Wake Up! Part 2.
Who am I, is the wrong question.
I believe that our attachment to who we think we are, this separate self, creates much of the tragedies in our world. It creates isolation and distance. Our relationship to the earth, to each other, to other beings, might be limited by this idea of being a somebody and the entitlements that follow it very closely. Power struggles are often connected to ego, if not always, dare i say. We assert ourselves and claim authority, even on the smallest scale.
Now, science tells us that there is no self. There is no fixed "I" in the brain. It does not exist. It is an idea. There are attributes and appearances that create a loosely held construct, which we call "myself", a separate self, from everything else with all it's stories. It's helpful in our day to day life. It creates boundaries that we can easily recognize and move around and have a relationship to. We are assisted by putting a name to the framework, there's a "somebody" who can be held accountable and responsible in the world. The problem is the identification with this somebody, this self (that does not actually exist), and all its stories. This identification is often rigid and our attachment to it creates limitations, and sometimes problems, isolation and distance to the whole, as mentioned above. We think it is solid although at any time it can be altered, changed, transformed. We seem to be willing to do everything in our power to keep it intact, when in fact, it’s not even really real.
At any given time, whatever you put behind "i am" … will follow you. You are limited to and by whoever you decide to be. It's like putting yourself in a leash. There are certain attributes, that come along with the ”Who”, that culture and norm have decided on. But it also offers a framework, large one or small one, interesting and exciting or dull and destructive. Better chose wisely. Personality is not solid and everlasting, however even i wish to believe that there is some sort of essence, something specific that follows us through all personality adjustments and changes, through all seasons of life. (I guess, that is what we're searching for in our spiritual practice).
I know this is super confusing stuff, i’m not sure i quite understand it myself. If you’re still reading, thank you, and please bare with me, i’m going places with this.
So, in a world where everyone is telling us to be somebody and to be fully who we Are, "be yourself" (whatever that means - since we don't know ourselves that well) here i come, suggesting, let’s just be NOBODY. Let’s just not put anything after the "i am". That is the first experiment.
The second experiment. What if ”who” is exchanged with ”what”. Because i suggest that the ”Who” is limiting and imaginary. It has attributes attached to it and expectations, depending on "who" is there. ”What", allows for options and variety, ”what” seems to lead to places and to action. What, feels honest, and revealing.
How about we try that, to go from who am i to what am i. Go from "who am i supposed to be", to what am i here to do. What am I?
It seems, that ”what” could create some distance to the illusion of a separate self and assist us in moving in a direction towards inclusion and creating, instead of trying to sustain an idea of who we are, (and deep down, actually, in reality, we don't know).
You will see in yourself and in others, the resistance towards letting go of ”who”. We're not throwing it out, just challenging this idea of being someone, with a separate self. There goes the ego, the make up, the titles, the fantasies. (If you’re nobody, what do you have to cling to other then the responsibilities for your actions).
The experiment is to concentrate your efforts on what you’re doing, what you are, and not get too tied up in entitlement and personal disputes. You know how it went in the Death Star Canteen ... (Spiritual wisdom from Eddie Izzard)!
Darth Vader: Do you know who I am!?
The guy at the counter: Do you know who I am?
Darth Vader: This isn't a game of who the fuck are you ...!
Let me know how it goes.
(Photo to the left: Ingemar Gardell).