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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Burying the Self

I am.

Can I proceed and add more to that sentence without risking becoming someone that is really not who I am. Apart from that, aren’t the words “I am” already presenting a lot as these two words attempt to capture an idea that can only be poorly represented using language.

I have been engaging in deep meditation for some time. However, I have realised that, even when we think we can better relate to the world, the truth is that we must come to a point when we become aware of the empty nature of things. The statement “I am” attempts to describe what cannot adequately expressed using the conventional means of communication. There’s no single aspect of who we are that can define who we are.

While the person we call ‘self’ is real in a sense, in many ways this ‘self’ is just a product of the interactions that are happening in our minds and bodies.
Sadly, we are often too attached to the way we have come to see our selves than to reflect on who we actually are. We are separate and unique selves but, at the same time, who we are is intrinsically linked to the world around us. We are part of nature but we remain distinct, in some way, from nature. We can be with others as one but still retain our own identities.

Naturally, we tend to associate ourselves with a group of friends, be part of a community where we can share our beliefs. Find that we like a particular form of music or read books that seem to talk to us. Inasmuch as all this and more can help us in getting to know the world and who we are, they can never define who we are. Not even religion or science or even art can define who we are. It may define our ‘self’ in the world but they don’t tell us anything about who we are.

The unfortunate thing is that we tend to define who we are in these terms. We talk about who we are referring to our work, our religion, our position in the family and so on. But, if everything else was taken away from us. Or, else, we come to the point when we have to face our own death, how would we define who we are then? If we think of the story we built to define who we are, would we have a rope to keep us from drowning into desperation?

Of course, the self remains an important aspect of who we are as it helps us function in the world. Yet, there is more to us than this self. For, positive as it might be, this self is constantly changing. It is changing right now as I type this entry. Your self is changing as you read this entry. It is in this space where we pause from the writing of our life story that we can find who we are. In it’s in that split second when we have to decide what to do and what to think that we may hope to find ourselves.

It is difficult in today’s world to retreat to a place where we can be really silent and aware of what we are thinking. As I grow in my practice of meditation, I realise just how much ‘noise’ is going on in my mind during the day. But, now, I have come to realise that who I am goes beyond what I thought I was.

However, it remains hard to completely detach myself from the story I Have constructed to define who I am. Yet, while that doesn’t mean I want to annihilate the self that helps me function in society, it does mean that I am more aware of the fact that my life will change and my life will end. I cannot hope that someday I will be happy or, worse still, seek to bring back an ideal past.

Here, I must be ready to bury my old self and live again.

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