The self is a mental construct that enables our survival and simplifies our relationship with the world. Although it's necessary for navigating the human condition, it's also the cause of much suffering. What we call the self is a dynamic interplay of interconnected experiences including the mind, the body and our interactions with the material world. Through practice, we can learn to navigate the self with greater mindfulness and self-compassion so that we can meet our experiences more skillfully.
Mindfulness practice is filled with paradoxes - things that seems absurd or antithetical at first glance, but upon closer inspection, turn out to be true. They provide powerful lessons that things aren't always as they seem and prompt us to look more closely at our experiences.
The cultivation of mindfulness is just one crucial step in our journey toward greater balance. Radical self-acceptance allows us to bring our whole selves to our experience so that we can respond skillfully to what is here. It encourages us to face facts, have an honest and direct relationship with ourselves and our lives, and ultimately become the lamp that guides us along the path to greater peace and freedom.
Though we are often encouraged to take pride in our accomplishments or the groups we associate ourselves with, this self-conscious emotion can become an obstacle and lead to suffering. Mindfulness can help us cultivate more skillful states of mind that have a greater likelihood of leading to lasting happiness.
Can mindfulness help free us from the discomfort of self-consciousness? When we cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion, we can liberate ourselves from the tyranny of "I, me and mine", making space to live with greater authenticity.