Wonder why we like to dress up and go to costume parties? We like to pretend to be someone else.
Pretending to be someone else is liberating. We have a sense of peace and freedom when we aren’t trying to be ourself but instead get to be something else. We expend a tremendous amount of energy pretending to be “me.” It takes a lot of work. We are constantly checking to see if the “me” we want to project is the “me” that others see. We seek confirmation and praise. We want to be noticed. We are very self-conscious. We believe the “self” is the “me” we think we are. Being “me” is so important, or is it?
The “my life” that we are trying to live is the projection of a story. So often we completely lose ourself in the “me” we want to be. We actually believe the story we are telling ourselves. This story is self-centered. On one extreme it can be very selfish. On another extreme it can be very self-less. Still the “self” of those expressions is a “me.” Whether it is an altruistic expression or a narcissistic expression, it is still an expression of “me.”
What if “me” isn’t real? What if “me” is just a story? What if there really isn’t a “me” at all?
Let “me” share another pointer. In this one, I say we try to find the “me” you think you are. Notice how confusing it can be to even begin the conversation? When I say “me” you are already thinking about “Lance writing this post.” So it’s best if we just go to the source and see if you can find “you” as the “me” of your own story. This will require some self-inquiry so “you” will have to take a moment and discover for yourself.
Look at your hand. Go ahead and pause for a moment to look at your hand. Look intently. What do you see? Do you see “you” in your hand? Can you find a “me” in your hand? I don’t expect you can. You can see that your hand is some extension or manifestation of you but it isn’t you, is it?
OK, how about this one: If you cut your hair or trim your nails, is anything of “you” lost when those parts of you are gone? How about your clothes? Are they “you?” How about your legs? Can you find you in your legs? Most of us have heard that every cell in our body is temporary. Every cell is replaced over time with new cells. At some point we are a completely new version of our body. The characteristics of our body remain like scars and hair color and eye color, but all those components are temporary.
Let’s go deeper. Let’s try to find “you” somewhere in your “temporary” body. Let’s look at your chest. Look deeply. Do you find you in your chest? Look really intently. Can you localize you somewhere in there? How about your head? This is a little more difficult because in our story we have been told we are in our brain. So let’s break it down a bit. Imagine your head as two halves (sorry that is a little gross). Are you in your left half? Don’t stop looking until you “know” if “you” are there. How about your right half? Are you in there?
Try every inch of your body. Can you find you anywhere in there? I don’t deny that when you look for “you” you will find extensions of you like those finger nails that are in the trash, but can you find the “me” that you think you are?
Now for the zinger. Who is doing the looking? What is it that is looking for you.
Let’s say you lose your arm (sorry again for the morbid metaphor). Are you any less you? Who is it that is observing the loss of an arm? If we keep taking away parts (don’t worry this line of inquiry is not motivate by the Halloween season), are “you” any less “you” as your parts are removed? If we go to an extreme and take away your body altogether, aren’t “you” still there?
OK, now try to find yourself as the “me” that is looking. Can you find the one looking for the “me”? I’ve used this picture before but it is a powerful image. The you that is looking is like an eyeball looking for itself. This eyeball is suspended in space. As it looks for itself it can’t see itself but it knows it is there. This knowing or presence is YOU. This is the awareness that YOU are. It isn’t a “me.”
The “me” is a story. The “me” of the story has been learned. Your name came from your parents. Your experiences are experiences to be seen. Your experiences are not you but are observed by you or the SELF. The SELF attached itself to the story and gets lost in the story. There is no “me” but only a story that “you” have believed is you. Step back and look at your story. Can you see that YOU have been watching your story? Can you see that your body has been an instrument of the story.
Yes there is a personality. The body has DNA and traits and scars and memories and pains and pleasures. There is conditioning that comes with the body. Still the story is just a story. The body is just a body. The SELF has been experiencing the story through the body and the mind. There isn’t a person. There is a SELF that has believed it is the person.
This is why we find such liberation in pretending to be someone else or some other projection like at a costume party. We aren’t trying to pretend anymore to be our story. The sense of what we are as the SELF can become whatever it wants to be when it isn’t stuck in your story.
When we encounter others, we tend to make others a part of our story. We think we are separate beings but really we are the one consciousness having many experiences as perceived separate selves. We are really more like this:
The two fingers are from one hand. If one of these fingers thought it was only a finger and not a finger on a hand, we would think this finger was insane. And that is the insanity of “me.”
If we let go of the insanity we will find peace because peace is what we are. If we let go of “my life” we find the LIFE that we are. When we let go of the “self-centered” to embrace a centered self, we will find freedom. It takes a lot of energy to maintain a self-centered image, a projection of “me.” When we are liberated from the story of “me” we find tremendous energy is liberated to be LIFE. We are LIFE.
When “I” first began this inquiry to find “me” it was a bit painful. I had considerable fear that if there isn’t a “me” then I would cease to exist. Then something profound happened. I imagined that I might die tomorrow or in the next five minutes (sorry again for the Freddie Kruger Halloween morbidity). At first this was very scary. The sense of “me” was very strong. This is the ego speaking. Then it happened. When I thought about “me” dying or not having a future, I found freedom. It was incredibly liberating. I felt the energy being released that was being used to maintain the image of “me.” It was like a great weight came off. This is what it is like to discover that “me” isn’t real. It is waking up to our true self.
If you are reading this post and have made it this far, “you” are waking up. You are looking for an excuse to let go of “me” and discovering your true self. Yes, there will be moments of sheer terror as the ego tries to maintain its existence. The ego isn’t real. It is part of the story. You can be YOU. You are already YOU. When you let go of “me”, you will know YOU. YOU have always been right here.
Go ahead and try this pointer. Inquire often and see if you can find the “me” you have believed you are for so long. When the sense of “me” arises, stop and take a look within. When you see that there isn’t a “me”, you will find such relief. Then you will see the mask you have been wearing and now you can wear it as it was intended to be worn. You can experience LIFE as LIFE through the form that is a manifestation of the SELF. You can love your other fingers. It is a wonderful LIFE when we let go of “me.”