Thinking About Myself in the Third Person

How ego-death cured my eating disorder for good

a woman with pink hair and a white top holding a dove, her face is fractured into many pieces that are floating around her head, and where her face would normally be is the night sky with stars
Ego Death by Full Metal Jacki

“We therefore develop this curious thing: we develop a thing which is called an ego(…) what we call our ego is something abstract, which is to say it has the same order and kind of reality as an hour, or an inch, or a pound, or a line of longitude. It is for purposes of discussion, it is for convenience. In other words, it is a social convention…

But the fallacy that all of us make is that we treat it as if it were a physical organ. As if it were real in that sense, when in fact it is composed, on the one hand, of our image of ourselves (…) this image of ourselves is obviously not ourselves anymore than an idea of a tree is a tree, anymore than you can get wet in the word ‘water.’ And to go on with our image of ourselves is extremely inaccurate and incomplete.

So the image I have of myself is a caricature. It is arrived at through, mainly, my interaction with other people who tell me who I am, in various ways, either directly or indirectly. And I play about with what their picture is of me, and they play something back to me, so we set up this conception. And this started very, very early in life.” — Alan Watts, The Inevitable Ecstasy

a pathway through a park at night, the bushes and grass shining vivid green under the light of a streetlamp
Where it all happened, Cremorne

What is anxiety? What is perfectionism? What is an eating disorder? How do they work?

“So I turned myself to face me,
But I never caught a glimpse
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test”

— David Bowie, Changes

The face of a woman dissolving into what looks like the sea, sky and space
Dissolution of the Ego by Olga Klimova

I had thought this was me. I thought that if I could control this character, if I could perfect her in the eyes of others, I would be happy. And so I would constantly be struggling with the discrepancy of my first person experience of life, and the way I believed people perceived this image. Trying to fix a first person experience, by thinking about myself in third person.

“And if you will feel it — the going on, which includes absolutely everything you feel — well, whatever that is, it’s what the Chinese call Tao, or what the Buddhists call ‘suchness,’ or tathātā. And it’s a happening. It doesn’t happen to you, because where is that? You — what you call you — is part of the happening, or an aspect of it. It has no parts; it’s not like a machine (…)

So you have this process — which is quite spontaneous — going on. We call it life. It’s controlling itself! It’s aware of itself. It’s aware of itself through you. You are an aperture through which the universe looks at itself. And because it’s the universe looking at itself through you, there’s always an aspect of itself that it can’t see.” — Alan Watts

“The question “What shall I do?” has now disappeared. It should have disappeared in the beginning. Because there wasn’t any real I, there was just the happening. And so that question brings us back again to the experience itself, see?

That’s the only way that you can answer the question: is from the experience. You would say, “what would happen if?” The answer is only: “You must feel it. Then you’ll know.”
The Inevitable Ecstasy, Alan Watts

a psychedelic man sits merging with nature underneath the planet earth, on the top of his head there is an eye and there are vibrations connecting him with everything
Gratitude for the Earth, by Cameron Gray

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“The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds” — Cloud Atlas