I experience two places inside myself.
There is a place inside me that is fearful, anxious, uptight, controlling, and insecure.
Spiritual traditions call this place ”ego”, “small self”, or “false self”. I call it mini-me. It is less than I know myself to have been created to be; but it is undeniably part of who I have become over the years.
Mini-me lives in a small dark airless room where there is only enough space for himself and his bundle of neurotic obsessions.
Mini-me is tight and edgy, always sensitive to any hint of offense, always on the look out for any possibility that his rights are being trampled on or his honour is being diminished. Mini-me is defensive, competitive and quarrelsome. He is unable to back down from an argument without having pressed his position to the point of utter exhaustion. He is frequently irritable and often feels hard-done-by and abused.
Mini-me lives in constant fear of failure and seeks endless affirmation.
Mini-me keeps the world at a distance; he has built a strong fortress around himself in the hope of providing a feeling of security in a world he find threatening and uncertain. Yet curiously, mini-me longs to be noticed and to receive the accolades of the world.
When I live out of mini-me I respond with judgment, criticism, bitterness, and resentment. Mini-me tries to make himself feel better by focusing on the shortcomings of others.
Mini-me divides life up into those things, people, events, and situations that I like and those I do not like. Mini-me does everything in his power to diminish those situations I feel are undesirable and to maximize the things I have convinced myself I like.
Mini-me is demanding and rigid. He has high expectations; he knows how things ought to go and is perpetually frustrated because life seldom unfolds exactly as he feels it should.
Mini-me majors in drama and intensity. He is addicted to the adrenalin rush of conflict and the dissension he sows wherever he goes.
Everything in life is about mini-me. Nothing is impartial for mini-me. When it rains it is a personal assault on his happiness and when the sun shines, it is likely going to cloud over and rain at the moment he heads out the door for a picnic. Mini-me can always find someone or something to blame and descends easily and quickly into resentment at the slightest provocation.
Mini-me is always reactive. He is unable to choose to respond freely because he has given up control over his life to the people, circumstances, feelings, and thoughts that have an impact on his life. He is like the steel ball in a Pin-ball machine constantly ricocheting from one side of the game board to another.
Mini-me is tired a lot.
I experience mini-me as an empty pit in my stomach and a tightness in my shoulders. I can hear mini-me in the clipped urgent tone that comes into my voice a times. I know mini-me is surfacing when I find myself rushing and panicky, self-consciously glancing over my shoulder to see what impression I have left behind.
In his “Letter to the Romans” Paul calls mini-me “this body of death” lamenting
Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)
Paul is not equating mini-me with the physical body as if the body itself were inherently bad. Paul is expressing his awareness of the destructive power of mini-me.
Living in mini-me carries painful consequences. Paul says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Mini-me is an instrument of death. Mini-me creates disintegration for me and for any human community into which he is introduced.
There are thousands of little, and sometimes not so little, triggers every day that can trip me over into mini-me. I could make a long list of excuses to justify mini-me’s power in my life. As much as mini-me wants to play the role of victim, when I am honest, I know that mini-me is a choice I make. I could make a different choice. I could chose to live from a different more spacious place of light and life. I know this other “me” exists. The only question is whether I will find my way to this more spacious expansive place.