You are NOT your house, job, car, money, possessions or your THOUGHTS!
I want you to imagine for a moment that you are just you. Imagine that you are sitting on a bench and you have no job, no career, no family, no clothes, no car, no possessions and you have to rely simply on who you are as a person. Now ask yourself these questions:
1. Who am I? What qualities or attributes do I possess within me that make me who I am?
2. How have I used my possessions to tell myself, my family and the world who I am? Can I live with myself without all of these “things” representing me?
3. Without my thoughts, who am I?
There is nothing wrong with being blessed and having a home, job, career, car – even two or three cars, a family, lovely clothes and lots of possessions. We are entitled to our divine inheritance as is everyone on this planet.
However, there is something wrong with tying our whole identity as a human being – the organic, molecular structure and the spirit within us – to a series or collection of physical man-made items that we call ours. Why? Because we get so tied up and stressed out with the purpose of obtaining – and then maintaining and sustaining these things, that we forget our own self-worth – who we truly are without these things.
I am convinced this is why many people who become wealthy or famous or politically successful fall into the temptation of corruption – it’s because they forget who they are at the core – they’ve lost sight of their inner self that has integrity and honesty – in the pursuit of fame, fortune and prestige. The rest of us who live moderately successful lives also do this – perhaps not on the same scale, but we forget or resent spending time with our families because work is more important; we don’t take care of our own health because we are too busy running around to actually run.
What good are any of these things, if we are lying in bed with a disease caused from the stress of obtaining and keeping them or we have lost our families because of our negligence?
It all comes down to this:
Have we put our “Net Worth” before our own Personal Currency – what we are worth as a human being? I am here to tell you that your net worth is not – and never will be – worth more than your own personal currency which consists of your character, your spirit, your ideas and the love you have to offer to your fellow human being.
We can easily lose our jobs, houses, cars, family and all of our possessions; but the real tragedy is when we lose ourselves – our humanity, our integrity, our kindness, our patience towards others and our own families. So today, go sit on a park bench during your lunch and take inventory. If this bench was your home, could you live with yourself?
The third and most important question flies in the face of what Rene Descartes – a French philosopher from the 16th century wrote: “I think therefore I am.” We as humans have come to believe that because we think – we exist and we pride ourselves on the fact that we appear to be at a much higher cognitive – the ability to think – level than our animal and plant friends.
However, it is often amusing to me that it is our very thoughts that cause us the most discomfort and pain and also when they manifest from our mouths in the essence of words and out of our beings as actions, they are what gets us into a lot of trouble sometimes.
What if I told you that you are NOT your thoughts and you exist with or without them. In fact, many sages and ancient philosophers might say that when we are not thinking, we are the most enlightened. We are probably the most relaxed and true to ourselves when we can manage – even for brief moments in time – to not think. When we are not thinking, which usually also entails, judging, worrying, fretting, trying to solve a problem, critiquing or torturing ourselves – we are more aligned with our true essence than at an other moment.
Usually, when we do think, we are re-visiting the past or conjuring what we want now or what we don’t want in our future. Rarely are we thinking – or being – in the present moment of our lives. And the present is the only moment that counts, creates or co-exists with our true being.
Think of a child who has just had something taken away from him; he reaches out and cries for it as if he relies on it for his very existence. All the while, his mother wants to hand him something else in the present moment. The child is so caught up in what he “had” that he can not stop crying and appreciate what he has been given.
It is true if that same mother were to give him a toy in the present moment and then show him a cookie and say, “You can have this in five minutes.” The child would begin to cry for the cookie and demand it now. He cannot wait for the five minutes to unfold as they are meant to; nor can he enjoy the toy he has, because all the while he is looking ahead in the future and wanting the cookie pulled into his “now” moment.
Does this sound familiar? Yes? Yes, because we do not seem to be able to let go of this ego-centric behaviour even as we become adults. We often are pining away, thinking about or crying over something in our past or commiserating, anxiously awaiting or dreading something in our future. All the while, the present moment is passing us by – only to be cried about tomorrow when we realize we cannot get that moment back.
Why are we so fixated on the past and the future?
Next Post: Our fixation with what’s behind and ahead of us, meanwhile we walk into a pole.