Who am I?

The Buddha was once asked if he was a god to which he replied “No.”
“Are you a wizard, then?”
“No.”
“Well, are you a man?”
“No” he said.
Confused by his answers they asked “So, what are you?”
The Buddha said, “I am awake.”

I can not claim that I am fully awake yet. I still lay in this bed I made and rub my eyes, trying to make sense of the world around me, but that simple answer, for me, begins to define the answer to my own question:

Who am I?

Over the last few years finding that answer has felt somewhat more critical because of the things I am trying to accomplish in life, and while I admit that I feel like I am no closer than when I began, I have begun to understand that it matters less than I originally thought.

Instead, I am finding that it is who I believe myself to be that is more important and that the expression of those beliefs is an expression of the things inside me that I give life to.

Those beliefs come from experiences and those experiences are interpreted through my previous experiences.

If I believe myself to be compassionate it is because I believe compassion to be of more value than indifference and yet indifference, selective and focused to achieve a positive goal, can have value as well. Much like not caring if I smashed my thumb with a hammer because that happens from time to time and does not mean I deserved it or am a horrible carpenter.

However, I would never describe myself as indifferent. In this way my views of Self are presented as more than expressions of those things I believe myself to be, they are expressions of who I hope to be, who I want to be.

So, who am I?

It really is simple. Much simpler than the explanation.

I am the sum and expression of my experiences, I am who I want to be, and I am who I believe myself to be.

I believe that I am on the right path. Making the right decisions despite their outcome because those decisions are based on faith and hope and love. I believe that everything will be okay. That my life will be everything I want it to be. All of those things require that I believe I am already the person I want to be regardless of how transitional my life may appear because that is how I become that person.

I may not be awake, but I am waking up.

——

Image: “Awake” by Martina Stipen

 

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Your are unique

The Universe, though largely a mystery, is known to contain billions of galaxies just within our limited view of its vastness.

Each of those galaxies, like our own, contain billions of stars and each star is very likely to be at the center of its own planetary system.

That’s hundreds of billions of planets and each and every one of them has the potential to be home trillions of life forms.

Our galaxy alone could be home to trillions of trillions of life forms.

The numbers are beyond calculation or comprehension when we consider how many potential life forms there are in the universe, which may just be part of a larger system of billions of other universes bumping and squeezing into each other like cells in a body that make up something even larger.

We just don’t know.

What we do know, what we are absolutely certain about, is that among all those planets circling all those stars in all those galaxies there is only one you.

One.

You are unique in all the universe.

And it is incomplete without you.

———-

Image from just a tiny section of space observed by the Hubble telescope.

You are Divine

That soul you carry, the one that can feel as heavy as a crate of stones or light enough to lift you to the stars.

The part of you that you ignore when it pleads for attention with pain.

That calls out to you and opens your heart to the exquisite heights of love.

That makes you dance and cry and sing and laugh without effort. Without thought.

It is a part of the living energy of the Universe itself which flows through and connects all things.

That soul is who you really are.

Not the physical being that experiences those things.

Not the thoughts that drive or replay those experiences.

Not the memories.

You are the life within this temporary vessel that is a gift of a million sensations and thoughts and emotions and that life is part of the very universe.

A part of God.

You are Divine.

———-

Image: “In Search of the Divine -Shiva and Shakti” by Pooja Bhapkar

Sacred Human

Every cell in your body, every muscle, bone, tendon, artery, vein, capillary, and the blood the flows through them, every neuron that fires thought both pleasant and unpleasant, every memory triggered, every emotion that accompany those memories whether they bring ecstatic joy or mind numbing, incapacitating, suffering, every breath and beat of your heart, has been written by the Divine who has designed your life specifically for you.

You are Sacred.

———–

Image: “Omniscience” by Carlos Quevedo

Life is a Journey

 

“People are hypocrites” she proclaims. “No one lives the life they want.”

I have said those same words myself, or something similar, though it probably contained expletives and self pity.

How do I tell her what I have learned in a single online conversation? How do I tell her that there was a time in my life that I shared that view? How do I explain that my change of view was both instantaneous and took many years?

I had the four bedroom house on an acre of land with a six car garage, a cabin on a private lake, a boat, motorcycles, off road 4×4, a recording studio in my basement, my own construction company, everything I thought I needed to be happy, and in a moment of human failure I lost everything.

Even though it initially brought with it a physical, as well was emotional, pain it also brought a proclamation of “FREEDOM!”, shouted in big screen fashion, it took many more years to understand that none of the stuff I gathered and lost over the years ever really mattered.

At the time of the “loss” it felt like I had been robbed of my entire world. Like I was condemned. Cursed.

Now, looking back with unclouded eyes, I can see that I was most miserable when I had everything I thought I wanted.

It took many miles to discover that what I was missing couldn’t be found on a piece of land or in a store or online or was anything I could carry in my pocket or drive or use in any way.

What I was missing was found inside and I found it only by enduring, surviving, and exploring with gratitude the journey that my life became.

I discovered is that the journey itself is life.

Not the prescribed “this will make you happy” copywriting on a box of sugar sweetened cereal or the dictated image of perfection programmed by hours in front of a screen that insisted I couldn’t be happy unless I owned the latest fashion or drove the newest car or smelled a certain way or walked a certain way or looked a certain way or spoke a certain way.

The struggles and joys and passions and pains and heartbreaks are each but a single step along the paths of our lives.

Today my journey brings me back to the acquisition of “stuff”, but not in the way it did back then. Today my intentions guide both my needs and desires as they apply to others. They tell me that the life I have led these past years, paying off old debt, finding myself and being true to that Self, exposing my underbelly to the entire world, ready to feast on it, without fear, was necessary. Essential.

Each step I have made has led me here to this place of love and gratitude.

Now, in complete surrender to, and acceptance of, a grace that I work to prove my worth of receiving, I push forward with plans left by the roadside long ago.

Plans to live. Fully. One step at a time.

Because life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.

Travel far.

Spring Prayer

Selene, Goddess of the Moon

You who are Maiden, Mother, Ancient Wisdom, and all things Divine

As winter releases its long hold I ask that you help me to release those things that harm or hurt or hinder

and to nurture only those that serve or enlighten

As spring returns and life renews I ask that you fold me in your love and feed my soul that I may grow

Guide my my hands, and keep my body strong, so I reflect your good intentions

Guide my mind and soul so I learn from the pain and suffering that all endure

Guide my heart and spirit, and lead me through your love, so I can fulfill your your plan and live my life as One

For these things I offer you my gratitude because I know you have already granted them

————

Image by Zeng Hao Dun Huang

Life

I could spend my life

Lamenting what I may never have

Or learning

and moving on

With gratitude

I could spend it

Worrying about tomorrow

Or crying about yesterday

Or I can choose to live

Now

I could spend my life

Acquiring material things

Things with no meaning

Or I can use my time

Improving my Self

and my world

I could spend my life

In so many ways

Ignoring emotion

In blind devotion

Pretending

Offending

Or embracing my humanity

As sacred and divine

and offering hope

To all I encounter

(including myself)

and learning to love

My choice is made easy

By one simple truth:

I can imagine no better life

Than one spent learning to love

————————-

Image: “People at the Beach” by Nat B