Next week I will be visiting the Bay Area and catching up with friends.  On Sunday, August third I’ll be speaking at the Harmony Center for the Joyful Spirit.  To go along with my talk I suggested the movie Kumare be played at their Friday night movie get together.  It is a documentary about a fellow from the East Coast that comes to Phoenix and pretends to be an Indian Guru.  Once he has collected together a group of followers and indoctrinates them in his spiritual path, he does an unveiling where he reveals his true identity.

movie kumareIt is an interesting and complex film.  Kumare’s message is that we all have the answers wtihin us and don’t need external teachers to tell us what to do.  This is my philosophy as well and “the answers are within” happens to be the title of one of  my books.  The talk I am giving is called Unveiling and will go more into the process of uncovering or revealing our true identities.  (Video of talk.)

We all have an identity. In fact we all have multiple identities or perhaps it would be better to say, we all have a multifaceted identity.  Our identity is made up of the stories we have about ourselves.  Many of us on the spiritual path of awakening have noticed how our identity has changed as we’ve progressed.

For me, I was largely unconscious of my identity in the beginning.  As I became more aware, I began to recognize certain facets of my identity and then I began to question them.

For instance, I called my self “insensitive” for many years in my teens and twenties.  Then I realized that I was actually overly sensitive and had built up a wide variety of strategies that protected me from overwhelm.  One of those protective mechanisms was insensitivity.  So one of my identities changed from “insensitive” to “very sensitive”.

These days the question is, “Am I very sensitive?”  And the answer is no.  If I can say, “I am ______”, then I am not that thing.  The truth is that I am not anything that I can say in words.  All labels and description are just constructs.  I am not a construct.  These things are my identity but they do not come close to expressing what I truly am.

I have found the process of unveiling is more like an elimination process.  I never can see or express who I truly am, but I get close to knowing who I truly am by finding out what I am not.

During the unveiling process, I may have first thought I was stupid or fat and then I realized I wasn’t stupid or fat.  I replaced that identity with the idea that I was smart or shapely.  Finally I realize that I’m not smart or shapely either.  If I was smart and shapely then who would I be if I get old and no longer can think and my body is falling apart.  So, I am not smart or shapely.

Similarly I have found that I am not anger or sadness, I am not my reaction to anything.  I am not my form.  If you remove my eyes, I still seem to exist. So I am not my body parts.  If my brain stops working (I’m in a coma.) people point to me and call my name.  I still exist – so I’m not my brain.

There are many paths to enlightenment and here is another tool:  See if you can find what you are?  The easiest way is to eliminate everything you are not.  Tell me what you end up with.


Freedom from fear?

I was reading a book off my shelf this morning while I sat with ice packs on my back. I came upon this quote,
Bill Wilson

The achievement of freedom from fear is a lifetime undertaking, one that can never be wholly completed.

—Bill W.

It just made me shake my head.  I alternate from anger to sadness when I read stuff like that.  I know he is just expressing his limiting belief.  I also know that many people take him to be an authority and may not even question the truth in his statement.  While it may take some work to become free of fear, it is a task that can be completed – and in less time than one might expect.   Enlightenment, which the Buddha taught people how to reach is certainly obtainable in this lifetime. Enlightenment is freedom from fear.

However, what is most interesting to me is how do I get free of my anger and sadness.  Try as I may to root out the misbelief that causes those mental afflictions, I cannot quite get it.  Perhaps I am scared that what he is saying maybe be true?  Maybe, but I can not quite imagine that.  It seems that I may have a deeper fear that I cannot become free of fear as long as others believe it is not possible.  Do I think that everyone must “wake up” in order for me to “awaken”.

Well, no resolution this morning.  The best I’ve got is my awareness of my insanity.  Yes, another reaction that I don’t really like and have no control over.  (See post on reactions.)