ripping off my name tag

UnknownI am a good man… or am I ?

I was adopted, I struggle with my “sense of self.”

I never felt the grounding comfort of belonging to a family. Growing up I carried that “adopted” story through all my other experiences, I never felt resonate with my name, not even self adopted ones. I’m not of a particular culture, not patriotic, I don’t feel drawn to a specific religion, I don’t belong to Rotary Club.

I was adopted, but how many “I’s” did I adopt. How many personas or concepts of myself did I try to stretch over the vacancy I felt? I searched for that grounding comfort of belonging in so many ways. I was an artist so I adopted the persona of “the artist.”  I dressed, acted and drank like I thought artists did. When I stopped being an artist I became lost.

I searched for that grounding comfort of belonging when I was married, adopting the persona of “Husband,” “father,” then “divorcee,” then  “failure.”

The big one for me has always been “Provider.” I saw myself and validated my self worth as a man who makes the money. But what about when I’m not making money?

What is my worth when I’m different than I perceived. Who am I when I’m not what I’ve label myself?

Am I a Tantric Energy Healer when I’m at home, not Tantric Energy Healing, or am relabeled a Coffee Drinking, Game of Thrones Watcher?

So many define themselves as their favorite baseball team, as their sexual preference or by their job.

What if I lose my job, my team loses, I decide I’m actually straight, or not?

What if there’s a flood, a war, a false accusation and I lose everything?

Who am I if I am not who I think you am?

The comfort of belonging often becomes too comfortable. When I am fat and happy in my attachment to a comforting picture of myself I stop searching for the infinite flow of creation within.

Just as I cannot step into the same river twice neither am I the same person in this next moment. For every word I read changes me. Everything I try to grasp is ephemeral and changing.

This also means I am not my mistakes, my fears, or my past. They are adjectives not pronouns. They are just some of my life experiences, not all. My experience of Self should be ever flowing, ever changing, and ever expanding.

My understanding today has hopefully changed from last year. My sense of self has changed too. I am not the same. I’ve stopped trying to be.

Scientific discovery is often a journey to know, to at least understand enough to name what it is we are questioning. When we have satisfied our curiosity to the point of our often too limited comprehension, we stop.  Columbus landed in the Bahamas and (assuming he was in India) named the residents Indian, an oversight that has lasted only 500 years. Comforted in our satisfied mind we stopped questioning.

As soon as we label something, we are satisfied, we feel comforted, safe; we stop discovering it. This applies to self discovery too. And self discovery is discovering the infinite within. There is no stopping point, no complete knowledge that we should be comfortable with. We should be deepening our experience every day, of ourselves and all the world around us.

For a short time when I was married I sported a jaunty “George Harrison” mustache. Of course I eventually came to my senses and shaved that awful thing off. Yet It took three weeks for my now ex-wife to notice that I had changed my face. She spent a month looking at me, sleeping with me, but not seeing me in my present state. She was comfortably blinded by her label of me. It’s so awfully normal that we see ourselves and others as solid instead of ever flowing, ever changing and expanding energy.

We are all we experience ourselves to be. If we stop experiencing, we stop deepening our consciousness. By trying to remain comfortable in who we were yesterday we hold ourselves and others back from flowing, changing, expanding, transcending.

Remember meeting your beloved for the first time, that sweet ache of pleasure in each new discovery? You were enwrapped, ecstatically fascinated by every nuance.

Feel within yourself again that ache and anticipation, the joy of self discovery. Release the labels, open your being to that excitement of discovery in every moment.

exersize: Stop.

Back in the cult, we would be working on some chore, preparing a meal, or dancing and the teacher would suddenly say, “Stop.”

We would immediately hold still in whatever position we were in. In that moment of “Stop” we would look at ourselves as a person who’s name we did not know. Why had i just been twitching? What was my thought? Why was I thinking about that guys wife? Did that guy notice I was checking out his wife? Why did I feel guilt about checking out that guys wife? What were my motives here? Why in the world was I slouching more on one side then the other? What kind of unconscious habit was this? How was all this going on without me noticing? Who is this guy?

“Stop” gave me a chance to be introduced to and discover the unknown ‘Elet’ below the facade of unconscious idiosyncrasies. The whole point was to discern the real eternal infinite being of my truest Self, by seeing all the limited, ephemeral, fake selves.

You don’t necessarily need a teacher to yell at you to do this exercise. Set an alarm on your i-phone that goes off at the oddest of times, or some other contrived awakening. In that moment of awakening, stop in mid-sentence, mid-emotion, mid-gesticulation and witness whats beyond the name.

Deepening your relationship to the you you don’t know is discovering the infinite universe that await within us all.

Beyond the monkey business of monikers there is a miracle,

Beyond the falsity there is freedom,

Beyond the label there is conscious living.

Live in the power of passionate presence.


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