Hello! Anybody here? Sure is dark inside. Like a huge cavern with hardly any light.
I’m looking for someone called “My Self.” Was last seen in the vicinity of this body where I am seeking ’em. The young fool lost the way. Thought the Self was one of those roles we’re taught to play. Or the thoughts and emotions one gets through the course of a day. An hour. This very moment.
Of course there’s a direct connection between the Self and the Body I’m travelling within right now. Not, sure if it’s going to hold up much longer.The body, that is. It’s been around a while. Since the days of John F. Kennedy. What’s that? You say “John F Who?” Never mind. I guess you have a fresher body. This one, by the way, still shows signs of smoking cigarets more than half its life. See a few signs of alcohol and drug use. All recreational. But, it still took a toll. Except for that red wine “imported” lately in moderation.
No, the Self is clearly not this body. This is made up of 70 percent water and a lot of salt. Changes drastically over a period of years, not to mention decades. Deteriorating day by day, although exercising has help shore up some rickety blood vessels.
The Self was last seen playing one of many roles. I think a Buddhist or a Kabbalist. They’re pretty much the same from what I see here. No, he didn’t shave his head or submit to circumcision. Doesn’t want to get into the role that much! Although, you got to admire a person who throws themselves into each new “identity” with such “gusto.” Like the time he played “officer” in the Army while in Vietnam, or the street corner a cappella “singer” in North Philadelphia. Yeah, that was a long time ago, but look at how the Self took to Sufism, dancing a Dervish whirl, as if there was no tomorrow! Crashed into the wall several times before getting the hang of it. Didn’t quit. And, that was only a few months ago.
Gotta let the Self know, that while a person plays a role — be it mother or father, husband/wife, son/daughter — it is merely a role, and not the true Self. Each career move, be it a cashier or fork-lift driver, to performing as a brain surgeon or Las Vegas stand-up comic, is simply another persona your Self tries on for size. None are the real “You,” the real Essence of who “You‘ are.
And, we all know that our Selves are not the emotions we feel. We are not the anger, hate or envy that filled us one time or another. Nor are we the love, compassion and gratitude we’ve expressed, more so lately, as the Self undergoes “corrections” getting closer and closer to answering the question why our Self was created in the first place.
Well, let’s see. The essence of a person is not the roles he or she plays, not the body that changes all the time. It’s not found in any emotions, no matter how strong they are.
So, it has to be our thoughts. Hello! Thoughts? We’ve identified you as the true Self. “I think, therefore, I am.” Descartes said it. Couple hundred years ago. Not much has changed since then. You say that you have changed? You mean the thoughts you have now are not the same you had yesterday? That they’re colored by events, even a certain temperament?
Thoughts change all the time? You say most don’t even stay in the present, but jump from the past to the future? That they’re unreliable, too easily influenced by the aging process, our emotions, the roles we play? Ok, now you want to enlighten me. Direct me to a time when I was a teenager. Seek out a memory. A good one. I see my Self kissing Peggy McPeake. It’s dark out. April 11, 1963. We hug, I feel the warmth of her against me. She has agreed to “go steady.” What Joy Life bestowed on me. I’ll never forget it . . .
Look around you, Michael J, remember how you were, what you saw and felt. That is your Self. The same one You are Today.
Now, go back further. To age 5 or 6. “There I am, walking beneath the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Alone. Got away from supervision. I fall. Try to catch myself. Awkwardly twist my left hand, with the fleshy part near the “karate chop” section coming into direct contact with a jagged piece of glass from an old soda bottle. Blood seeps out. I want to cry but don’t. . .”
Remember what it was like? How you felt? What you thought about? That youngster before reaching the so-called “Age of Reason.” That is your elusive Self.
The “person” you are today is the same one. Same child, same teenager, same loving creature you are made to be. Look no further. There is Your Self. Concealed beneath layers of “growing up.“
I’m glad I found You. Enjoy! Now, can you direct me out of here; gotta get breakfast and make plans for the day’s activities before I forget too many of those important things I put on hold while seeking You. Where did I put that “to do” list this morning . . .