Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The Liquidity of Who We Are
The question is not “What will I be when I grow up?” Instead, there 2 questions: “Who am I?” and “Who will I become?” (or, “Who am I becoming?”). With those questions comes the understanding that neither of the answers is permanent. The answer is not solid, it is not unchangeable. The answer is a liquid, which keeps flowing and changing form. We are fluid, and the answer to “Who am I?” is constantly evolving.
Now, if you want to get technical on me, we are not liquid either. Actually, we are more of a gas—but not really a gas. That doesn’t sound quite right.
What I mean to say is that we are our spirits, our souls. That probably sounds bit elusive in our earth bound bodies.
I guess that main thing that I really know is that we are not our bodies. Our bodies only change and evolve to an extent, then start to deteriorate on us, the speed depending on how well we take care of these temporary vessels. This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my boyfriend’s son as we were driving past a cemetery. Actually, this wasn’t just “a” cemetery…my Uncle Ronnie and my Grandma are actually buried there. Despite that it is only 15 minutes away from where I live, I told him I never go there, because neither my Grandma or Uncle are really there, just their bodies. Seeing his slightly quizzical look, I went on to explain that their spirits are in a much better and more beautiful place. The last thing they are going to do is hang around a graveyard…what would be the point in that?
You’ve also probably heard stories of people “leaving their bodies”, sometimes in meditation, sleep, or trauma.
When I was younger, I remember trying really hard to meditate and leave my body…I had a dreamlike vision of myself doing it, floating around the family room. But, as hard as I willed myself to leave the heaviness of my bones and skin behind, I never really succeeded. However, my dad told me an account of his own “floating” experience. He was in the hospital just having experienced a heart attack. Before he even realized what was going on, he was in surgery having triple bypass surgery performed. His heart stopped. Suddenly, he was staring down at his body, the doctors frantically working. It only lasted a few seconds, thankfully, as his heart started beating again. He had more work to do here first.
Then, there is the story of when my Grandpa Koko (a nickname) passed away. I wasn’t able to be with him at the time of my passing, but someone told me that before he went he calmly said “Barb is here” (“Barb” is my aunt, my grandpa’s daughter, having passed away from cancer several years ago). And together their spirits, their real selves, went back Home.
Anyway, you’re probably wondering what the point of all this is? Why is she telling me about body vs. spirit, solid vs. liquid?
My point is simply to state that who we are is much greater that our jobs, hobbies, pasts, fashion choices, etc. That “growing up” is a relative term, because well, we are constantly growing. Our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs are constantly evolving…what we wanted to be 10 years ago vs. what we are now really isn’t that important. We are more than just a title.
The dilemma that arises from all this? How do you answer the question “Who are you?” without opening with your career “Hi, I’m teacher, salesman, businesswoman, ect” or hobby “I’m a runner, gardener, crafter, etc.”? Yes, these may offer insight to who a person is, but that is not certain nor is the answer complete. Plus, if I were to answer something otherwise you may get some funny looks.
I guess that is something we will have to meditate on. Please feel free to offer your insight in the comment box.
Also, I give my credit to Maria Shriver’s book/audio CD/ graduation speech “Just Who Will You Be?” for inspiring these thoughts and this blog. (She has a great website too: http://mariashriver.com/ )