You are searching for yourself. “Who am I?” you ask. What is my purpose in life? Should I go to graduate school? Should I become a firefighter?
I commend you. It took me 50 years to figure some of this out so I want to share it with you.
We are a composite of three distinct entities and they are often at cross purposes with one another.
Our body is the physical structure that houses the mind and through which our energy flows like a pleasant wind. It needs to be safe, soothed and connected to be healthy and strong. Without this a deep dark hole opens up in the pit of our stomach. The hole grows deeper and wider as we continue to ignore it. Frantically we keep stuffing it with food and drugs but it is bottomless.
Our mind is our wannabe God. It seeks to control our body, our life and energy. It wants to survive at all costs. It seeks recognition, fame, applause, always wanting to be right. When it does not get what it wants it gets angry, impatient, defensive, and starts complaining and blaming others. Deep down inside it knows it is fake. In order to hide that discovery it keeps piling layers upon layers of protection and armor to where the body and energy gets smothered and trapped.
Our energy is that gentle, child-like, pure essence that permeates through us with each breath. When ignored and intimidated by the mind it hides, often in that black hole in the pit of our stomach. Occasionally it comes out to play like when the mind is anesthetized with drugs or in meditation.
Integrating these three entities can be a life long endeavor. All three are essential.
So where do we begin?
The good news is that you are already well along on your journey by asking the question “who am I?” The answer of course is, all three. Here is the humble advice of your Aunt given with love and awe of your potential.
Become acquainted with your energy. While sitting quietly, direct your attention to your breath. Your breath pulls in the energy, not just air, from your surroundings into our body energizing and healing it. Play with it. Discover how you can change your energy state with some rapid deep breaths where your whole body feels charged and tingly. Now take some slow calming breaths with long expirations and see how quickly you become relaxed and drift off to sleep. Thats it. You are now in control of your own energy state.
Watch where in your body your energy wants to go and become aware of any areas of tightness or pain in your body. Give those areas your loving attention. You’re now beginning to integrate the body with your energy.
While in this calm, connected state become aware of all the gifts that this universe has bestowed upon you. Are you good with words and able to counsel and teach? Are you empathic? Are you trustworthy? Do you feel compassion? Are you a good friend? Do you seek knowledge? Do you have the fortitude to stay calm in a chaotic situation?
You will realize that at the core of all the gifts is the principal of service, a desire to facilitate peace and love within yourself and all others. That is our purpose in life. How you accomplish it will depend on your special gift.
Connect your mind to this energy-body complex. Use it to achieve your goals. The mind is clever. Set it to work to figure out ways in which to realize your life purpose.
A word of caution here. The mind will resist taking orders from you. You will notice that very often it will directly sabotage your plans. It wants to be in control. It’s agenda is not aligned with your life purpose-yet. It’s responses and needs are based in fear. The fear of being nobody, non existent and ultimately the fear of death. It has a bunch of tricks it will use to derail you.
Be vigilant anytime you feel angry, impatient, resentful, depressed, despondent, defensive, complaining, whiny and insecure. Know immediately that your mind has gone rogue. In fact, anytime you feel diminished in anyway call a time out. Ask yourself what is driving this fear.
According to Sufi tradition, fear usually arises either from a primary or secondary wound. The secondary wound feels like shame. You will feel it in your stomach. We feel that we have failed to fulfill what our society and family required us to do. We feel worthless and it creates a rift in our being. Anytime a life event or encounter touches this wound we either collapse or attack. When you see yourself attacking or collapsing send compassion and loving kindness to yourself. You cannot fill the family hole. You came with your own agenda and your life purpose is the only purpose you need to follow. The primary wound is deeper. You feel abandoned by the Devine. So you turn away with anger, rejecting life. This wound can only be healed by forging a relationship with the divine whatever you conceive it to be. It is usually the start of a spiritual journey.
We are trying to integrate and tame the mind not kill or annihilate it. It is a proud stallion but it is our steed not our jockey. Like a horse whisperer forge a relationship of trust and love with it where it will allow you to slip the bridle into its mouth. Know that you will be kicked and thrown off again and again. It will require your constant presence. The practice of daily meditation where you review your day will allow you to stay connected and to keep an eye on the trickster and it’s mischief.
Then one day you will wake up feeling Real.