Wake up! Stop sleeping! Remember and become who you truly are!
My mother always thought that I am sleeping. She believes that I am truly someone great, someone destined to do something big or become someone important. It’s just that I refuse to wake up to this reality. It’s just that I refuse to see who I really am. Be it the fact that I am asleep, or I am voluntarily denying this, I am always guilty for not becoming who SHE believes I am. It is MY fault that I am not the one I am supposed to be.
Now, during pandemic times when you can die in a matter of days no matter how strong you are, and when it is a really bad idea to get depressed by going too deep into your own abyss, I want to share what I learned about who I am. This is my own perspective; it is how I see myself and this life. Others might and probably will see themselves differently.
Even since childhood I was concerned with this idea: who am I? The books I read and the other people told me that I must be in some place, deep inside my psyche, in some sort of center or core. They said that I should search for myself somewhere inside myself. They said that there is the likeliest place to find myself. So I did that. And I found… nothing. All I can say now is that I am some sort of empty shell, and what seems to be me is actually a construct or a structure that is found somewhere on the surface of this shell. Everything I know, everything I feel, all my reactions, can be traced back to this structure built by my education in my family and later in school. There is nothing pre-existent in myself and, definitely, there is nothing INSIDE. Nothing glows, like a sun, bringing warmth and light to the exterior crust, bringing enlightenment or wisdom or some sort of spiritual quality. I am an amalgam of reflexes and patterns of reaction that somehow have developed a sense of self-awareness. Following this awareness, I can perceive myself as a definite object, as if I am outside myself. And due to this, I can enter in a relationship with myself. There is nothing sacred and nothing spiritual; just a mixture of patterns like a software, that just turned sufficiently complicated so as to be aware of itself.
Thinking about myself this way is rather depressing. And offends anyone who is a believer, including those who believe in God or the afterlife. Such as my mother.
Then, in my quest for answers, I read about people who meditate. I mean, those who make out of meditation a purpose in life. They discovered, surprisingly, the same thing: we do not exist. If you search for your Self, at some point you perceive your conscious life as some sort of empty background on which thoughts, emotions and sensations arise and fade away. What you call You is actually this background. Where do the thoughts/emotions/sensations come from? Nobody knows. But it seems that Somebody or Something else makes this happen. And this Somebody or Something is not you. In other words, you are the canvas on which “stuff” appears and then fades away.
This could be even more depressing.
One can say that your life – everything there is – is something that happens to you, and the only thing you can do is to witness the storyline. There is a storyteller and… it’s not you. So who are you, really? Well, we can safely say that you are… the story. Or, the “happening”, what happens on your canvas. You are a story happening on the canvas of your conscious existence. And, to make things worse, you have no idea what happens to “You” while you’re asleep. Since the canvas of the conscious life disappears when you’re asleep, the story of your life is terribly intermittent. And roughly one third of your life always remains unknown (we sleep about 1/3 of our lifetime). Summarizing, what we know about us is a composition of many segments, most of them separated by sleep (most, because we can also daydream), lasting for about 2/3 of our lifetime, segments that hopefully have a coherent meaning and a purpose. And none of those segments can answer the question: who is the storyteller?
Now, there are people who have found the answer. They have found THE Truth. They say that. Some of them are schizophrenics or paranoids. Others are mystics. But, at a careful examination, one can discover that they actually decided – consciously or not – to identify themselves with a part of themselves. This doesn’t mean that they have found something different or something that emerges from beyond them. It’s just the fact that they believe, or they pretend, that one part of them answers the question completely and without doubt. Under pressure, or if they are true to themselves (and not completely crazy), they might acknowledge this in their inner core. But if their awareness has become completely hijacked, they will identify with an idea or a (collective) archetype, and perhaps put the basis of a new religion or philosophical system. In the end however, the question remains unanswered.
We are what we were told we are. We are who we decided to be during our first years of life. We are the role that we were given by our parents or parental figures. We are in the place where our family or our society has decided to put us. We have learned, or have been taught, who we are and what we are supposed to do. And most of this training happened when we weren’t even able to talk. For this reason, who we are is implicit, non-verbal. It is rather who we FEEL that we are. Or, what we BELIEVE we are. Logical or rational explanation fails. And for this reason, we often think and rationally decide that we must do something and we end up doing something stupid, completely irrational, and we don’t know way. We might not have the answer for “why we did that?”, for the same reason we don’t have the answer for “who are we?”.
I sometimes think about the storyteller. I HOPE there is one. I need to blame someone for every bad move I made. If the meditating guys are right and I am a “process” or “happening” taking place on a canvas, there isn’t too much I can do. I can decide that there is no free-will and therefore I am free of guilt. I am not the cause but the result. I am aware of this but I can’t do anything about this.
Or can I?
My life, at least during the last years since I understood what I wrote above, has always been a mouse-and-cat game. I always felt that there is a part of me, a stronger part, that makes things worse and enjoys to stay safely in the comfort zone, and there is also a weaker part, a trickster, that tries to get things done and to always push for new things, new experiences and personal development and evolution in general. For this reason, my life is a struggle. The weak part in me always tries to outwit the strong part, for fear that everything might collapse one day. And this fear of a disaster is actually the fear of that day when there will be NOTHING to do, NOTHING to learn, NOTHING to experience and finally, NOHING to live. It is the old fear that I might actually truly be just a replaceable canvas on which Someone else paints events, thoughts, emotions and sensations, a canvas that one day will become too used, too dirty, too full of everything, too old to be used anew. It is that day – the day I become USELESS – that scares the little trickster. It is, as you can imagine, the day I will die.
There are moments in time, just like this one in the middle of the winter, when I question the intention and the compassion of the storyteller. Why would someone or something tell the story of a failure, or paint an ugly life image on its canvas? Why is it necessary to suffer in this life? Why is it necessary to paint a struggle between a trickster and an insensitive dumb?
Maybe the storyteller is not as compassionate as one might imagine or like to believe?
Or perhaps the storyteller is still in its childhood and cannot grasp the consequences of its actions, just like a child tortures a puppy and cannot have enough empathy so as to feel its pain?
Who paints us? Who tells our stories?
There is still a possibility that I am not truly awaken, just as my mother says. I might have a really tough episode of amnesia. Or perhaps my mother is pushing me to give her the answer she had never found.