The Best Version of Yourself is Not Separate

Question: How do I become the best version of myself? How do I become my best me?

Michael Richardson-Borne: How do you become anything? You either set a goal and imagine an illusionary self-authored pathway to transformation, or you see through the veil and relax and let life happen in the way it is going to with or without your perceived effort. The latter is what I call non-separation.

Which way will life lead you in this moment?

Q: I don’t know. I’m just interested in becoming my best me.

MR-B: Take a look at the object that you perceive is becoming. Is it a sliver of the totality living independently? Or is the totality living the sliver without the sliver taking notice? How does being reminded that the best version of yourself is not separate from anything impact your viewpoint on the mirage of personal achievement? Can you accept that everything causes everything by a process that is not run by a particular causality, but by an impersonal mass causality?

Q: Can we slow down for a second? What is it that you hear when I say “best me?”

MR-B: Sure. When you say “best,” the first response that comes is, “best compared to what?” Have you ever followed the psychological dominoes of “worst” to their source to find what lives at the other end of your conceptual polarity? Is there anything there of substance? Or are both sides of this spectrum imaginary – set within an awareness that is not at all concerned with either? What is this thing that you are unknowingly separating out that can be attached to the definitions of your imagination? Try to locate the foundational division that is the starting place for your attachment to the concepts “best” and “me.” Locate this division and you are one step away from non-separation.

Q: I’m not following you. Can you say more?

MR-B: In order for there to be a “best me,” an assumption of separation is a necessity – an independent existence must decipher itself, believe the deciphering is real, and then, using some kind of vague comparative mechanism, come up with a concept that would qualify as “best me.” This simple, but unrecognized, process is how the culture of separation functions. It’s all just a fictional extraction from the totality that is given absolute status by the intellect. None of the concepts, or individuals, in your mind, exist in the way that you think they do.

The true self can know itself, but it cannot become better or worse. Ask yourself this question: How can you be responsible for becoming the best version of a self that is being lived instead of doing the living?

Q: I do a lot of personal growth work – workshops, coaching, therapy, reading self-help books, etc. Are you saying this is all a waste of time?

MR-B: No. It’s fine doing personal growth exploration, especially if you understand who’s doing it. Understand the mechanism of activity that is your exploration and you will understand who you really are.

Many spiritual teachers encourage personal growth exercises as a means of holding one’s attention until the real work is ready to begin. Eventually, you will grow tired of decorating the ego and remaining empty in some way. You will grow exhausted of all the effort that leaves you still wanting peace.

Personal growth is like trying to put jewelry on a ghost. It will never hold. The jewelry will always just fall to the ground no matter how delicately you try to place it. But you need the ghost there in order to realize this. The trick is to see that the ghost does not need to be decorated, it just needs to be understood for what it is – a story that is real because it’s observable, but has no independent existence of its own.

Q: Personally, what is your best me?

MR-B: Since there is only one self, can we classify that as the best? Does best exist when it doesn’t have an opposite? If so, I am that.

What you think of as the best me isn’t real, while what I think of as the best me is living the story of what you think of as your best me. Let me say that again. What you think of as the best me isn’t real, while what I think of as the best me is living the story of what you think of as your best me.

The best version of myself is always looking at itself. The best version of your self is looking at a world outside of itself.

Q: If the “best me” isn’t real, why is society so concerned with promoting it as life’s ultimate goal?

MR-B: When becoming a “best me” is the pinnacle of existence, you know you are living in a deeply self-absorbed world, right? “Society” is dominated by its lowest common denominator – the assumption of a separate self. Since this primary assumption of separation is seen as real, our intention unconsciously remains blinded by the desire to maintain this separation. What better way to do this than to focus one’s attention solely on protecting and developing a personal story that is impressive to a separate self and a separated other?

Becoming a respectable individual that shines inside of a collection of individuals is as far as the separate self can see with its limited vision of truth and the good life. When one has only ever recognized the personal as real, an obsession develops with the happenings of what is thought of as personal dramas and relationships, as these are the only things that a life of separation consists of.

Non-separation is the recognition that life’s ultimate goal can be whatever it is – but it will never be anyone’s to live.

Q: Most people are not even worried about becoming their best self. So how does anyone understand what you are saying about non-separation? Why would they care? There are a lot of really smart people out there. If what you are suggesting is true, why don’t more people believe it?

MR-B: There is nothing to believe about non-separation. So, the intellect isn’t always necessarily a help in the journey of awakening. The proof you are looking for exists in a remembrance. It is not a figuring out. And it is most definitely not a new belief system.

Q: Yes. But, what would happen if every person on the planet suddenly became their best me? Wouldn’t that be, or lead to, non-separation?

MR-B: Nothing can lead to non-separation. Non-separation already is.

A world filled with highly functioning egos is not non-separation – it’s a world that is still built on the assumption of a separate self. Can you see what I’m pointing to? A culture of superstars has little to do with reality or the truth of a pre-existing unity that is living us. What you’re suggesting is an image in your mind where you’ve extended the story of separation that has been fed to you since birth into your version of a utopian conclusion.

This image is being lived by non-separation, but it is not an endpoint. It is not a still life of what the final product of non-separation will look like because there is no final product. Remember, the best version of yourself is not separate. What you are truly searching for is already looking you directly in the face in this very moment.