I would feel powerful in my presence.
If you could live Joseph’s waking life for him/her today, would you handle Joseph’s three life issues differently? If so, how?
1 Deeper meditation: I am in a meditative state. Become me; feel my spaciousness. Feel me reaching up into heaven and strongly anchored into the Earth!
2 More focus on editing: I am anchored in my purpose, in my role. I am expression of that. The more that you anchor yourself in your purpose and your role the more your writing will become your priority.
3 Eating better; eating healthier: Well, I don’t eat. But I am an interplay of air and the elements. I let things freely come and go. I am very heavy, but there is a great lightness about all of that.
What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Joseph’s life?
1. A sense of the eternal now.
2. A sense of great presence.
3. A sense of innate importance and worth.
In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would?
Whenever he wants to feel powerful and portray power and presence in the world.
Eiffel Tower, do you feel guilt? If not, why not?
Nope! That’s ridiculous! It’s not part of my nature!
What do you recommend your human do to stay out of guilt?
Eiffel Tower, you are imaginary. Why should your human pay attention to anything you say?
I score higher than you. That’s why.
Why do you think that you are in Joseph’s life?
I don’t do guilt, do I? My nature is a natural preventative!
If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?
I could do worse than assume the characteristics of the Eiffel Tower. It will keep me out of guilt and take my confidence and sense of self to a higher level of presence and power.
Is there anything you want to take away from this interview to apply in your everyday life?
Become the Eiffel Tower when I meditate and whenever I want to feel powerful, present, and focused.