What do you see when you look in the mirror? Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
It is all well and good to hold to our principles, beliefs, faiths, rituals, ceremonies and traditions. However, when it comes time to let go of them how often are we able to? Do you know who you are without them? What do you see when you look in the mirror ?Can you see that you are actually the same person whether you cling to one belief or another?
That there comes a time on your path that you will find yourself not needing to grasp so tightly to any one thing, belief, ritual or tradition. That we are taught and conditioned to identify with these from birth, but actually we are born without such labels and tags. That we are born from the wombs of human mothers and that is the last we will all be able to be in the true state of who we are.
This can be a lot to contemplate, but if you sit with it long enough and start to self-liberate from all the identification you are conditioned with you will come to a much fresher, deeper, clearer place of being. It is a huge leap to just drop everything. I am not suggesting this strategy, unless of course this is where you are in your life. I also use the word ‘self’ liberate – for too many of us think that we are going to get liberated and enlightened by someone else doing the work for us, or waving a magic wand and we suddenly wake up in the land of Nirvana.
Being able to start dropping all these conditioned states starts to happen organically the further you commit to your journey of self. So, no need to take the big leap if you are not prepared for it. Self-love, self-care, self- discovery and individuation – as Carl Jung would call it – all come into the practice of dropping/letting go/letting be. This is how studying Buddhism has helped me to get my head around the psychology of concepts and labels, and how we actually are so conditioned into them that we often cannot see the wood for the trees.
Consider for a moment if you are to say I am a Gypsey, or I am a Buddhist or I am a Vegan (it could be any title you are given or have taken for yourself) or I am a student, I am an artist…. Can you actually see anywhere in the physical the title that you are? When you look at yourself in the mirror can you see the description ‘vegan’ or can you see the word in manifestation of ‘artist’?
Plain and simple – no. All you do see is the sum of physical parts manifesting as a human body. We see arm, foot, stomach, face, hair, but we are not those either – are we? We say ‘I am a ‘blonde’, but what exactly is that? Yes, your hair colour may be blonde, but is blonde who you are? No when you look in the mirror you find more than just body parts.
Now stay with me, this is quite a deep contemplation practice, but it really can set you free from the suffocating solid thoughts and dogmas you are living with. You see if nothing is as solid as it seems, and we cannot even get a handle on who we are, then how can we cling to tightly to the labels that we think make us who we are. And this gives us the opportunity to then start dropping what we are clinging so tightly to.
All I do know is that it becomes more and more liberating to drop it all. To finally come to place after years and lifetimes of doing the work, doing the practices that we read so much about and committing to our path.
Question it all. Does this belief, religion, dogma, tradition, ceremony, ritual etc serve me? Or can I still be an amazing person without all of them. Can I decide to use them and honour them, but still see them for what they are? Merely guides, teachers, chaperones and ushers, accompanying us on the road, but not necessarily bound to us for the whole trip. It is the binding, solidifying, clinging, grasping and attaching that causes such problems for us.
The moment we are stripped of a title or tag, there goes our whole personality having a breakdown, because we don’t know who we are anymore. We either then very quickly move onto another unhealthy attachment or spend a vast amount of time trying to figure out who we are (identity crisis 101).
If only we would’ve been instructed from an early age, that who we truly are is not something that is defined by any external structure or classification. Our hair can be blond, but I am not. Our body can be fat, but I am not. Our emotions can display anger, but I am not. Similarly with religious or cultural identification. If we are born in a country but then move when we are very little, what culture do we identify with – even if the birth certificate tells you something else?
Once you start to take this approach to looking at life and your life, it kind of gives one permission to be a little gentler with oneself and others. A little less judgemental, a little more compassionate. And isn’t that the true start of the spiritual journey that so many claim to be on, yet when it comes down to it, they still sit in so much judgment and conditioning.
Well I don’t know about you, but I am going to go look in the mirror right now and see past all the flaws and imperfections I think are my identity, and go straight to the heart of the person looking back at me and start there.
GO HERE to read last week’s article SHOWING UP FOR YOURSELF MIGHT MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD TO AN AUTHENTIC LIFE – The Uncoiled
GO HERE to understand compassion Compassion – Wikipedia