Monday, July 22, 2013

Today you are you!

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

The saying above was expressed by Thomas Merton in his book No Man Is an Island. The saying of course is meant to apply to another person. But suppose we alter the saying a bit and see how it would then be understood.

The beginning of love is to let ourselves be perfectly who we are, and not to twist to fit an image we hold of ourselves. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves.

The intent of the second expression is to focus attention on the difference between the image we hold of ourselves and who we truly are, as represented by the image. That intent, of course, presents a formidable challenge to recognize, first, that our true nature is not a reflection. And secondly to accept that our true identity is not what we see but rather the one doing the seeing.

And if this is true for us (as it must be) then it is likewise true for those we love. No one is truly an image and everyone is truly an unseen seer. The difficulty is that everyone, from the earliest age, right on to the edge of death, is by nature sensorially oriented and everything we sense appears as an image in our brain. That is the universal manner of establishing an identity: pure image, a virtual hallucination. Image is everything to the unenlightened so it should come as no surprise that we have become preeminently concerned with style and very little with substance.

A vast number of people are growing weary of the thin veneer of insubstantial people, of role playing and pretense, but so long as we remain ignorant of our true identity, which is without form, it is questionable that we will find our way beyond this trap and we will continue to live in fear of being found out and exposed as potential frauds.

Once a person initially loses their ego and awakens to their true identity (which is no restricted identity and without form), it is quite disorienting and it is common to stay, for some time, in a state of pregnant anticipation, awaiting a new image to emerge that replaces the old image of the ego. If the awakening is genuine you can wait until the end of time and never again have a self-image that you believe in. Instead you will merge, unconditionally, with all sentient beings and live without an identity.

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Dr. Seuss 
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