Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I Yam What I Yam.

Perhaps today you will meet someone for the first time and introductions will occur. You’ll inquire about them and they about you. “Tell me something about yourself,” you’ll ask, and that is how we begin. Who are you? Who are they? It is the natural way of understanding another as well as ourselves. And that matter is probably THE most important question anyone will ever ask or answer. The reason? Because the manner in which we understand ourselves serves as the bridge to understanding another. Whatever we believe about ourselves is how we assume others understand themselves. If we think of ourselves as an isolated, mutually discreet individual, then others must be that way also. And on the other hand, if we understand ourselves as united with all, that must be how others are also.

Two of the most profound examples of such understanding comes from the Bible and the story of The Buddha’s life. 

The first comes from Exodus during the encounter between Moses and God: “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites,’ ‘I Am has sent me to you.’”

And the second is this: Following The Buddha’s enlightenment under the fig/Bodhi tree, he passed a stranger on the road who was so struck by The Buddha’s countenance that he asked him, “Are you a god?” The Buddha replied, “No. I am not.” “What are you then?” the man asked. And the Buddha said, “I am awake.”

Neither of these answers seems self-evident but maybe that is because we are trying to read Tea Leaves. Perhaps the answers are the same. How so? Our normal way of grasping these answers is by assuming the answers to be adjectives. Try, instead, of considering the answers as pronouns: Not descriptions but rather statements of inexplicable nature. And just maybe, that is true for us all. We ARE awake (e.g., consciousness itself). We are who we are—inexplicably: the fundamental nature of awareness.
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