What we become, as a result of how we have been conditioned, acts as a veil covering what we truly are. The profound experience of life and sense of being that we are born as and into is layered over by our acquired beliefs and efforts to be other.
I now realize that for the most of my early and mid-life an ongoing anxiety loomed beneath what I believed I was. The anxiety just seemed to be part of who I was. For any extended period of time I was not able to feel a sense of contentment and acceptance of myself as I was. Convention and cultural norms helped to perpetuate an urgent need to become something other because what I was, was not enough. It is beyond memory but I suspect that at some point early I lost touch with the wonderful experience of the gift of life and the essence of that being that I had earlier experienced. I came to live with an ongoing sense of inadequacy, however unconscious it may have been at times. It seems now that it was inherent aspect of early conditioning and it provided fuel and a focus for my intentions and actions towards becoming something more adequate, a promise which never seemed to be delivered. Instead it carried me further away from a sense of connection to most everything. There was no sense that I was loved as I was and I did not know what it was to love myself or another. I could never really come to tolerate the awareness of feeling inadequate but I learned to cope with it by avoiding intimate self-awareness and by ways that diverted and numbed the anxiety and suffering that were present.
Now out of the silence and in the light of a new awareness I see it all for what it was. I see that those symptoms were indicators that I had gone astray and that there was something in the core of my being sending signals that I just was not ready to hear. I eventually came to realize that there was something of what I had become that was limiting and confining my authentic experience more than it was aiding me to become something better. It seems to have taken a certain quality of energy to contain and self define in this way but it was an habitual response that felt safer to assume what was familiar, what was conventional and what I had been taught to be as it provided some sense ofstructure and meaning.
I don’t know why it is that I have come to see in a clearer and more authentic way. It seems now that my meditation practice has been more of an aspect of my awakening than a means of becoming awake. In that awakening there has been something revealed that I had in the past ignored. I now regularly attend to an experience of being that is more grand and vast than anything that I had experienced in what I had learned to be. It had always been there illuminating a way to deeper awareness however diverted from it I had become.
The other night I watched the Herman Melville film production, “Moby Dick”. At one point in the movie Captain Ahab (William Hurt) says “the world is a white sheet and we all draw our little stories on it.” Maybe it is for me just”that realization” that life is in its essence a white sheet and what I had created myself to be was a story with no inherent truth in it. Quite possibly awakening can be seen as attending more to the white sheet. Ahab seemed to be aware of the white sheet but still focused on the story as many do. For me it has become about the white sheet which symbolizes an undefinable illumination of life and being itself. In coming to realize this, I am able to let go of the story and be with what it is that is my essence and to let that essence live through me. From 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 “to live we must die”. There are still moments that I have too remind myself to let the story go.