Recently someone wrote and asked, “Am I happy when I cook (beautiful bright vegetables in my clean kitchen) because I am connecting with myself?" This is what I wrote back.
Before I answer, know this is a heck of a complicated question. At least, on paper anyway. Why? Because connecting with oneself is one of the more theoretically and philosophically difficult concepts to describe. There is, in fact, a lot more to it than a first glance might reveal. Let's start with an answer to your question.
Yes. When you are happy cooking, you are connecting with yourself. However, when I say, “with yourself, " I am not simply referring to being aware of yourself. Rather, I am referring to a little known aspect of the mind which Emergence Personality Theory describes as being a “two that are one. " In this cased, the two that are one is the two separate identities which the mind is creating and managing simultaneously; the you who is physically cooking, and the you who first learned to cook. In other words, one identity is the woman you are now, and the other is little girl you once were perhaps from a time when you were helping your mom.
This quality; the ability of the mind to create and manage multiple selves, may, in fact, be what becomes damaged in the condition we call, Multiple Personality Disorder. Here, the problem may lie not with that we have multiple selves but rather with the loss of the mind's ability to manage these multiple selves simultaneously. The loss of the “you" whom is concurrently aware of these selves. The “overseeing" you.
In some ways, this may even be the root of what Freud originally called this quality of the mind. Thus, while he later called the “overseeing" you, the “superego, " in the original German, he called this quality, the “above me. " Whatever the case, many theorists have referred to this overseeing quality of the mind, including Emergence Personality Theory.
Does it sound a bit scary to be managing multiple selves? It's not really. In fact, all human minds have built into them the ability to simultaneously manage more than two personas. Children do this even from a young age when they anthropomorphize multiple objects (blankies, stuffed dogs) and see them as a group of companions. In fact, what do you think is going on when a year old baby needs these objects in order to feel safe going to sleep? This, in fact, is simply the baby's built self protection from the abject terrors of Layer 8 aloneness.
Unfortunately, most adults, including most researchers, attribute what is going on here to a much different, more logically adult experience. Why? Because we commonly believe that babies have no ability to see others as separate from themselves. And while I suppose this merging is possible and may in fact be partially true, the later-in-life evidence points more to that this was simply the baby managing everyone in his or her life sphere as they were all the baby's multiple selves.
Where is my evidence? It lies primarily in the myriad childhood protector experiences we all have, including those which involve heroes and villains and those which involve imaginary friends. It also evidences itself in the many adult experiences wherein we interact with God or with gods or with angels and spirit guides. As well as in therapeutic experiences wherein we simultaneously connect to both a childhood self (the little boy me) and a present day self (me being the good father to the little boy me).
This behavior further extends even to what we might call “shamanic experiences, " those events wherein we connect to the spirits of mountains and trees and rivers. In other words, the wonderful Layer 10 connections we sometimes make to nature itself.
All these experiences require we as people simultaneously create and manage a secondary persona in our minds along with our present time selves. When we do this; whenever we mentally connect to two or more personas simultaneously while at the same time watching this happening, we are connected to ourselves. After all, who do you think is creating the images of these two personas in our minds? It is “us, " of course. And in this case, the word “us" means only one person. The person to whom we are most intimately connected. Our managing ego. Our overseeing narrator self.
Steven Paglierani is a writer, teacher, personality theorist, and therapist whose work on learning and human consciousness is read weekly by thousands all over the world. He is the author of Emergence Personality Theory, and his mission is to make the world better for children by restoring and deepening their love of learning.
He can be read or reached at his site, http://theEmergenceSite.com