It is my hope to share with you many facets of my composite experience. I want to put the wide variety of traditions, teachings, non-teachings, religions, science, etc. that I have played with into perspective. The essential core of all of them is very, very simple and straight forward. It is not meant to be complicated. It is my desire to simplifynot to complicate.
So before we start you need to know and to remember that many of the things we talk about are beyond words. They are beyond explanation. They are beyond the comprehension of our brains.
We value our brain so much because it protects us. It takes care of us. We’ve been with our brains since the time they were born. Obviously we have to listen to our brains for all kinds of regular things that we do on a day to day basis such as what we’re going to eat, what kind of work we’re doing, where we’re going to go, how we’re going to entertain ourselvesall kinds of things of this nature. But when it comes to figuring out who we are, what this thing that we call “I” is, the brain can’t help us.
And that’s where the problem comes in. We try to do all kinds of things with our mind, with our brain. But to try to figure out the things we’re talking about here is beyond the ability of the mind.
We ask questions. What is god? What is creation? Where do we come from? Where do I fit in? What is all this about? We try to figure these things out. We read books and we go to different teachers. We ask questions and we want answers. Sometimes we join certain religions. We follow all the different instructions and rules of these religions. And still something is missing.
Something is missing and we can’t put it into words.
We don’t know why something is missing. We do what we are told. We pray and we read the appropriate scriptures. We do penances and we sing songs. We do and we do. We do all these things right and somehow something is still missing. Nothing really explains how we feel about the things that truly matter.
Some of us change teachers. Some of us read different books. Some of us decide to go to the Himalayas. Some of us decide to become monks. We decide to join this group or to follow that path.
We are searching and searchingalways looking to another being to tell us something that we think we don’t know. We go from one teacher to another. Sometimes our hearts get wounded because we give so much of ourselves to the search. Then things happen so that once again we intuitively know that these teachings are not quite right. Again we are not satisfied. We find ourselves saying something like, “If I want to, I can pray in the park or on the beach. I don’t have to go to this church. I don’t have to be doing all these things.”
This voice comes from inside of us,
but we don’t pay much attention to it.
We dismiss the voice. After all, how dare we contradict what we have been told. How could we know just as much or maybe even more than all those learned people that have been telling us that they know all these different things!
Then we have fear. We have fear of what we’ve been told might happen if we don’t do certain things the way they have been prescribed. We may go to hell, or purgatory, or some other fearsome state for the rest of our time in this universe. So we have all this turmoil.
But if we stand back for a moment,
we can ask ourselves a fundamental question:
Who am I?
Who is this being that I refer to on a daily basis as “I?” I am driving my car. I am going to school. I am doing my job. I believe in certain things. I am searching for something. But who is this I? What is it?
We spend a lot of time asking other people “who are you?” And they tell us, “I am so and so.” They give us their name, their accomplishments, their occupations, how many children they have, where they were born, and all kinds of information about themselves. Basically they are describing what they have done with their bodies and minds. This is how they classify themselves. And this is how we have been taught to describe ourselves. As time passes, we tend to identify more and more with our occupations, our families, our successes and our failures.
And it comes to pass
that we have solidly identified ourselves
with all of our descriptions.
But all this identification is still just identification with the forman identification with the body, an identification with the mind, an identification with the definitions of the mind.
And we stop there.
We stop there and, through conditioning and through all that we have done, we believe that who we are is what we touch, what we feel, our personalities, our emotions, our accomplishments and our social status.
But we are something
much, much more than that.
We are something so much more
than just the body and the mind.
WHO AM I?
Will I ever know the truth of me?
Will I ever find one solid unchanging thing of me?
Is there an unchanging part of me?
Or am I a flow of electrons, a stream of energy,
a nebulous filament of shifting consciousness
not a person, nothing solid at all?
I used to know who I am. Now I do not.
I stop asking the question
and turn to what seems real to me
somehow I am.
Someday it will be said of me, “she is not.”
But “I am not” is impossible for me to say.
The most basic truth I know is that I am.
And however that came to be, I am grateful.
However long these moments of being last,
I am grateful.