Seeing Where We Are
We have, since the time of the proverbial garden of Eden, been making
a very fundamental, yet unconscious assumption. We have assumed that
all our thoughts and interpretations and conclusions and ideas that
we have about ourselves actually constitute who we are. This is a logical
outgrowth of our whole method of investigating the world that has served
us so well in matters such as building houses, getting food and water,
and inventing the airplane.
Since we ate of the apple of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil we have pursued knowledge. How could knowledge of good and evil
be a bad thing? It's not. Mostly, of course, knowledge is a very very
good thing. But if we think that we can, by means of the thinking mind,
get at the reality of who we are, then we can be said to have strayed
out of that proverbial garden, into a kind of a quagmire.
Who we think we are is inherently limited. Who we really are, is something
that cannot be reached through concepts. Who we really are, is what
is there unmoving when the concept-making process pauses for a moment.
It's what never changes while our thoughts and emotions move us from
happiness to impatience to grief to satisfaction and on and on. Who
we really are is what is the same no matter whether we're feeling good
about ourselves or not, no matter where we decide to live, who we decide
to marry or not to marry, or what kind of person we are. There is an
unchanging core in us that is completely out of the reach of any idea
we might have about it, even this one.
This becomes terribly relevant as we spend our lives trying to find
ourselves in, and bolster ourselves up through outer things; by being
successful, through our relationships, our children, by being who we
"should" be, or by rebelling. Those things don't satisfy us
in the end, and it becomes neurotic as we try to accumulate more money,
finally find the one right relationship, surpass the neighbor's accomplishments
or possessions, or crush whatever seeming enemy is on our horizon.
What we are looking for in all these activities is already in existence,
like the silence in which sound occurs. Like the unmoving screen that
we take for granted, on which an action movie is played. We are so busy
watching the action, that we miss the one thing that would satisfy us
completely. We miss that who we are is something so beyond what we thought,
that our ideas about it are like comparing a picture of a flower with
a real flower. We miss that we ourselves are so incredibly and profoundly
awe inspiring, and so already totally satisfied, that any further activity
we might undertake comes from a simple intention to somehow creatively
express the joy of life.
And then we don't miss it.
We open our eyes,
We see beyond the picture of ourselves.
And like a fresh flower,
Damp with morning dew,
We open to awareness of birdsong and color
Beyond the known senses..
Who could have dreamed such magnificence?
By some great blessing, it seems that it is now possible
to escape the life-like but ultimately unsatisfying world of conceptual
reality, and encounter the incredibly fulfilling reality that lies behind
or beyond it, and find it as familiar and closer than our own old socks.
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