“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.”
~Sri Nisargadatta Mahara
The most transformative thing you could ever do is remember who you are. I don’t mean the “you” who you think you are or the one defined by the roles you play or the masks you wear. Not the one who is driven by fear, insecurity, or need. But the real you – pure, shining, precious, whole, undamaged, undefended.
Do you have the courage to find your way back to your Self?
Recognizing Your Self
You will know when you get there, even if for an instant, and here are the signs. You let go of conflict and confusion. You are lovingly present with things just as they are. You are enthused by creativity, wonder, life itself.
Your personal needs and wants fade in importance, and you find yourself being effortlessly generous and available. With a full and open heart, you let the conditioned patterns and tendencies that have defined you wind down. They are old news, anyway, and don’t serve a purpose anymore.
There is space to express yourself in any way you are called to do so. You listen to life, to love, “How am I moved? How am I to be used?” And you respond with ease. You use your skills, capabilities, and gifts in the service of the truth as it appears in you.
You are empty of beliefs, troubles, and the need to control, yet you are amazingly full and overflowing.
You may not be living in this remembrance of Self, but it resonates because it is true. And here is your task:
- Bask in the glow of knowing your Self in those moments when the light shines through
- Untangle the patterns that veil the truth of your Self.
It’s so simple. If this is all you ever do, you will have lived a blessed life.
How We Forget
We all develop false identities so that we can survive in the world. We learn to seek approval or create a certain image that we show to the world or take a stand as independent or defiant. We strive for money, power, control, or love.
And it is so understandable why we do this. Early on in life, we get the message that who we truly are is unacceptable. We shouldn’t feel the way we feel, we should think and act in ways that will please those around us. We learn to suppress ourselves, to ignore and avoid our natural longings so we can feel safe and loved.
And what is the result? Confusion, alienation, separation, and massive discontent. This is how we lose our way.
Some examples: a young girl needing to hide her feelings and wear the mask of being good and sweet so she doesn’t add to her parents’ stress; another being told a dark family secret and needing to pretend that everything was fine; a young boy growing up in the chaos of ongoing verbal abuse with no space to express his feelings; any child with an alcoholic parent who can’t be there to listen, support, and guide.
These situations leave us trying so hard when all we want is to be happy, to rest, to let go of all the effort of trying to be or to get. We want to know who we really are before all the veils, patterns, and strategies have been applied.
The Way Home
The trail of breadcrumbs back to our Selves is always available – we just need to learn how to recognize it. Moments of joy and contentment, the flash of a creative idea, an inner knowing that cannot be denied, a fleeting sense of being connected to all of life, a realization of love so huge that it seems impossible to contain.
When you notice these experiences, stop and let yourself revel in the celebration. You are home!
And then there are the breadcrumbs of another sort. These call us to be honest, investigate, study how our conditioning works, be vigilant so we can choose wisely. Some examples: being caught in the whirlwind of a habit; recognizing the ways you avoid and defend; becoming aware of a consistent pattern in choices you make that don’t serve you; general unhappiness.
If you use these experiences well, you see them clearly with open eyes. You are willing to change and let go. You see them as a reflection of the ways you are veiled, and you stay true to your intention to remember your Self.
In truth, you are never stuck. Being stuck is a frame of mind, unwillingness, a strategy of self-protection. What seems stuck is always ready to soften, and all it takes is your kindness, your clear intention, your willingness to put down all the weapons of defense and rest in things as they are.
When you touch into who you really are, there is a recognition. Oh, I remember. That’s who I am. We meet ourselves like a long-lost friend.
Just for a second, drop everything, like a hot potato. You can always pick it up again. Let yourself be in no-mind, no-story, no-attachments, no-needs, no-beliefs. Be clear and unidentified. You just might find what you’ve been searching for your whole life.