As suggested by a certain sage of India, a man went about his daily life for years, taking care of the needs of a small business, but inwardly asking, Who Am I? This asking eventually bore fruit. He learned to see himself, and an inner world, as he’d never seen himself before. It wasn’t introspective, it was a pitilessly objective insight.
There is a double-headed seeing possible; the arrow with a point at both ends, one pointed outward, one inward. Eventually it becomes an array of these double headed arrows, that merge into one global awareness of oneself and the world we encounter. But part of the process is seeing oneself as one is, and that takes more courage than people realize. It’s more painful than people realize. But it’s also liberating. We perceive we’re more mechanistic, more selfish, more lost than we knew. Yet, in time, with that strange connected objectivity to aid us, all is well.
And of course there are the false selves, created by our defenses and reactions to conditioning, that one can mistake for the actual self. They may or may not serve a useful function. The dance pose is not the choreographer.