Lower Self: The Ten Thousand I`s

The lower self is a collection of attitudes, dreams, and mechanical habits that dwell within a man. There is not an unchangeable ‘I’ that is always the same. Rather, a man's many thoughts, emotions and sensations are his ‘many I`s’, which are traditionally numbered as ten thousand. As the ten thousand I's randomly assert themselves, each one mistakenly takes itself to be 'real I', and moreover, constantly interferes with the effort to simply Be Present. Jesus Christ said, "Thine enemies shall be they of your own household."


Gurdjieff: Man is a plurality. Man's name is legion.

Christian tradition--The Bible, Mark 5 - 9: And Jesus asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

Sufii tradition-- Darqawi (17th c. Moroccan Sufi): There exist ten thousand worlds, and all these are contained in man, without his being conscious of it.

Liu Yiming (18th c. Taoist master) The Inner Teachings of Taoism: As acquired conditioning runs affairs, mundanity (yin) increases and the celestial (yang) retreats, day after day, year after year. Inwardly, the ten thousand thoughts cause trouble, outwardly the thousand things coerce.

Zen Buddhist tradition-- Bodhidharma (First Partriarch of Chinese Zen Buddhism. 6th c.): Near and yet you cannot see them. This is the nature of the ten thousand things.

Sufi tradition -- Hafiz (14th c. Persian Sufi poet): It is always a danger to the aspirant on the path when one begins to believe and act as if the ten thousand idiots who so long ruled and lived inside have all packed their bags and skipped town or died.

Christian tradition -- The Bible, Psalms 3-6: I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set [themselves] against me round about.






Rustum slaying the many-faced dragon. (16th C. Persian)



Manjoun watching a battle inside his head. (Persian miniature)



Indian picture of an elephant, symbolizing man`s animal nature, made up of
the many 'I's, under control.
(Victoria and Albert museum, London)



Buddha ignores the many I's and defeats Mara. (3rd C. BC.) 「Click to enlarge」