27 Feb The Self – February 28 2019
Posted at 22:53h in Daily Thoughts
All that a guru can tell you is: ‘My dear Sir, you are quite mistaken about yourself. You are not the person you take yourself to be.’
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
If I am not the thoughts and feelings that occur to me; if I am not this body, this mind; if I am not these opinions I have, the history that describes me, my race, my gender, my sexuality; my family, my social group; if as all the great teachers tell me I am none of these things, but rather the Self, then what am I?
What is the Self?
I was a baby, a toddler. I remember clearly playing with toys I got when I was three or four. I was identified at that time with a toddler body and a toddler mind.
I also remember my first kiss. Bonnie Wagner, after my eighth grade graduation dance, under a lilac bush behind the Methodist Church, a full moon spring evening in small town Montana. I was a teenage body and a teenage mind. Bonnie wore Emeraude Perfume.
Recently we started construction on a studio for me to do tintype photography closer to home. First time I’ve ever done that – drawn up a plan, picked out windows and flooring and skylights. I don’t have a ‘bucket list,’ but I’m glad I get to have this experience before any buckets get kicked.
Three entirely different experiences, three entirely different persons, separated by decades; yet there is something that has been present in each of them, something in the background witnessing these experiences. Something that continues. This is what I truly am. The Self. This Self has been here in all these experiences, will be here for all other experiences in this life and will be here as this body passes away and beyond. Simply reminding ourselves of this continuity of consciousness helps to move us in the direction of being able to answer the question, who am I.
As we continue to meditate twice each day, settling down to our least-excited state, we will know more and more that the place we contact in meditation is this place of continuity within us. More and more it will begin to make itself known to us outside of meditation, as well. In fact, we will begin to depend upon it as the place from which arises all spontaneity, all love, all creative energy, every good thing, every good idea, every bit of truth and beauty we may find in life.
The more we depend upon this place within, the more it will let itself be known. The more it lets itself be known, the more we will know it as our deepest Self. The more we know it as our deepest, truest Self, the less dependent we will be upon the outer facts of our life to define us. The less dependent we are on the outer facts of our life for our self-definition, the less at the mercy of the world we become. The less at the mercy of the world we are, the more we will be free to give of ourselves in the world. The more fully we are able to give of ourselves in the world, the more we will find ourselves in perfect alignment with our reason for being here, in perfect alignment with the flow of nature itself.
And the more we find ourselves in this perfect alignment with nature, the more we will live in the joy, the bliss of life, that is our birthright.
Today I will take time really to see the sunrise or the sunset, and I will remember another sunrise or the sunset that I once saw in another part of the world at a younger age than I am now; and I will call upon myself to recognize the bridge between the two experiences. I will ask of myself, who was there at that other age who is here today. And I will welcome into my life the idea that I am That.
Butler and Cat, Studio City, CA