How to be ‘open’ to what I could be?

August 21, 2009

Question: I stumbled upon your site and was struck by your post. This is me. Your writing hit my heart and I do feel that you are correct when you said that “as long as were lost in you my thoughts, lost in planning, managing, changing . . .” But I am afraid I don’t know what else to do. I have no idea how to find out how to step away from those things I feel I need to control . . . like securing a job with retirement, earning a living doing something I don’t love in order to send the kids to college and feed us, being the single mom 24/7. I have no idea how to step away from this life and be ‘open’ to what I could be. Any hints?? Answer: This is going to be a terribly long, and probably frustratingly unhelpful, response, but I don’t really have a short and simple answer to your question. Actually I don’t know that I have any answer at all. All I have is my experience, which I will be happy to share with you: I know exactly what you mean when you say: “I don’t know what else to do”, and in saying so you hit the problem right on the head: we don’t know what else to do, because we, humans, don’t know who else we could be, how else we could be. Worrying, doing, striving, organizing, managing, is how we are trained to be, it is how we are taught to relate, to live. It is my experience that it is our mind that creates all the noise and struggle, and that we, humans, believe that who we are is our mind. We believe that we are our thoughts, preferences, opinions, ideas, achievements. It is also my experience that our mind is not who we are, that we are much more, much greater, that we are what is called God. I found that I can choose who to be. I can choose to identify with my mind and lead the “normal” life with all it’s normal problems and tribulations, or I can choose to let go of my mind and be who I really am, be God. Boundless, unlimited, absolutely free to create my life however I want to. I believe that this choice is the key, and it is my choice, my very personal choice. I don’t believe that anyone can tell me how to make this choice, nor do I feel that I can tell anyone how to make it. It will be very different for every single human on the planet because each of us is unique, and so each of us chooses who to be in a unique way. There are, however, plenty of ways and practices that help in becoming present, help us experience who we are in a different way, from a different angle, from a different perspective than that of the mind. I begun with zen buddhism, I practiced it for about 7 years before I met my current teacher, Brooks Greene-Barton. As I experienced, through my practice, who I can be other than what I was told, as I felt myself and the reality in a different way than the “normal” one, I became more and more present to who I really am, other than my mind, and so I was able to choose, consciously, to be myself only, more and more. It is not an easy thing to do, though it is simple. It is hard to break any habit, and the habit of believing that our mind is who we are is a very persistent one, reinforced by society, reaching back thousands of years. It is a habit that we were trained in since birth. It does take some time and practice to be present in a different way, to start seeing reality in a different way. Ultimately though, I believe that it is a simple matter of choosing to be who you are, God, not the mind.

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