Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Found Myself in Everything

By Rachel Durling

In this age where knowledge is praised ignorance is frowned upon.  Yet ignorance is often essential in order to have a completely pure experience in this world.  It may sound paradoxical, but sometimes greater self awareness can only come by yielding ourselves to non-awareness.  When we have an idea of ¨who we are,¨ or go on a quest to find that person, we create duality.  In defining ourselves we separate ourselves from the core of existence, and as a result we are denied the joy, liberation, and free falling love that submission to that pure existence grants us.

A newborn baby`s eyes are clear, wide, and sparkle with wonder.  Instead of observing this and concluding that it`s something unique to babies and young children why don`t we ask ourselves, what is it about the way they are experiencing the world that makes them shimmer?  We were all babies at one point – we all know how to glow.  In most adults we see that the light has dimmed.  Is this because we have forgotten something, or could it be that we have learned too much?  

Very young children radically accept everything they encounter because they have no basis of comparison.  Children do not yet rationalize their experiences and so they bumble through this rough and tough and beautiful land like mini-Magellans…endlessly testing their minds and bodies with trust and amazement.  They never stop exploring and the greatest gift they don't know they have is that of ignorance.  The simple fact that they don't yet define these things as 'minds' and 'bodies' grants them the freedom to use them in their own terms.

When we become self aware we are met with a huge challenge; to observe our thoughts, actions, and interactions with the purpose of learning and advancing in our personal and spiritual growth while not identifying with these things.  The moment we identify ourselves as anything; a wife, a businessman, an artist, a yoga teacher, a father, a writer, etc, we contaminate ourselves with expectations.  When we free ourselves of the notion that these labels have anything to do with who we are we become more apt to connect with our own true nature and that of the things and people which surround us. This goes as far as liberating ourselves of the pressure that accompanies the anticipation of the outcome of our work and our creations.  In everything we do we must add a touch of ignorance, as if we have never done it before in order to live the experience in its entirety.  

Since a truly unique creation is born in the exact moment of execution, we never really have done it before, have we?

There is so much life that passes our periphery, beauty lost to our awareness, because we have drawn borders around ourselves.  What if we were nothing?  We would still exist, so would that in turn make us everything?  We did not come into this world incomplete.  Self awareness is something that is learned, so we know that without it, we are still complete.

An animal in the wild is not bound by a sense of self and so is free to be exactly what it is.  While hiking through the Bolivian Amazon I encountered a group of wild monkeys calling to each other and swinging through the trees.  The sound of their call shattered all barriers between me and pure existence and I stood in frozen amazement, tears streaming down my cheeks.  It was something that I can not recall ever experiencing, and realized that what had happened was that by observing other beings living in this state of consciousness I was transported back to my birth, to that innocence that allows us to experience everything in its entirety, in the exact moment, as it is.  

This state of consciousness also liberated me from all fear.  I had no fear of death because I did not even identify with my life, rather, there was just life all around me, and I was that life in itself.  I did not identify with my body, so I had no fear of losing it.  I did not identify with my memories, thoughts, and feelings, so I had no fear of losing the ones I love.  This does not imply an indifference to those things.  On the contrary, it brought me closer to everything and everyone I care about.  The monkeys were a bridge.  A bridge is a thing unique in its form, but it is also something that unites one side with another.  So, the monkeys were a bridge that connected me with their state of consciousness, and in my connection with that, I was part of them as well.  

I lost myself to me, and found myself in everything.

By stepping out of ourselves we step into another, and then another, and into an untamed, fresh, world united.  Forget about who you are and relax into the bliss of being, and you will experience this world as the jungle child. Innocent. Free. Wild.

About the author: Rachel is one of my dearest friends. We met in college almost a decade ago. Her perspective and passion for life connected us from the very beginning. Since our college days Rachel has challenged herself by taking the path less traveled. After spending a few years on the west coast she moved south and has been spending the last 4 years of her life in both Central and South America. As a dancer, artist, yogi, writer, and musician she beautifies any environment she finds herself in. Thank you Rachel for your sincere friendship.

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