I’ve been thinking a lot about what Denise Linn said about identity, it being an external idea that we take on like clothing as small children, behavioral patterns that have imprinted themselves on us and which we then unknowingly re-enact over and over again every day no matter what our age is now. It’s not just the memory or sensation of that experience, it’s the irrational feelings that cookie stamped themselves on us–like feeling helpless and over-responsible at the same time. Or a feeling of dread when we wake up, fearful of what next thing is going to hit the fan. Whatever they are, they are THOUGHTS and emotions that come from those thoughts. And as identity, these thoughts get in the way of our reaching for our true authenticity.
And because they are just thoughts, we can recognize them and do something about how we want to deal with them: let the endless replaying of the taped memory go on and on until we die, falsely believing that we are in control of our lives. Or, hitting a pause button with our finger in the air, and experiencing the silence. Sudden emptiness of not feeling the same old thing all the time. The nothing-ness of feeling anything and at the same time, not feeling beleagured any longer.
Is that why people like Zen? Maybe that’s what living with a bare slate is like. Not having that replay going on and on without our even knowing it. What strikes me is how much time it takes to even think about ourselves in this way. Why is that anyway?
Having had my own share of what-ifs and disappointments, I’ve resolved since my last birthday (you don’t want to know) that I choose every day to do something satisfying, simple as it may be: drinking fresh citrus juice, writing a haiku poem about the red/pink dogwood tree that we planted last week, cleaning the kitchen and putting away the dishes and straightening things on the counter.
I realized also that we are inundated by bad news about tawdry and tragic events that we read about first thing in the morning in the newspaper, listen to on local news, then repeatedly again on national news (maybe two stations worth) and then late at night on the eleven o’clock newscast before we go to bed. That’s at least FIVE times of bad, awful news about things we can’t do anything about directly and bad, awful behavior on the part of people who should know better and who keep grinding their axes regardless. I keep thinking things were more awful before in terms of how people enacted human nature (look at “Game of Thrones” for example which I can’t bear to watch for more than a few minutes.) Or Congress, for that matter.
Anyhow, back to how to survive and live in the midst of all this bad news and horribleness, we still have freedom to live with purpose and dignity each day. It’s different for each of us, that’s for sure. How are you managing with yours?