Who Do You Think You Are?
Thoughts control our experience. But what if we are not our thoughts at all?
Posted Feb 14, 2019
In award season, it is hard to resist the beauty of film and all that it gives us.
We love the glamor. The storytelling. The relatedness of that which is portrayed on the screen. I have always loved movies. And I sense that most of you love them too.
The invention of film in the early 20th century was epic. But the concept behind what film intends (self-expression) is as old as time itself.
Human beings have consistently shown a need to express themselves. The earliest cave wall paintings found in Borneo, Indonesia that date back 40,000 years exhibit our ability to capture the human experience. Because of our innate cognitive abilities, we think a lot. Sometimes too much.
Last week I picked up a book by Clare Dimond, Real: The Inside-Out Guide to Being Yourself.* The title is a tad misleading because it smacks of self-help. It is everything but that. In fact, Clare herself claims from the very start that if her book does the job it is intended to do, “it will start to shake the precarious house of cards that is your idea of who you are.”
That first line got my attention and kept it to the very end.
Most self-help books are based on the premise that something is wrong and the book/author/experience can help you fix it. Clare’s claim is different. She says nothing is wrong. Everything just is. And in this beingness we discover the truth of who we are.
The content of our lives is not who we are because it constantly changes. When we allow ourselves to fall into that present space in which is all appearing, we realize what we perceive is really a film. The screen on which it is projected is what makes the film’s appearance possible. We are the screen, not the film flashing upon it.
Our minds are infinitely creative. More often than not, it creates a reality that limits us. Clare claims (and I agree) that none of it is real. Life is not about being limited, but about expressing freedom through our bodies. What we truly are is unconditional love.
The premise of the book is we are not what we think because our thoughts come and go. We are not our stress, our beliefs, our habits or our past. And yet so much of our daily life is based on this thinking.
“We have used suffering all our lives to take stuff more seriously,” Clare told me in a Skype interview. And we have been told that it is right to be serious, which reinforces the assumed reality of this illusion as we add a dash of resistance, more activity, and more thinking. And that approach lands us in a dead end every time.
The great news is we can release ourselves from the horror film to what is actually true right now. As we come back to what’s true, we realize we are just in the moment right now despite what our imagination is doing. When we are still and return to who we really are, we realize we enter an open space of acceptance that is extremely liberating.
In Pink’s contemporary song “What About Us,” she sings about the billions of beautiful hearts that exist on this planet. Clare says we need do nothing other than to express that love. Everything we seek is right before us.
Most of us like to have a sense of control over our lives. But life happens with or without our desire for control. In fact, life is unstoppable. If you have ever witnessed a sapling grow into a full-blown tree, you will know the tree needs no instructions to do what it does. No toddler needs instructions to know how to walk. It is pre-programmed, much like the love that is the software within us. When we operate from that space, life flows, no matter the circumstance.
Life cannot help but express itself. We human beings are the expression of that freedom in form.
While our bodies are transient and therefore insecure, we often live as if we can defy the ultimate truth of their demise. If we realize our own impermanence, we can cling less tightly to our body having to function a certain way. At the same time, when we see the transience of apparently objective objects, it brings us to the realization that the moment we are in is both past and future. Everything is a product of this moment. In fact, all we ever have is this very moment.
Our true essence is timeless. The question is: What will we do with the time we have while we are here right now?