Be what you already are
It's not a piss-take, honest.
You'd think it was easy to be alive all body, mind and spirit.
To live in this moment — as if there was a choice!
But we seldom (if ever) do.
Our mind makes it so. The discursive, always-on mind.
Nature on the other hand:
A tree gives glory to God for being a tree — Thomas Merton
In case you hadn't noticed, it's not running off trying to be a bigger tree, a better one or even something else. Conjecture of course, but having walked past a few in the last six months, they seem fully at ease with who or what they are — whatever the weather.
That's not the case for humans — or most of us.
We're ill at ease — anxious (see the writing of Rollo May) — rushing off in search of something better or seeking to avoid the pain, suffering and discomfort that's part of — a large part — the human condition. (I think meditation if you're not careful can become another aid in the lexicon of 'get better' props.)
One of the things I see in my old own life (prior to my near-death experience in March 2010) is that we're never or rarely asked to examine the unexamined life (Socrates) but instead to add to our knowledge, change appearance and work a great deal harder if we want to obtain, if not enlightenment, self-actualisation. We do this (in my case at least) because we're told or assume it will lead to a settled, more contented state. And it does, fleetingly, but as soon as we think we've grasped the essence of life, we lose it. It's like Will-o'-the-wisp.
And the answer smart arse!
There isn't one 🤣.
Seriously, I realise all this existential twaddle so off the beaten track as to be risible, positively chortle worthy. But the trouble is when we've tried everything else, there ain't much left. Oh sure, you can lose yourself in the bottle or drugs or any other New Age treatment, but you can never escape you — all body, mind and spirit.
As I've said a few times over the last week, I'm not asking you to accept anything I say. You don't need to. All you need do is go to your actual experience of life, namely:
1. everything changes;
2. the label is not the form; and
3. there is no separate 'me' that directs or controls your life, despite it often appearing otherwise.
The last two are harder, much harder to swallow but when you examine things beyond what you've read or been told, it's difficult to escape the fact that when everything is in a state of flux you cannot describe something with a fixed label. I'm not saying we shouldn't ascribe a fixed label (i.e. a glass of water) because, in many cases, it keeps us alive but when I revert to the immortal lines from the Heart Sutra — emptiness is form; form is emptiness — this isn't just old-world, hocus-pocus but something that illustrates that when we argue with something that is unformed or formless our known experience starts to look a little suspect.
As to point three — free will and choice — I know people will fight tooth and nail to maintain that there's a separate, self-directing 'me'. Where it normally ends, qua the human body, is to say that it resides in the brain. And that's fine. It's not my job to persuade them otherwise. In fact, for a long time, both in my speech and behaviour, I thought I could fully direct my life by making an assumed series of choices. But when I deeply questioned this assumed wisdom ("Who am I?"), I apprehended that there never was a chooser.
You might think what I'm pointing to is deeply solipsistic, and I see that, truly I do. But the world doesn't revolve around me. I'm nothing and certainly nothing remotely special. I'm less than ordinary. But I am human and with that comes a series of spontaneous and natural things — personality, moods, anger, disease, death, failure and happiness. If only we'd accept or at least acknowledge the full catastrophe we might not get ourselves into such a bind, first questioning our extant situation and then looking for something well, if not better, at least something to add a bit more tempo to our lives.
Oh, shut up Summerhayes. I'm sick to death of all this woo-woo crap.
I wish I could. Trust me, if I was expressed to write about and share something else then I would.
But don't forget, save perhaps a few words (they're all a rehash of what others have said), I'm not selling you anything. All I'm inviting is for you to question your direct experience and to see if that's any more self-revealing than what you've previously tried or experienced.
Of course, if that's not the way you're expressed, then wonderful. And I don't say that to be disrespectful but simply to acknowledge that we're all unique and we truly will do what we do, go where we go and if that means we're not the least bit interested in examining our lives beyond the ken of current experience, so be it. I'm not here to say otherwise.
But the again:
In each moment, I find myself here as an apparent focus of awareness without ever having chosen to be here, without knowing what I “really” am, and without needing to know. I am well aware that what I see and feel is a concoction of some sort or another, but this world is the world I have, and so I, an apparent constituent of this world of mine, live in it and with it—not in a world of conjecture, supposition, and mysticism about ultimate matters, but here and now. That is what I mean by “awake.” — Robert Saltzman, The Ten Thousand Things (pp. 2-3), Kindle Edition