The Self that goes on changing.
Lately I have been spending time contemplating the "self". It's an interesting thing to meditate on, because the thing I have come to realize is that there is no solid "me" at all - more like a flowing river, a self that goes on changing. I came across a website recently that shared a philosophy of "headlessness" in that it was inspired by the fact that we are headless when we look at ourselves. For instance my eyes look out now and see two hands typing, I can look at my arms and legs and feet - but unless I go to a mirror I cannot see my head, and when I DO look into the mirror I am seeing myself backwards so I have never actually seen myself at all as other people see me, in real time.
Are you the self you were as a baby? As a child? As a teenager? In your twenties? As a parent? In grief? Drunk? In anger? Scared? Happy? Excited? In love? When you're sleeping and dreaming? What is this self we call the self?
The best conclusion I came up with is that "I" am a collection of experiences housed in a head with a body machine that goes on experiencing the world through my senses. I also sense that there is nothing solid about my body at all - it's a mass of cells that are constantly dying, renewing, and expressing themselves based on proteins excreted from hormonal responses. Basically I'm a super sophisticated machine - we all are. But that's just the body. Where does my consciousness lie?
No one knows. I sure don't. But I DO believe that we are all connected and interdependent, that my energy has an effect on other people and theirs on me, that it's my gift to be present to experience and try to take it in as mindfully as I can.
This way, I can enjoy life, everyday. Because in ultimately, as Ram Dass said, "We are all just walking each other home." This quote I used on this page is from a headstone in an old cemetery in Virginia City. It said simply, of Emily, "She is gone, and we are going all. Like flowers we wither, like leaves we fall." I don't view death as a fearful thing so much as an inevitable thing, which also has unknown timing. Living with this always on my mind helps me let go of things that don't matter, not to stress out about stuff, to look around with awe at this amazing planet, to love deeply - and laugh every chance I get. :)
We are ever changing selves. Enjoy the ride.
xoxo - Cheryl