Friday, October 15, 2010

Gossip, Secrets, and The True Story about ...

Whatever people think of you is really about the image
they have of you, and that image
isn’t you. 

Don Miguel Ruiz

It is difficult to write about what's Real. Amazing individuals bring meaning and texture to my existence. Our life threads interlace. Stranded in my ''Draft" area are posts I'm writing about what matters most. They await revision to disguise and "protect" the identity of everyone who makes my life possible. Each post must be 'purged' of any identity fragments. Why do our identities need protection? It seems to me that they do a darn good job of protecting their own existence. I apologize for luring you here with that juicy blog title but it is on topic. Seriously!

I guess what is actually being 'protected' is the exposure of our identity. We want control over the 'rights' of how our image is promoted. No one wants to be the topic of gossip or have their secrets revealed by others without permission. But do we actually have such control? What would we be without an identity? What might it be like to crumble up this prickly appendage like a wad of paper (which actually has more substance than our so-called self-image, anyway!) and throw it into the nearest trash bin? Imagine--for just a few moments--that our unique personal story-package simply evaporated, what then? Who remains?

When my own identity did spontaneously disappear for an awesome--and all too brief--period of time, it was replaced by a freedom unlike anything I'd ever known. There was a sense of having nothing to protect anymore! Nothing to fear. There was no self-consciousness, so who was going to feel afraid? No one was there! What surprised me the most was that all other identities (with anyone I encountered) also became transparent at the same time--revealing the sparkling alive essence shared by all beings. It's not uncommon to have such glimpses into our Universal Wholeness. Most of us do notice this, from time to time. To live from this perspective all the time, however, is a different matter.

Now, purging my own identity fragments, resembles weeding--pull them out only to see them grow right back. I wish I could find the draft template for my role as NICU nurse, friend, mother, wife, etc. and simply press the "extract button". Then I'd watch each sticky 'virus-bit' dissolve from 'the cellular matrix'. Evaporate from 'the energetic aura'. Get deleted from 'the memory bank'. If only it were that easy.

What causes such vigilant attachment to a fabricated idea? Of course, I don't really want to totally obliterate my fictitious profile--as if I could anyway, since as Ruiz points out--it truly doesn't exist. If anything, its tenuous location is impossible to pinpoint. Everyone I know has their own image of me--different from all the others. I can only imagine what it might be. Any efforts on my part to influence it are but stabs in the dark. And if Ruiz is right, then I'm simply wasting my time trying to erase what I see in various mirrors.

Even my own image of myself is constantly changing. What is it then, that feels so fragile, and so powerful that we have to evoke our legal system to protect it? Beyond the realm of ideas it can't be found but it can most certainly be touched, right? And whether it's handled roughly, or tenderly, makes all the difference in the world--to its 'owner'.

If self-image is merely an idea in the mind, then what are we clinging to so fiercely? What is there to actually purge or protect? Well--there IS the thought that says "You are like this. I am like that." And then, there is that great wisdom, in the form a bumper sticker, which says:


What if we took just one hour, out of one day and went on strike: No thoughts will be believed for just one hour! Can you do it? I keep trying to do it--but a whole hour?? I am totally capable of doing it, however, for a few moments. At any given instant, I can easily stare a single thought right back in its non-face and say "you aren't real. you are only a thought. I don't believe you." And I can mean it. Then I'm left with empty space. I like that so much better...its so nice to be free. Even if its only for a minute or so...

The more I question thoughts, and the more frequently I catch ideas red-handed in the act of arising, the less I find them worth believing. And the more I look into what I really, really want, it seems to lean toward Wholeness and away from Separation and Division. I think my hero in this matter is the old skin horse:

    "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
    "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
    "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
    "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
    "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" 
    "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."  

The Velveteen Rabbit  ~  Marjorie Williams