Our "sense of self" is as unique to us as our fingerprints. It represents an accumulation of beliefs -- conscious and unconscious -- about how we perceive our relative worthiness, lovability, and personal power. Based on trial and error, we unwittingly and automatically estimate our rank in the pecking order and how attachment-worthy we think we are.
Most of us are not even aware of that voice that lives inside us, viciously so. Unfortunately, I have been in a long-term abusive relationship with my Inner Critter for years. My Inner Critter poses as an Ivy League tweed-clad professor, and I tend to assign immediate power to anyone boasting to have a "smart" bespectacled academic Joycean opinion, especially about writing.
It was during a meditation retreat thirty-five years ago that Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living, Wherever You Go, There You Are, and other books had a vision that shaped his life's work. This meditative insight, a mere ten seconds long, led to the creation of an entire clinical program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center which came to be known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, also known as MBSR. This powerful program takes the form of an eight-week course, which utilizes the ancient practices of yoga and meditation in order to improve the quality of one's life and health. Dr. Kabat-Zinn has spoken to sold out audiences around the world about the power of the present moment and how to access it using MBSR amidst the seeming chaos of our daily lives.
I think in our culture, events tend to seem separate from other events in our lives. The only similarity is that they are connected through the person experiencing them. We place a great emphasis on what we do, not what happens to us. Things have to happen the right way and because of our own doing.