When you say “I,” who are you referring to?
Are you your name? Your body? Your occupation? Your life history? Your religion? Your beliefs? Your thoughts? Your emotions?
Who are you, really?
This is an immensely important question.
If you think you’re the brain or you’re running the show from the brain, let me tell you about the sea squirt.
At one stage in this tadpole-like sea creature’s life, it swims over and buries itself into a rock. Can you guess what’s the first thing the sea squirt does inside the rock? That’s right, it digests its own brain and nervous system! Then it continues to live, motionless, inside the rock.
(the sea squirt is also an excellent example of what happens when you continue doing the same thing every day or you never challenge yourself)
So maybe your true Self isn’t the brain or tucked away inside the brain.
Who are you, then?
Let’s try a liberating exercise.
Take out five pieces of paper (you can break up one sheet into five pieces) and write down five separate answers to the question “Who Am I?”
(you can write anything you want; “law student,” “Christian,” “Mike Jones,” “Joe and Jill’s daughter,” “a human being,” etc.)
Then order your five pieces of paper with #1 being the furthest from the “core” of who you think you are and #5 being the closest to the core of who you think you are.
Place the stack on your desk. Pick up #1. Look at what you wrote down. Read it to yourself. Feel it. Say “this is who I am.”
Then prepare to say good-bye to your first illusion.
Crumple up the piece of paper (literally).
Place the crumpled up piece of paper in front of you.
Pick up #2. Look at what you wrote down. Read it. Feel it. Say “this is who I am.”
Then say good-bye to your second illusion.
Crumple it up.
Continue this process until you get to the last piece of paper.
You might feel anxious, uncertain, or scared as you read and feel your most central idea of who you are.
But it too must be crumpled and tossed.
Now you have five balled-up pieces of paper.
(if you don’t have at last five crumpled up pieces of paper in front of you, stop reading and start doing this important exercise).
What remains is who you truly are.
It may feel weird at first. But it’s actually the most wonderful realization you can possibly have.
No Self, No Problems.
Repeat this exercise as many times with as many illusions as you want. If your ego is especially stubborn, do it every single morning. Even if you realize who you truly are, you may want to continue this process to let it truly sink in.
Your true Self, you will discover, is beyond labels, words, ideas, thoughts, emotions.
Once you crumple up and throw away all of the illusions, You will be free.
The world needs You, not the illusion of you.
(food for thought: why do many people who commit suicide fire the bullet into their head?)
This exercise may seem weird. You may resist doing it. You may resist continuing with it until the realization really sinks in.
Resistance is a sign that you must do it; it’s vitally important.
So if you haven’t actually taken out the pieces of paper and done the exercise, do it.
And if you’ve only done this exercise once or twice and there’s no change, then keep doing it. No excuses.
When you realize who you really are, you will be ready to become who you were meant to be.
You will be ready to give this world the gift that has been inside of you all along.
You will be able to treat everyone and everything compassionately. You will be able to overcome every single one of your petty problems.
You will be free from unhealthy obsessions that plague society — like greed, consumerism, selfishness.
I read a book on happiness recently. It said the #1 most important exercise to becoming happy is to Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself.
That’s a great practice. It’s highly recommended.
But the practice we’re doing right now is even better.
(instead of “Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself,” it’s “Stop Yourself”…or… “Stop Feeling Illusions Of Yourself”).
You will feel unimaginable levels of the most profound bliss when you reach this state.
Happiness will now be a purely internal state, unaffected by anything external.
You will be free from basing your happiness on the weather or anything or anyone else.
Happiness will no longer be a Pursuit. Or a goal. Or something that hopefully will happen sometime in the future.
Happiness will not be circumstantial.
And depression won’t exist.
Who will be there to be depressed?
Anger won’t exist.
Who is angry?
Hatred won’t exist.
Fear won’t exist.
All bad things, bad feelings, bad thoughts require a subject.
What happens when there is no subject?
(the feelings and emotions may still pop up, but they will float away like a balloon — no one is there to hold onto these negative states and negative beliefs)
“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated ‘egos’ inside bags of skin…The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.'” – Alan Watts
Surrender to your true Self.
Toss away all Illusions.
And do not be afraid when you realize who you really are.
Do not let the ego know the truth.
Simply become the truth.