In the previous post, we discussed identity as being the idea we hold of our self. We also discussed the concept of the Eidolon and what that means. If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to look it over now.
I also left you with a two-part exercise. Part one, list traits that would be in a class that defines yourself. And part two, propose the most elegant solution to a difficulty that you experience. Jot these down on a sheet of paper. We do this to get a high-level view of where we are starting. Next, we are going to discuss how assessing the self-image, internal narrative, experience of life, and behaviors we want to see expressed in our self can get us closer to being that person.
The Eidolon Process
First, we’ll begin with self-image. This is simply a question of how you see yourself. It is very important to have a positive self-image. A negative self-image is draining and causes us to turn inward harmfully. With life as stressful as it is, we certainly do not need the added burden of seeing ourselves in a poor light. Positive self-image, on the other hand, is a motivating force and allows one to more fully access their own potential. We will choose an archetype to define ourselves by, or enhance an archetype that may already be applicable to us. Do you want to see yourself as a fighter? As a healer? What does it mean to honestly call yourself this thing?
Let’s move on to my internal narrative. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect to define or designate an identity around because it is so variable. Not only might I not hold the same narrative today as I might a year from now, but my conscious and subconscious chatter changes even minute-by-minute. This is because narratives are an aspect of stories, and stories change over time. Generally speaking, however, a story may hold a consistent theme and a consistent plot. In my head, what type of story do I want to live? A redemption tale? A heroic saga?
Experience of Life
Next, we continue by asking what experience I want of life. Suffice to say I would like it to be a good one. But what qualifies “good”? Since this is only about how I self-identify, describing a good experience through external objects and sensations is not very helpful. Rather, it makes more sense to discuss what I think a good experience is. Good is very subjective, and one’s way of life can easily shape what one calls good or bad. It can even help decide what one’s tolerance level is to a bad experience. Maybe I would be pleased to identify with a zero tolerance take on certain actions against me. Or maybe I would enjoy myself as one who finds happiness in meager situations.
Finally, we can discuss behaviors. Of what I’ve discussed, behavior is the only one that has both an interior and exterior element. You own your behaviors, but others have to suffer them if they are poor. This makes things both simpler and easier than with the above because while behaviors are easier to define than the experience of life, they are very numerous. For simplicity sake, we’ll create a series of character traits and situations to bundle up our behaviors in. Something like “cool under pressure” which defines someone who isn’t just level headed, but specifically when it hits the fan. They might be a party animal or a panicky mess the rest of the day, but in that one situation, they have it all together. Do I want to be kind without pretense? Aggressive when confronted?
What This Looks Like
If you’ve been following along, you may have found it extremely hard to pinpoint exactly how you want to be in your Eidolon. In theory, if you could answer those question and live by the answers, you could train yourself into the type of person you’d like to identify as. That is much more easily said than done, however. Human life is far too varied to account for the twists, turns, and nuanced scenarios it would take to simply outline who you actually intend to behave and feel like. Life is just not ideal. However, our personal description is. What we’ve created is an idealized version of our self. This isn’t just whom we want to be, but since we are defining our identity as a spiritual element, it’s also whom we’re meant to be, and are truly intended to be.
Now I’ve had the opportunity to collect a series of ideas that supposedly point the person I want to become and the identity I wish to assume.
- For me personally, I like to model my self-image after the term “warrior poet”. It is apropos since I still identify with my practices both as a martial artist and as a writer. More meaningfully it sings a song of balance between two types of temperance.
- I would like my internal narrative to follow a theme of self-discovery and a solid plot based around a personal quest. This quest would determine my personal missions and my devotion. I’ll discuss with that devotion is later.
- I want my experience of life to be filled with challenge, but not struggle. A sense of well-earned abundance that comes without guilt or entitlement.
- In my behavior, I prefer discipline over spontaneity, gregariousness in social situations, compassion over confrontation, but courage in adversity.
Still with me? We now have a good idea of what we want ourselves to be under perfect conditions, even though we fully you know that perfect conditions don’t exist. It helps to provide us some direction either environment we’d want to excel in. We may not be able to reproduce perfect conditions, but we can certainly stage the environment to be more similar to where our Eidolon would thrive. This series of conditions, along with the Eidolon itself, comprises of our personal ideology. This is the sum amount of ideas and ideals that guide us and our personal philosophy which can be codified and practiced. These precepts are key in manifesting the person that you want to become because it is, in effect, an unwritten manifesto.
I’ve made a lot of statements in the name of reinventing myself. It would be unreasonable to expect each of these to be maintained by sheer force of will. It is important to give flesh these out further and more fully visualize them. In the next post, I will investigate tools to both inform and reinforce the decisions I came up here. This will move us further toward embodying the traits we pick out when using this process.