At the risk of repeating myself, while you experience these ‘me’s’ as real, the truth is they are just images in your mind that you feel and experience, by choice or otherwise, as you. Now, as I’ve already said, these self-images will change over time but some are more durable than others. Take, for example, a person whose parents constantly told her, when growing up, that she was a failure. It is more probable than not that this person will grow up with self-images such as ‘little me’ and ‘useless me.’ So, what can she do in order to overcome her sense of self as a failure? First, she needs to know that it is possible to let go of these false selves (note: they are false because they are not who she really is). Secondly, she will change for the better---sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly---when she learns to live her life relying solely upon the power of her personhood, which is a power-not-oneself that we all have. Then, and only then, will she come to experience herself as a person among persons as opposed to one or more of those false and illusory selves with which she so closely identified herself for so many years in the past. In short, the woman hands over---that is, surrenders her false selves---to what she, as a person, can do.
Now, back to our Zen story. The distraught man wants to discover, that is, experience, his ‘true self.’ The teacher refuses to answer the man. The man pleads and begs, but to no avail. Finally, giving up in frustration---note those words ‘giving up,’ for they are so very important---the man turns to leave. At that moment---yes, at that exact moment---the master calls out to him by name. (The teacher was very smart, for he realized that the man had 'let go' and was therefore now ready to know and experience the truth.) ‘Bill Taylor?’, he says. ‘Yes!’, says the man as he turns back around. ‘There it is!’ exclaimed the master.
You see, for the very first time in his life this man came to see and experience himself as he really was---as a person among persons. He experienced enlightenment. That means he---woke up! Yes, he woke up to what in truth he really was. He was not those many false selves (‘me’s) which in the past he mistakenly believed to be the real person that he was.
This is a very powerful story. Never forget it. More importantly, never forget the ‘moral’ of the story, namely, that what to you, in you, is you is NEVER what in truth you are.
Real personal transformation come when we get real, that is, when we start to think, act and live from our personhood as a person among persons. And remember this---there is no human problem that is not common to other persons among persons.