Parts of You
The other day I attended a short lecture introducing Internal Family Systems Theory and was immediately struck by how, in many ways, similar it is to the Ten Worlds Theory and further, Ichinen Sanzen or 3000 Conditions of Mind in a Moment of Existence.
Now mind you this was only an introduction to Internal Family Systems so I am not an expert and am only able to present what I understood from the lecture.
Briefly the idea is that our lives, or what we call our actions or personalities and such are more accurately understood as only parts of a greater whole. At the center of an individuals life is a core with qualities such as “calmness, compassion, connection, confidence, curiosity, clarity, courage, creativity” and so forth. The Self as we commonly refer to ourselves and each other is composed of many parts that surround this central core self.
So instead of thinking of a person or oneself as angry, or anxious, or lonely, or any number of other what we might consider different than those understood as being compassionate and so forth, the theory states that anger is only a part of the person, or anxiousness is only a part of the person. These parts serve functions either for self protection, survival, they may serve a function of ‘managing’ our selves or ‘firefighting’ but they are not the total of who we are. Some of these parts may even be so painful that we may have forgotten or lost conscious awareness of their existence in our lives.
Again, this is only a brief introductory explanation of how this theory looks at the self as being a combination of many parts. When I was thinking about this after the lecture I was struck by how we think about the Ten Worlds theory. About how a person may be in the world of Anger and yet in that same moment exists the potential for the manifestation of any of the other Ten Worlds.
Anyway my point of sharing this is just to consider how modern personality and system theorists are actually uncovering and giving new words and ways of talking about ancient Buddhist teachings.
So you are no longer an angry person it is just the angry part of you is being expressed. You are no longer a sad person it is just the sad part of you expressing itself. And just as there is that currently being expressed part of yourself there exists other parts which may help soothe or understand the part being expressed. Just as if we are in the World of Hell, we understand that other worlds are equally potential and all we need to do is to understand the nature of our suffering and then identify ways we can make new causes for better effects.