Note to Self

anonymous from pixabay

To: Dave’s Self
c/o Dave the Organism
Date: The Eternal Now

Hi Self,

I think it’s time we had a talk. You’ve been doing some amazing work managing the organism called “Dave” that we’re both inhabiting, and I really appreciate your effort. You must be exhausted! I mean, the guy’s a slow learner, and something that must have happened to him long ago has really disconnected him, closed him down. So you’ve really had no alternative but to do a ton of work to keep him going and out of trouble. He’s turned out OK under the circumstances, wouldn’t you agree?

So what I’m going to suggest is that maybe it’s time for you to take a vacation. I know what you’re thinking — impossible, the guy would be a basket case without me running things. I understand where you’re coming from. But I’ve been in touch with Dave the Organism, and it’s feeling pretty good about Dave’s ability to survive and thrive kind of on “autopilot”, at least for a while. And I promise you no one’s out for your job — I have neither the capacity nor the intention to do the gruelling work of a self, and believe me there are no other applicants for the position. So the job of self will still be here waiting for you when you return. In fact, I’ll keep you posted, but it’s possible you might be able to retire permanently — you’ve done such a great job Dave might be able to cope on his own for the rest of his life. Thanks in no small part to you!

I know a lot of selves never get a vacation, so perhaps it would be useful if I explained what a vacation for the self might entail. Mostly, it’s about letting go of a lot of stuff, and trusting that that stuff really isn’t required for Dave the Organism to function just fine, at least for a while, while you’re away. Here’s a list of the main things a vacation would see you letting go of:

  • Expectations, beliefs, ideals, wants and needs — all this ‘self’-interest stuff you’ve built up in his mind to motivate him to do what had to be done; but maybe now he can manage doing that without needing any motivation
  • Thoughts — they’ll still come up of course, but you need not be around to respond to, catalogue and act on them; and you have to admit Dave the Organism’s emotional reactions to a lot of these thoughts have been over the top and haven’t been good for him
  • Control — how much were you really able to control this guy anyway, when you think about it?
  • Yearnings and cravings and hopes and dreams and longings (especially those that relate to love and lust) — this guy has a rich fantasy life, so he is constantly getting his hopes up, and getting disappointed; just settling for everything that he has already might be really healthy for him (I mean, the guy claims to be “the world’s most blessed agnostic”, which has to tell you something)
  • Stories — which we both know aren’t really true; they’re just used because Dave, like most humans, doesn’t seem able to remember or make sense of anything except in the context of a story
  • Pride, vanity, arrogance and the sense of certainty — all that stuff that goeth before a fall, y’know; and this guy stumbles a lot, so maybe these are good things to let go of
  • Judgement, impatience, determination, perseverance, resistance, and frustration — angsty stuff that gets him all huffy and red in the face; he’s reaching the age when he’s got to look out for blood pressure issues, and letting go of these things might help
  • Attachment to (and claims on) people and stuff and processes and outcomes — all these ‘pride of ownership’ things kinda relate back to the whole ‘control’ issue, and when he was young these things nurtured his sense of commitment, but now that he’s old they just make him a bit obsessive, wouldn’t you agree?
  • Belief in the coherence of words and language — yes, I know he’s a writer and this is a big part of his toolkit, but he’s starting to realize how little communication actually occurs, and that most of what actually occurs does so outside of words and language
  • Fears, anger, grief, outrage, shame, regret, dread, anxiety and sadness — for a guy who’s had a relatively easy life, Dave the Organism’s got a ton of this stuff stored up inside him, and it gets triggered a lot by your thoughts, self, and this makes him sick; you could help him a lot by letting go of the thoughts that stoke these reactions
  • Imaginings — yes, Dave built his career on these, but he does have a tendency to mistake them for what really is, and what really is happening
  • The sense of separateness, disconnection, responsibility, volition, mortality, time and suffering — mind-created illusions that were totally needed to function in his culture in the past, but at his age he’d be pleased to do without them, and you’d probably be relieved too!
  • Everything that is not essential to Dave the organism — all the stuff that has been attached to the original Dave like excess baggage, that you’ve held in place for so long
  • The dream world — it’s an awesome model, self, with all the essential stuff for dealing with attacks by tigers and stuff, with none of the bewildering complexity of the real world, but let’s face it, it’s pretty flat and oversimplified, and Dave’s been caught up in it for so long he thinks it is the real world; you think maybe it’s time to dis-illusion Dave?
  • The very striving to let go — I know you’ll love this one, since you are your ‘self’ a creature of recursion; to let go of striving to let go of all of the stuff in this list takes it to a whole other level

Yes, I know this is a long list of stuff, and you’ve got a lot invested in this stuff; you’ve been building and managing it for long time. But it’s just stuff. Maybe it’s time for Dave to grow up and try being selfless, see if he can manage on his own. From my perspective, and from Dave the Organism’s perspective, this seems quite possible, and maybe healthy for him now. Sure, it’ll be tough for him at first, and he’ll be trying to find you to lean on, but pretty soon he’ll find that he’ll be as liberated, living on his own at last, as you will be liberated from the thankless job you’ve had all these years. It’s a win-win!

You’ll never be out of work, even if your vacation turns into a permanent retirement; there are a lot of people out there trying to find them selves, or build up their egos. They are seeking strong selves, and you could take them on as a hobby, just whenever you were feeling restless and in need of something to do.

So let me know what you think. I already know how Dave the Organism feels, and his senses and intuition are already on board for doing this. I’ll keep an eye on him, and I will let you know if you’re needed back on the job. It’s time, self. Give yourself a break. You’ve done your job, and a noble service it has been. Ready whenever you are!

Yours gratefully and respectfully,

Dave’s True Being
A part of the One Consciousness

image: photoshopped image of ‘anonymous’ from (CC0 license — public domain dedication)

This entry was posted in Our Culture / Ourselves. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Note to Self

  1. nozulani says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    «to be a slave to, or to fight against the Ego (“mine”. – Or, personality) is the mistake.
    to appreciate the Ego as what it is, it comes as part of the awakening.»

  3. Cheryl says:

    Dearest Dave,

    Love this. You really are a treasure – every part of you. XXX

  4. Cheryl says:

    In a conversation recently, a friend gave me these two quotes which I put on my profile:

    “Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am master of my fate and captain of my soul.” Ashleigh Brilliant

    “A bit beyond perception’s reach I sometimes believe I see that life is two locked boxes each containing the others key.” Piet Hein

  5. Paul Heft says:

    Does “Dave’s True Being” have any hope of tempting “Dave’s Self” into a vacation or retirement? Good luck!

    “Dave’s Self” (DS) is a habit of mind, a pattern of mental processes, established over years through conditioning—much of it by repetitive cultural practices (language acquisition, child rearing, schooling, work, marriage, etc.) which millions of other humans were similarly forced to endure. The message from “Dave’s True Being” is a wonderful rhetorical device, but DS is going to respond in its usual conditioned (programmed and yet intelligent) manner.
    • Yes, DS might respond, it’s time to upgrade Dave’s expectations, beliefs, ideals, wants and needs. He never was any good at feeling secure by believing and wanting the same things as most people in his culture. He can try expecting some sort of transcendence, believing different concepts of time and consciousness, idealizing non-attachment and non-duality, wanting to stop obsessive thinking, needing the mind to shut off.
    • DS doesn’t want to hear the first word about being unnecessary. Of course DS is necessary, it’s a dangerous world, and these soft human organisms are terribly vulnerable to damage or destruction. DS can’t let down “Dave the Organism” (DtO) by failing to implement protective strategies, putting at risk the billions of organisms whose collaboration makes DtO possible.
    • DS doesn’t want to control “the guy” (i.e., DtO). Self-control, intention, and volition are just an illusion produced by the conditioning. Thoughts seemingly looking back on themselves interpret the patterns of similar reactions to similar experiences as self-control. OK, maybe that’s not always true, perhaps some functions of the mind respond in ways that aren’t always consistent with the programming, there does seem to be some intelligence in the mechanism. But DS doesn’t need control as such, it relies on the mental patterning to keep DtO fairly safe. (This reminds me of drivers, who cannot control the other drivers but rely on the lane markings and rules of the road to keep them from colliding.)
    • “Settling for everything that he has already”—oh yeah, as if striving, the desire for improvement, isn’t written into our genes as an evolutionary strategy! If DS is subjected to some sort of gratitude practice, perhaps the conditioning could be adjusted to reduce yearnings, but that’s really going against the grain, isn’t it?
    • If DS goes on vacation, stories will continue to be created but their nature will change radically: DS will disappear as a character, so the stories won’t have the same motivations, heroes and villains. Imagine that!
    • DS largely consists of attachments—they are a key protective strategy, building the identity from pieces picked up here and there. This whole “letting go” idea is pretty wild; maybe it has its place in sex and a few other brief outlets, but the mechanism seems to be built for grasping.
    • DS relies on triggering: the conditioning isn’t very good if it’s not automatic. Too bad it makes DtO sick, that’s the price to pay for protection. (Doesn’t seem logical? Too bad!)
    • As for the “illusions that were totally needed to function in his culture in the past,” what’s different now? Are the risks lower, is DtO less vulnerable? Unlikely.

    Can “Dave’s True Being” be recognized despite the filter of “Dave’s Self”? Maybe the self will break down for a bit through some sort of shock, heartbreaking experience, or exhaustion. Maybe the self will allow some reconditioning or deconditioning, such as through some spiritual practice, to avoid the existential suffering. Maybe the self will notice itself with enough perspective to, bit by bit, break the programming and increasingly rely on the innate intelligence. (Paul’s self is still pretty strong, what does he know!)

  6. Paul Chefurka says:

    You hit it out of the park, Dave. I’m going to be re-reading this frequently.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “So beautiful was the moment
    that the only way to stop it
    It was the silence “

  8. Dave,

    Thought that was funny, but what you’re calling the self is what I’d call the mind. Mind needs a vacation, in my mind. Unfortunately my mind is writing this and getting caught up in terminology when I understood exactly what you meant. I guess “I” probably means what you’re calling your “true being”?

    Language is useless ;-(

Comments are closed.