Who are we? When we start to explore this question, we find out how elusive it really is. Are we a physical body? Are we a collection of experiences and memories? Are we only a partner in relationships? Each time we consider these aspects of ourselves, we realize that there is much more to us than any of these can define. If we look past the surface level of the term self, questions arise which many people would rather not ask.
We have to watch the mind very carefully. Consider walking out into a cold day. The mind yells “it is cold”. Now how did that help you? You already knew it was cold… Why is your mind telling you something which is already known? Examine and unravel…
To know ourselves we must seek to uncover the untruth of things until there is no untruth left. Although an impossible task in itself, we deliberately indulge in a grand letting go and revel in ‘what is’. We do this not so much to empty the mind, but to directly see that the small mind we have clung to for all our lives is not our true self. In this way, we make a fat part of ourselves skinnier, until there is nothing left of what we thought was us. It is a reduction of what we think is self in order to discover true self – something far deeper which is immutable and cannot be distorted by reflections.
The journey towards the betterment of life and personal growth in its truest sense shares the same path as enlightenment for much of the way. It is an undoing, a letting go and a learning to surrender. The path from this perspective is not about becoming cured or fixing ourselves – though some skill acquisition may be part of the growth. It is about learning to manage different experiences in a more beneficial manner. We learn that instead of resisting life and its myriad of experiences, we instead begin to fully relaxing into those experiences. Usually we find it serves our being far better. As we tune in more fully to life’s different experiences, life in all its manifestations, becomes more enjoyable and more interesting.
Life begins to flow. Instead of life being constantly challenging and full of suffering, we find joy and contentment in the simplest of moments. We start to become energized no matter our age. We engage in community, we find ourselves much more capable of love and being loved.
Where once we were creatures which needed to attempt to control everything, we become much comfortable in allowing things to be. Allowing things to be may also include allowing ourselves to change and to actively work towards something. It is not an exercise in passivity but rather one of discovering the Tao and living our lives in accordance with the flow of life. We actively reduce ego’s need to control and as such back away from imposing our false selves in each and every situation.
It is a difficult task, but it can be done. A correspondence from a person I have been working with for some time illustrates the later aptly.
“I am enjoying life immensely. I never ever thought that this was on the cards. I do not think it is enlightenment, but it is very satisfying. It is a great place to be in life. I am happy and content at last”.