Fear, frustration, and anxiety, in many people, stem from a fundamental misunderstanding about the true nature of the self. Many times we over-identify with one aspect of ourselves while ignoring other aspects. When you shine the light of awareness at yourself when you are in a quiet, concentrated space, who is there? Are you a body? Are you your thoughts? Are you your experiences and past? Are you your hopes? Are you your DNA? Are you your family of origin? Are you a spirit? The closer you look, the more “you” remain elusive.
Who are you?
Like a beautiful storm that can’t be located in the rainbow, the wind, or the rain, you too are a set of conditions. The conditions in your life have created the “you” of this moment. In 10 minutes, a week, or 20 years, new conditions will present in your life that will create a new arising, a new specter of you. Even if you believe in an undying soul or spirit, this surely isn’t all you are. Like a rainbow, you change with present conditions and there is no solid you outside the conditions that form your identity.
When we loosen our grip around elements that we think comprise our essence, we can effectively watch with more intelligence, interest, and clarity. Instead of being controlled by unwanted thoughts, for example, you can experience those same thoughts as one temporary arising of your being. Instead of feeling aversion toward your thoughts, you could instead use those thoughts as the bridge to start being more conscious.
You are Perfect Now
In this way, you are perfect now. Not once did those thoughts or feelings abate, not at some imaginary point in the future, but now. All you experience, at any moment, whether you classify the experience as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, can be used to further your spiritual development, increase your mindfulness, to lead you straight into the heart of life. In this blessed place, you are free because no stimulus comes with an automatic or “knee-jerk” response.
Those old pains or hurts, those old habits, those persistent thoughts can be seen anew. They can trigger no reaction or only wholesome reactions instead of habits. If you are willing to see what arises as it arises and to be with what leaves as it leaves, you can be free.Now you are the watcher, ever at peace, not swept into believing momentary experiences are “real,” that they comprise you in some fundamental way. You, my friend, aren’t what you think, you aren’t what you feel…unless you do these things half-asleep, without conscious awareness, they become your destiny.
If you are conscious, your rough or undesirable parts can be seen as endearing, human, and even a source of amusement. “Oh, I see you my old friend fear. I see you, but I don’t have to go with you today.” By being warm toward ourselves, and all aspects of ourselves, we immediately set up a friendly environment. Instead of endless internal fighting, why not lay the sword down and reside in the big mind, the peaceful stream of conscious awareness?