I hope that you are beginning to be able to identify your “I”. Just think of it as that part of us that directs the activity in our soul; our feeling, our thoughts and our actions. We might wonder how this actually works in practical terms. No one can teach us this; we have to discover it for ourselves.
Think about a situation in which you felt insecure. What is this like? Words like unsupported, uncomfortable, powerless, inadequate may come to mind. These are feelings, powerful feelings which take us over and drown our thinking like a giant wave.
We are called to action (through our will) as we try to stand on our feet. At the base of this action we are driven by the feeling that we want to regain our balance by restoring our sense of power; to feel competent and capable again.
The way we usually do this is to create another wave to try and knock the source of our feelings of inadequacy off their feet. There is an unconscious urge within us to want to bring the other person down to size but without realising it we actually want to be ‘their size’.
This process happens so often in our interactions with others we will be surprised once we begin to recognise it. In our observations we will come to realise that it is our “I” that lies at the root cause. We encounter another person who is expressing themselves through their “I” and in that moment we feel that we cannot match it. The shape of the letter “I” even gives us a sense of towering uprightness. As we recognise their “I” we can feel small, even swallowed up by this experience. In moments like this it is up to us to draw on our own “I” experience and to stand tall beside them.
The fact remains; we are learner drivers when it comes to using our “I” with conscious awareness. We have to learn how much pressure to put on the accelerator so that the ride is smooth.
Through our “I” we can experience the freedom of the open road, without our “I” we drive down the same old street to our comfortable and familiar home. This is when we are predictable, behaving as we always do, solving problems in the usual way and displaying the emotions that our friends and family have come to expect from us. As we begin to test drive our “I” we must become more familiar with the way we include or exclude our three soul faculties; feeling, thinking and will. Our patterns of behaviour in the past often exclude one or the other. If we can identify this then we will know which one is missing and find ways of integrating it to balance things out. When we achieve that balance, even for a moment, then we have a direct experience of our “I”.
Activity 4 The balancing act
- What problems could be attributed to taking action (using the will) without engaging the forces of thinking and feeling?
- What problems could be encountered by feeling without engaging thinking and will?
- What problems could be encountered by thinking without engaging feeling and will?
Once you have identified a problem in each of these three areas you should be able to see how to balance them out by including the missing element.