Does My Life Journey Answer the Question, “Who Am I?”

In achievement of goals, the process one undertakes is important as it contains the action that results in the achievement. The voyage contains essential information about and for the one who takes it. Perhaps the journey defines the traveler as much as the traveler defines the journey. What if my bubble of limited awareness is a symbolic story of identity?

In the Hero’s Journey story format the hero doesn’t go from zero to hero in an instant. S/he becomes a hero in a process that progresses from resisting to embracing.

The hero starts out unaware of their hero status. Through the journey of awakening, the hero becomes aware of that which was always there – their “hidden” identity. The quest culminates in their embrace of that identity. The supposition is that they will continue on as a hero.

Life As A Journey

Perhaps life is about living the journey rather than arriving at the destination. I might consider my life as a story that started in conception, through birth, to a destination that must be death. That makes my hero’s passage from birth to death a series of mini-journeys of beginnings and destinations. A story that culminates in embracing an awareness of a new me awakening, while laying to rest old misunderstanding. Self in a return to wholeness.

Maybe my resistance to the journey provides me with the experience of it. In that case, I wonder if death simply represents my letting go of the need for an identity – played out in my story.

My journey of life seems to remind me regularly to focus on my purpose as well as my process of living it. This invokes a “why” question: Why am I who I am? The answer may help me recover hidden motives and understand my original intention for the journey.

I follow a process I’ve been building as my truth from before birth. That process is inspired by a purpose, one that sustains my enthusiasm for the journey and my process. In this regard, my life is self-sustaining.

Maybe it’s not about changing the “wrong way” I’ve been doing life to the “right way.” Maybe it’s about becoming aware of why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing and who I’ve been doing it for, rather than how I’ve been doing it. With gratitude and attention, there’s no need to fix the journey, just flow with it.

Right now, I’m doing what I do to experience gratefully what I’m experiencing. Living is the expression of that gratitude. That’s a gift!

“What if” and “What else”

What If …?

  • Gratitude is an expression of coming to an understanding of what I once misunderstood?
  • Courage is not a ‘cure’ for fear? Rather, what if understanding is the solution to the problem of fear?
  • It’s maybe more useful to understand than to know things?
  • I realized that the less defensive I become, the more adaptable I become?
  • When hearts connect, light turns on in mind?
  • I am not here or there or anywhere?
  • I seek first to understand my heart? What if then the truths hidden there will bring to light all else?
  • Memories are like breadcrumbs unconsciously dropped along our path to the future?
  • I am THE cause and THE effect of my creation?
  • Movement into life means stillness within?
  • It is in the waking and not the sleeping we find rest?
  • For every beam of light there are shadows fleeing?
  • The capacity to love increases as understanding of self expands?
  • By seeking wholeness, we realize lack? In defending lack, we realize life?
  • The ultimate choice of who and why I AM is up to me.
  • Fear stands at the door of every quest?
  • As the great illusionist, fear mocks understanding with judgments?

In my bubble of limited awareness, what I give focus to as real IS REAL. I tend to feel the need to judge all things from a perspective that my reality is the truth. And insist that everyone else agree with me.

That need makes everything and everyone a justification of my fear that they won’t “get” the truth. And turns me into a staunch crusader and valiant warrior for my rightness.

What Else …?

What can I do when a “What if…?” question turns into a dread statement like, “Something wrong…, that’s what!”

Might I take advantage of the plasticity of my reality to go beyond “What if…?” with “What else…?”

I might ask four simple questions when a “What if…?” question results in a statement of dread:

  1. “What else…?”
  2. “How else…?”
  3. “Why else…?”
  4. “Who else…?”

Problem Solving, Predictions, and the Lack Cycle

Resistance is the basis of perceivable phenomena I believe to be reality. My senses provide feedback in the form of resistance that validates an environment of lack. When I experience resistance, I validate a reality of defense. In that defense, I feel a need to fulfill a lack. To the degree I validate lack, I validate its fulfillment – problem solving gives me a sense of purpose.

When I perceive resistance, I’m working to resolve it as a problem with a solution. Emotion adds motivation to my purpose to solve the problems I perceive.

Because I perceive lack as a problem needing a solution, I work towards a sense of fulfillment. Because I’m always lacking, I can never achieve complete fulfillment no matter how much I want or need it. A sense of fulfillment is as close as I can ever get to completion.

One might say I need to solve the problem of lack in order to continue as a living entity that changes – evolves over time. Perception of change could be thought of as evidence of perception of lack in search of completion. One might think of evolution in terms of lack never completely satisfied!

When I deny that lack exists, I acknowledge it. Consider that the defense I use to prove lack as an illusion proves its reality. Thus, I create a dualistic view of my life as a cycle of need and fulfillment while denying lack’s existence… and yet my denial makes it so.

Problem Solving and the Lack Cycle

Problem solving is a process of identification matched to a program that results in an outcome. That outcome is subject to the process that created it. Thus, lack, as a problem to be solved, connects to a program that results in an outcome. That outcome is, itself, a potential problem with a potential solution. That’s the lack cycle.

There’s a measure of predictability in cycles. In a cycle of need and fulfillment, I defend my predictions with a sense of confidence. So much so, that I’ll apply an inordinate amount of confidence to less probable predictions and feel right about it.

Predictability, when accurate enough, can build confidence in knowing what to do and when to do it. When my confidence is strong enough it won’t matter the outcome, I’ll believe I’m right regardless.

I predict solutions to future lack of confidence before it becomes a present threat. I see that projection of confidence as a useful tool in the present to offset my doubt about the future.

Problem-solving, making predictions, and exercising the lack cycle represent one method of expressing separation from wholeness.

This raises a question – Is there another way to perceive lack? And raises an awareness – Maybe it’s not a problem, it’s a feature!

The Peace Paradox

The paradox: the more one seeks peace, the less one finds. This because seeking acknowledges lack of that sought and finding signifies the end of seeking it.

  • Misunderstanding: My life is a problem I need to solve, the solution to which ends my life.
  • Understanding: Life simply is.

“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In a world of complements as competition, defense – in the form of cause and effect – seems to exist as problem and solution. It’s a loop condition! That is, until I see both as one, I realize my misunderstanding.

One might see the humor in it.

Peace comes at a price: constant effort towards its achievement and maintenance. This raises a question. Why am I not at peace when I’ve worked so hard for it? My answer has always been to double down on my efforts because I must not be doing enough. You know, if at first you don’t succeed… try doing the same thing with renewed determination over and over again hoping for a different result. Sound familiar?

And there’s the paradox – and the humor. It seems the more I invest in achieving and defending peace, the less peace I experience. Even when I feel I’ve achieved a sense of peace, my defense of it hinders my enjoyment of it.

Challenging My Understanding

I defend what I believe gives me peace. Meanwhile, I feel threatened I will lose that peace. How can I feel threatened when I’m feeling peaceful?

It feels like a catch-22 situation in which I use the process that created the problem to solve the problem. One cannot use limited awareness to escape limited awareness or misunderstanding to correct misunderstanding.

What might happen when I shift my intention from seeking wholeness to celebrating separation? Rather than seeking to solve the problem of separation, I could enjoy the experience of it.

Perhaps it’s not about problem-solving, it’s about living in gratitude – awareness of who I am. Disconnecting from the value judgments I place on my creations allows me to enjoy being a creator. This is a different experience from that lived in judgments of right-wrong, good-bad, defensive limited/limiting awareness.

“’Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.” Rumi

Questioning A Satisfied Mind

Although the satisfied mind invites a challenge to it, it resists questioning because it feels satisfied. No need to ask a question when you feel you have the answer. Peace resists challenge!

Yet, I’m driven from deep within to understand what is beyond what I understand. I feel an urgency to expand my limited awareness to appreciate what I now cannot imagine. I wonder…

What if peace is not the answer? What if my sense of peace and comfort is an invitation to exploration into gratitude?

The Domestication of My Ego – Part 2

In my bubble of limited awareness, I see survival as a set of unquestionable needs that must be filled. Rigid adherence to this program of need-fulfillment is what I call self-domestication.

Let’s investigate three aspects of domestication and apply them to ego.

  1. A sense of survival (needs)
  2. A sense of relationship
  3. An understanding of self in relationship

Sense of Survival

Defense is a survival program that domesticates my thoughts and behaviors. When I domesticate, I trade one understanding of how to survive for another. Thus, I adapt to a new intention.

In the case of dependence, the survival program is master over me. I domesticate to that understanding by defending it. In that understanding and defense, I am not in charge of my life – that domesticator is. That domesticator is not a person, place, or thing. It is my dependence on it! Even when the domesticator proves to be me!

Because survival has a very narrow understanding, I must seek resources to help me live and escape predation. My survival program knows nothing of options or choices because it’s strictly controlled. My mind adds versatility to consider options.

Sense of Relationship

Perhaps domestication is adaptation to the power structure in a relationship matrix of which I and others are served. In the case of a pet, for example, this power structure is represented in the difference between master and pet. This structure appears in families in the power difference between generations, and, to some degree between domestic partners. To the degree one adapts to power structures, one exhibits domestication.

In the process of domesticating animals, man and animal live by the same process of give and take to create a mutually beneficial relationship. I can do the same with my mind by accepting a different relationship with my ego. Thus, a new way emerges.

Understanding of Self in Relationship

When the ego is in charge, we both feel afraid. When the conscious mind is in charge, everyone feels more secure. Out of that relationship emerges selfless service.

Understanding the power structure of mind in relationship with ego is the beginning of realization and exercise of compassion.

The more I learn about my world, the more I am able to “know myself” as the ancient Greeks admonished us. The more I know myself, the more I am able to exercise compassion. It’s a positive feedback loop that acknowledges ego in the process of knowing self. This can free the mind from its shackles – bringing all aspects of creation into the light of compassion.

What if compassion is the goal of the game of life?

When I distrust my ego – “it’s something I have to overcome” – what am I saying to an aspect of me? What would a new relationship look like with my ego? How might I connect to my ego with gratitude, affection, and respect?

What if I were to consider my ego in a loving relationship with me – like I would a loved pet or companion?

  • What do my ego and I want/need/intend?
  • How can I relate to my ego in a way that honors it?
  • Why do I want a relationship with my ego?
  • Who am I with my ego?

“I train humans, and rehabilitate dogs.” (Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer)

What if I were to adapt Cesar’s quote to:

“As I awaken my conscious mind, I rehabilitate my ego.”