consciousness, spirituality

The Dissolution of My Google Self

Written by Lee Schneider, founder of DocuCinema.

2438agedSpiritual seekers may spend decades working to detach from their ego. Buddha meditated under a Bodhi tree for 49 days when he did it. But I think I’ve managed it in just .2 seconds. All I had to do was Google myself. There are 8,900,000 different results for Lee Schneider. I can already feel my sense of self slipping away into 8.9 million little pieces. In yoga we’re often reminded that it’s a good thing to surrender the ego. Buddhism teaches that the self is only an illusion. But what does that really mean?

thundercatsAs I examine myself under Google’s microscope, I can verify that I was once a writer of “ThunderCats” cartoons. How did I juggle that with my job as project manager at the Computer Sciences Corporation in Dallas/Fort Worth? It seems like a good living, I just don’t remember going into the office this morning.

ls_dallas1

Then again, I do move around. This week I’m living in Alexandria, KY, Morrison, CO and Batavia, OH all at the same time. Perhaps, upon dissolution, my ego is now able to be in several places at once. In his book “Autobiography of a Yogi,” Paramhansa Yogananda described one Swami Pranabananda who was able to do this. That seems like pretty advanced yoga and I don’t think I’m there yet. I’m not even doing handstand anymore.

When I started this blog I said I would never join Facebook. But it looks like I have anyway and I really like horses. facebook1I also like to Twitter, have 124 followers and live in Boston. Whole chunks of my life are kind of different from the life I thought I was living. For instance, I married Elyssa Korez on December 20th, 2008. Sorry, I don’t remember that wedding at all. wedding1Thing is, I’m getting married again in Los Angeles on June 20. Could I be practicing polygamy? I don’t remember being Mormon but then I don’t remember signing up for the Navy Reserves in Auburn, Washington either. windows_lee1I don’t know how I fit the Reserves in with my job as a photographer of tall ships. I published a calendar of them in 2002. It’s for sale at Amazon, anyway, and it has my name on it.

In Buddhism it’s said that attachment to ego leads to suffering. Right now, I’m getting the opposite effect. As my ego splits apart I’m hyperventilating.

If people are looking for me online, they might connect with one of my other selves instead of the one typing this right now. What is my name good for if so many others are using it? I need to run an online background check on myself to get back in touch with who I really am, but that costs $39.95.find-myself

Maybe finding myself isn’t as easy as clicking on a link. Maybe I’m not ready to completely surrender my ego, but if I nudge it out of the way a little I might have better access to the interior life that goes on whether my Google ranking looks good or not.

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11 thoughts on “The Dissolution of My Google Self

  1. Bob Ellal says:

    Hi Lee,

    Very interesting piece. I’m lucky, there are only a couple of “Ellals” in the world; only one other named “Bob” and he’s not on the ‘Net (my father). So I haven’t experienced your “fragmentation” of the self.

    Speaking of the self and ego…I’ve practiced a form of Chinese qigong, energy work, for 15 years. I’ve studied Buddhist and Taoist literature as a result and find it difficult to see how those philosophies can apply at all times in the modern world. Surrender the ego? Wouldn’t you also be surrendering creativity as well?

    The Taoist philosophy of yielding and not striving makes more sense to me, but there are times when you have to strive and not yield. At least in my experience.

    I’m not a scholar of these philosophies, of course, so maybe I have to go deeper to really understand.

    Good article–you made me think.

    Bob

    • Hi Bob,

      You make a very good point about creativity and the ego. Worth investigating in another blog or your next book! Of course, there are those who believe that we are merely containers or conduits for the Great Creative. Personality or ego don’t figure into it at all. In focused moments of doing something creative I detach from time, people, food, etc. That’s not the same as surrendering ego but I do feel like I’m connecting with something bigger than myself. Good comment – you made me think.

  2. So interesting you bring this up… I recently set myself on a “Google Alert” to email whenever my name comes up on the web… Apparently I’m a troubled, ethnic-minority union in Burma engaged in an armed struggle for independence. Oy! No wonder I’m single. LOL

  3. Hi Lee,

    I agree that it is disturbing to find someone else with an identity that we thought was ours alone, and something completely unique. Freaky. Maybe meditating under a tree will help with the detachment, but until then, weird!

    Great article!
    Ingrid

  4. Hi Lee,

    Got a kick out of your piece.
    When I was a boy, I hated my unusual name. Really
    wanted to be a Dave, or Mike or Bill…anything but
    Lynton, which got shortened to the really embarrassing “girl’s name”, Lyn.

    Act 2. Enter Google. Seems I’m the only Lynton Gardiner that Google knows of..and I guess that’s
    at least helpful I suppose.
    The flip side of the virtual your living all over the place
    is that this Lynton really is living all over the place
    these days. NYC, SC, CA, the other CA, etc. No fixed address…except for a fixed IP address maybe…but maybe it’s floating too. Oh, dear..
    Gotta go.

    L

    • Good luck, Lynton. It’s challenging being on the move! You’re lucky to have an original name for Google purposes, though I know that can be tough when one is younger. My given name is Leland – unique, yes, but good for a laugh from the other third graders.

  5. Hi,
    I saw your piece when it first came out (nicely done)…because of the tags regarding Paramhansa Yogananda. Nice photo of Santa Monica, too. Just saying hello from a fellow seeker…
    Joy!
    Mary K

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