Letting Go: Who Are You?
Caterpillar: Who… are… you?
Alice: Why, I hardly know, sir. I’ve changed so much since this morning, you see…
Caterpillar: No, I do not C, explain yourself.
Alice: I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, you see, because I’m not myself, you know.
Caterpillar: I do not know.
Alice: I can’t put it any more clearly, sir, because it isn’t clear to me.
from Alice in Wonderland
At ten years old I regularly sat cross legged in the woods, closed my eyes and asked myself “Who am I?” About my classmates, too, I asked “Who are they?” I’m not sure where I got the idea.
In any case, when ‘seeking’ my Self my body ‘dropped off’ and ‘I rose’ into my head. When looking at a friend, mentally erasing what I ‘knew’, their faces changed. They didn’t morph. It was like a changing perception of an optical illusion. The examples here are informative. I stopped when I had a terrifying feeling of disappearing. Recently I restarted my quest for Self. Here’s what I’ve discovered.
There is no stable, unchanging ‘me’. Who “I am” seems coherent because of a mental monologue; repeated, edited, censored, interpreted and embellished. At any time, this picture in the mind is simply a screenshot of one point in life. From these images we choose a set to define ourselves, depending on our mood and purpose.
We’re a projector, with different sets of slides at our disposal. Complicating things further, our interpretation of our various slide-shows is subjective. Bottom line; we do not have an unchanging identity. We are more a process than a thing.
Buckminster Fuller wrote;
“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process—an integral function of the universe.”
Rather than “I am”, it seems “I amming”. So, what of this foolish talk?
The first bottle Alice encounters in Wonderland says “Drink me”. No description - not ‘what it is’; an action - what Alice ‘should do’. We, too, can actualize our ‘ammingness’. A previous post, here, touches on ‘living it’. Another post on this is due soon.
Basically, quiet the mind. Drop assumptions. Let go of the past and ‘fall in’, ‘give birth’ to every moment anew. To the extent we do this, we call our action “enlightened’.