Janine's Articles From the Soul From the Outside Poetry Corner Prisoner Letters

WHO? WHAT?
Issue 89

A few things I’ve read these past weeks have struck me, they made me stop and think.  I thoroughly enjoy when that happens so I allowed myself to go where my thoughts seemed to want to take me.

I was at a retreat with Neale Walsch just after Christmas where he spoke of his friendship with Echart Tolle.  He said that Eckhart is one of the few people he knows who has totally put aside his ego and lives in the moment.  I have put an excerpt of his book, “The Power of Now” in this issue (page 10) for you to read.

At one point Neale was ready to leave and had gotten in his car with Eckhart standing next to the door, saying his goodbyes.  It started to rain,  it was pouring.  Eckhart’s lady-friend ran to a take cover and called to Eckhart to hurry before he caught a cold.  Neale says that Eckhart just stood there as though nothing unusual was happening.  He calmly and without any hesitation finished the conversation.  He had absolutely no judgment about being rained upon.

I’ve been wondering what it would feel like to live my life like that.  To accept everything that was happening around me, to me, without the slightest judgment about it.  Total acceptance.

That’s what Tolle writes about in his book, “The Power of Now” .  He states that if we put aside our ego and let go of the past and the future with all their worries and constraints, we are left with this moment of now which is totally free of problems, preoccupations, obstacles or anything else that would take our peace from us.

Happiness comes from living in the moment.  But in order to do that, we must be ready to let go of all our misconceptions about what our life is about.  We must let go of the stories we tell ourselves about our lives, stories that are full of drama.  Stories that are full of judgments.

Can I do that? I must admit it’s a bit frightening to even think about doing that.  Who am I if I live only in the now?  If my past doesn’t matter, if the future will only happen when it gets here and at that point will not be the future anymore?

What am I if I have nothing to do with either my past or my future or even anything to do with the circumstances of my life?

Who am I?  What am I really, absent all the outside stuff?

How would I even describe myself if I did not use the labels I’m so familiar with,  my name, my gender, nationality, background, education, and goals?

Something else I’ve re-read recently had me wondering what I am under all the layers.  I know we are all complex beings.  I know we show one side of ourselves to the world and keep the very worst....and the very best... to ourselves for fear of rejection.

I’ve known for a long time that we all have a lot of wounds in us.  I know we cover those wounds as best we can.  Those wounds have produced a lot of fear (or has the fear produced the wound?),  that are very often covered by anger, making some of us passive victims, others passive-aggressive while still others are simply aggressive.  All of these reactions arise in order to defend ourselves from further pain.

Healing, I believe, is achieved when we are able to look past the anger, past the wounds, past the pain and look at the fears straight on.  But that’s my own interpretation of healing.  Others don’t agree with me and work towards healing in their own way and that’s fine, it’s great, actually.  Whatever works for each person is what they should be doing.

I believe most of us spend most of our lives trying to deal with life as best we can, trying to defend ourselves from further hurt, trying to overcome obstacles as they come.

Eckhart doesn’t do that.  Not at all.  He  believes all our wounds come with a story that is happening only in our minds and, as such, is not real.  Our life, when lived moment to moment, has no story and, because of that,  is the only real thing we have.

So I’m back to questioning myself about myself.  What do I have if I don’t have story?  Who am I if I can’t use any of the usual stuff to define myself?

I feel that this letting go of my story is leaving me very vulnerable, without guidelines about what my life is about, where it’s going.  Who am I? What am I?

These are seriously important questions that are leaving me without any comforting answers.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about the last few weeks.  And I still don’t know the answer.

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I just had a thought (that happens a lot when I’m writing these articles where previously unanswered questions get some light shined on them! That’s a big part of why I love writing this newsletter so very much).  So here’s my thought.  I think those questions and their answers are Ego-driven.  I think if I’m living in the Now, I wouldn’t even think to ask such things.  I wouldn’t care.  The answers would be unimportant.

This is without a doubt the weirdest I’ve ever felt about an answer I’m given while writing an article.

I’ve thought for years and years that answering the question, “Who Am I?” is one of the most important things we can ever do for ourselves.  I’ve even written an article by that title in the Aug-Sept 2014 issue.

I’ve tried to keep that question in mind and answer it as often as I remembered to do so, knowing that my answer would change with time and that was fine.

But those answers were always about my story...even when I described myself as T. de Chardin suggested, as “a spiritual being having a human experience” I was still seeing my story in that.

So who am I, what am I without a story?

Frankly, I don’t think there is an answer to that.  I think all these questions come from my Ego enjoying mind games...what some would call mind f....ing.  Turning things over and over in my head, keeping me very busy, trying to make my life mean something other than just what is, trying to just be happy and filled with wonder at what I have in front of me in each moment of Now.

Sometimes, my Ego seems very quiet, at least much more so than usual.  During those moments, I feel such peace, it’s astonishing.  I look all around me and see only beauty.  It is a wonderful feeling.

I believe that feeling comes close to having me experience who I really am, when all the problems and difficulties, wounds and fears in my story seem to fade.

That feeling of joy, peace, wonder at all the beauty of the world around me is who I am; that bundle of feelings is what I am.  When I am in that place of peace and joy, I feel I have nothing to do, no goals I need to reach, nothing I need to change around me.  All I can and wish to do in those moments is let myself feel as much love as I possibly can.

Living in the Now is very simple.  Not easy, mind you, but simple.  When I catch myself thinking about my “issues” I just change those thoughts to focus on something more pleasant.  Seems too simple?   Try it!

You just might experience the Power of Now.

With lots of love