Actions ≠ Self – The river we are.

I was having a comment exchange with a fellow wordpress blogger, and I came decidedly to a conclusion while writing a comment back to her.

“It is important to remember that our actions are not each individually reflective of us as a whole, but the other way round, we as a whole person reflect on each of our actions, and sometimes our choices as individual actions will not align with who we are as a whole.”

You are not your actions, even though your actions do reflect on you.
I think this is a very important distinction. Many of us become very down on ourselves when we think that we have made a poor choice.
Sometimes to the point of focusing on that single choice over other things we could be doing (even things that could bring enrichment to our lives).
It is because we are thinking of the choice as being far more important, and reflective of us than what it really is, just one in a series of choices.

We also talked about emotions, and changing the self, and I was thinking about that saying from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

“Have you heard the statement “you can never step in the same river twice”? It’s not exactly true, but it [true] is in another sense, because the water in the river is always moving and changing, but its embankment changes very slowly. It takes lifetimes in fact for rocks to move and breakdown.
So too with us, we have some very stable elements to ourself, but some that change all the time. We’re neither as fast changing, nor as slow changing, as the river, for humans both aspects are a middle ground.
Our emotions though, are like the water, they are the fastest changing element of our ‘self’.”

Our choices are also like the river. A stream of things which shifts every day, which provide opportunities for change everyday, and the flow of which will slowly shift our ’embankment’, the foundations for our life or[/and] who we are.

Our actions are not who we are, but they do contribute to who we are, rarely do they overflow our banks, because our choices usually follow the steady flow of the path we have already carve, but little by little they can shift in a different direction. Likewise, we can have a ‘flood’ and experience radical shifts in our self or life, having to carve out an entirely new path.
(I think I rather like this metaphor, it can encompass both the small subtle changes, and the rapid ones that happen.)

What do you think?


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