We all play many parts in life: daughter or son, sister or brother,
parent, boss, employee, leader, assistant, friend. We also play
many different characters, sometimes in a single day: we can be a
hero at work and an average Joe at home, or vice versa. But what
if beyond all those parts and characters, there is a more fundamental
role you can play—your true self, the you who is uniquely you?
What if you were so familiar with this role that you were completely
comfortable with yourself and at ease in all circumstances?
There’s a wonderful story about a rabbi who dies and goes to
heaven. He has led a devoted life, following as closely as he could in
the footsteps of the prophets and sages, and so, naturally, he expects
God to greet him with praise. But when the rabbi arrives at the
pearly gates, God just looks at him and says, “I made you uniquely
you. Why did you spend your life trying to be someone else?”
This book is a guide to being yourself. The reflections, practices,
and inspirational quotations are designed to assist you in
becoming who you really are. Only you can answer the question
posed in the title: What’s it like being you? But in these pages, you
can explore a variety of approaches to help you connect with your
First and foremost, this book is practical, aimed at giving you the
experience of living in your true self as both a spiritual practice
and an antidote to the stress of modern life. We now have
conclusive evidence that stress has serious health consequences,
weakening the immune system, damaging the heart, and affecting
memory cells in the brain—just for starters. In a recent New York
Times article, neuroscientist Bruce S. McEwen of Rockefeller
University pointed out:
We’re now living in a world where our systems are
not allowed a chance to rest, to go back to base line.
They’re being driven by excess calories, by
inadequate sleep, by lack of exercise, by smoking, by
isolation, or frenzied competition.
But there is truly no rush to go anywhere. Nobody is leaving
this earth alive. The true self waits patiently for us to come to it.
So why not slow down and enjoy the path of self-discovery?
Lao Tsu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, said: “In the pursuit of
learning, every day something is acquired, and in the pursuit
of spirit, every day something is dropped.” It is my hope that in
addition to gaining something from reading this book, you will also
come away feeling lighter and freer from having let something go.
The false self (everything that is not truly you) is what you
s u render in the process of becoming who you are. When you strip
away the opinions and postures and addictions of the ego-driven
personality, what remains is the role of a lifetime—playing yourself.
You can start anytime. Why not right now? As you move away
from the self-defeating patterns of the false self, you move closer
to the source of nourishment and renewal. Here in the true self—
the Soul—we find Spirit, and we come alive.
The following words are used interchangeably
throughout the book:
False self, personality, ego
True self, Soul
The John-Roger quotations on the left-hand pages
are designed to assist you in attuning to the true self.