The Self that Watches the Other Selves, from Imam Bilal

The Self That Watches the Other Selves

In the night, as I lay half awake, my other selves came out together and began whispering to each other.

First Self: “Here, in this mad man, I have dwelt all these many years with nothing else to do but renew his pain and recreate his sorrow. I am his Real Self.”

Second Self: “Yours is not a better claim than mine, friend, for it is given to me to be this mad man’s joyous self. I laugh his laughter, I sing the songs of his happiness and with winged feet I dance his brightest thoughts. It is I who would be his Only Self.”

Third Self: “And what of me, the Love Sick Self, burning his heart a thousand times by fanning the flames of wild infatuations and fantastic desires. It is I, the Love Sick Self, who is his Broken. Secret.”

Fourth Self: “I, amongst you all, do nothing but poison him with loathing and destruction. I am Self Hatred, born in the darkest depth of his soul; I alone must be his True Self.”

Fifth Self: “No, it is I the Illusional Self, the self of insatiable hungers and thirst never satisfied. I am the one doomed to wander without rest in search of contentment. It is I, Self Delusion, who should be his Essential Self.”

Sixth Self: “But I am the Working Self who labors with patient hands, who fashions the days and gives form to the formless. I am, in fact, his Actual Self.”

Seventh Self: “How strange”, I thought, “that each and every one of you has a pre-determined fate to fulfill, but I have none. While all of you are always so busy recreating the life of this world, I am siting in silence, empty, no where, no when. I am the Nothing Self.”

When the Seventh Self spoke thus, the six other selves said nothing. And in the quiet hours, one after the other fell asleep enfolded in a peaceful surrender. But the Seventh Self remained awake, gazing through the night.

Honoris Causa “The Seven Selves” by Kahlil Gibran
Imam Bilal Hyde
Albany, California
July 2, 2019