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Sufi teachings speak of the “commanding self,” Christianity of deceitful interior “friends,” and virtually all other religions hold forth the idea that we have many “I’s” or divergent personalities within us, and also that some of these selves are for us and some against us. My term “Temporary Person in Charge” describes the appearance of various yet familiar “I’s” that appear within us to respond to the ever-changing flow of life. Key to grasp here is that each newly surfacing “I” we take as being our true self isn’t conscious to us until some problem presents itself. With our once shaky sense of “I” vested in this new and commanding “I” (that knows what needs to be done to put life aright), we again feel in control of our lives.
What remains unseen by us is that each of these false “I’s” is, in reality, a kind of shadow self — its actual nature little more than a temporary substructure of thought fashioned from the content of our own past experience. What this means is that this “self” — which seems to solve our problems — is, in fact, a part of the problems’ recurring appearance. Think about this deeply: The self that resists any other self is itself an extension of the self it is resisting. This is why we must stay awake and work to remain in the present moment. If we can remain observant to the appearance and running around of these vagrant “I’s” – as opposed to identifying with one of them – we can be free of their limiting influences.