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  • Catherine Schultz, Ph.D.

False ‘Sense’ of Self

Posted on March 11, 2010|

Well, the winter blues are finally dissipating here in Asheville. My husband and I were one of the lucky one’s who were able to obtain a Wii system to keep us occupied (perhaps too much!) while we awaited sun and bloom.

One of the most provocative spiritual insights I realized was through playing a Wii game called “Zelda-Twilight Princess”. It is a fascinating fantasy adventure where the main character, a hero which you name, enters a series of complex dungeons and landscapes on a quest to save his land and people.

The graphics and interactivity with the Wii system is absolutely amazing in terms of it’s detail. For example, if there is a rumbling sound in the game, the Wii remote also vibrates giving an additional 3-dimensional experience to the player. There is a sensation of one as a player actually being part of an elaberate, graphically beautiful fantasy ‘movie’ such as Lord of the Rings, Eragon etc.

And this is where the insight unfolded. Through the course of playing, I observed how my brain and nervous system created a ‘self’ attached to my character, Catoun. I would say ‘this happened to me’ in describing events that occurred in the game. There was upset and frustration when “I” could not adequately fight or negotiate an obstacle quick enough or thoroughly enough to ‘survive’ and fell off an abyss and ‘died’. Like all good movies, soap operas, games … ‘I’ was quickly reincarnated, ready to fight another good fight.

From my perspective, this was a dramatic example of how the brain functions in terms of identifying a sense of self with the physical body, calls it ‘I’ and identifies with various events that are occuring as happening to a ‘me’. It was amazing to see how effortless this transference occurred to another mental object. This is not to say that the physical body is not an aspect of one self, but to the degree the brain identifies wholly with it as such, the insight into this dynamic was invaluable.

What if you, right now, saw yourself as a Wii character living a rich storyline that has a beginning, middle and end? What would remain? Would ‘you’ still be here?   Such an inquiry has the potential for supporting the recognition of one of two qualities of  One Self – which is the essence of bliss – Eternal Nothingness that never changes. The other quality, Fullness of Form or Being, we will explore at a later date.

Try the experiment!

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