It is amazing how quickly we can take ourselves away, sometimes consciously but mostly unconsciously, from who we are and who we believe we can be. A job, working for someone else or for another organization, can have the power to do this. In my case it was a four year position with an organization involved in economic and labour market forecasting in a specific economic sector in Canada.
Since 2002, I have tried to engage my life in a way that recognizes the complete and total responsibility I possess for all my choices, actions and consequences. It means looking at the world from a different perspective. It means recognizing that I am the only one in control of my life and that my life, ME, is inter-related and connected to a much larger ME that is the universe. Comments from others become feedback I offer mySelf. Disagreements, arguments and conflict become opportunities to explore the unknown, the other, and offer a chance to grow and learn. The love I give and receive is a reflection of the power of me. It is a fundamental knowing that I am everything and everything is me.
Once you know this about yourself you can never not know it. Yet, however strong I hold these perceptual beliefs you can lose them. They can deteriorate. Just like muscles developed through weightlifting, when the workouts stop muscle strength disappears. During the four years I was working on forecasting future labour markets I chose to let the job slowly mask over the larger identity I had become because I forgot to work the muscle.
The external rewards of the job were rather good. A chance to travel, often in Business Class; a title; external recognition from peers; the chance to play the “expert” and the opportunity to work at a level I thought appropriate to my skills and abilities. I let these “external” factors accentuate and grow the dualistic conditioned self I thought I had left behind.
It’s not that who I had become since my authentic journey started in 2002 had completely disappeared. That identity did allow me to “control” and “manage” my situation with others who were stuck on the surface and unwilling to dive deeply into themselves. It allowed me to move through the role somewhat effortlessly. Those years were fun and useful and perhaps necessary in my development of who I am now.
And sometimes I think maybe I needed to do that for a while to realize where home truly is.
In Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha the main character, a Brahmin, starts as a student of the enlightenment, renouncing the trappings of civil life for the life of education in realization. After a meeting with the Buddha, who’s Way he rejects, Sid wanders and eventually settles in a town of earthly pleasures where he becomes a rich and powerful merchant. For many years, he enjoys this role, until one day, he realizes it is the sham, an empty game. He leaves the town and returns to the river where his deeper, more authentic Self emerges in the many voices emanating from the waters. He lives out the rest of his life as an enlightened ferryman.
I’m feeling a little bit like Sid after playtime in the game of earthly delights. It is only now I have realized what was covered, what was subsumed. In gifting myself some space, openness and freedom during the last few months, a familiar feel of body as energy has re-emerged to conscious play.
(originally written August 19, 2013)