Friday, May 3, 2013

It isn't really about me

Have you ever had one of those moments of clarity when you realize that something you once thought to be an absolute truth all of the sudden comes into question? Have you have had one of those moments of clarity where a reality that has guided your every step, decision, feeling, and reaction suddenly crumbles and leaves you standing dazed and confused? I have had that happen in various and sundry ways over the past few years...and I am sure that it will be a normal occurrence in my life for years to come.

In particular I have had that thought regarding the reality that isn't about me. I was convinced that it was. I was convinced that my life was about me and my story. I am pretty sure this goes way back to when I was a kid. If you are honest you would admit the same thing? As children we somehow gained the understanding that life was all about "me" and nothing was going to change that. 

I have a two year old and he fully understands this reality right now. he has a younger brother and it is pretty clear that the older has the "me" and "my" part of life down. This isn't something that we had to teach him, he just picked up on it. Some would call this the sin nature, others would call it the survival of the fittest, and others still would call it the battle of the ego. I am not sure what it is or where it comes from but that it is there and it loves rearing its ugly head at just the right moments. It is that voice in our heads that wants us to do everything we can to survive and make sure that preserve our words, our stature, our lives. It is that voice that never shuts off but talks to us in our waking and in our sleeping moments. It is that voice that strives to segment life into a variety of dualities, such as right and wrong, good and bad, and should and shouldn't.

You hear it now. you hear your voice telling you to stop reading this book and go do something else that is much more important. You may have been so focused on the voice that you aren't even sure what voice that I am talking about and as you read these words right now you feel as though a conversation in your mind has been interrupted by the words on this page. The voice is there talking, always talking. Try to stop can't.

In fact let's take a moment and name that voice. Let's call it for what it is. It is another part of your life that has been there with you and for you when many others have left or walked away. Let's get to know it. Let's take time to understand it. Let's spend a few minutes talking back to it and get to know it. In order to do that, we will need to name it and make it more personal. You can call yours whatever you would like. Go ahead. Choose a name. Got it? Good.

So I would like to introduce you to Bob. Yes that is what I am naming mine. Ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce you to the voice inside my head, his name is Bob and he has been with me for years! Bob has been with me in the good times and the bad. Bob has helped make sense of life when life didn’t seem to make sense in and of itself. Bob helped me make a mess of life when it seemed that life couldn’t get any messier. Bob has been there.

As I sit and type this now, Bob is in the background chattering away; informing me that nobody really wants to read this book, reminding me that I have tried to type this book before but that I couldn’t follow through, and well just chattering. Always talking and not really saying anything of value. I can hear him but I choose not to listen to him all that much. That is something I have learned recently. I can choose to ignore Bob. I have the freedom and the power to do that. So do you. You know that right? But we will get there in a little bit; I don’t want to jump ahead of myself.

One message that Bob has made very clear throughout my life is that life is all about me. He let’s me know when I should take control of certain situations. He let’s me know when I should act in a way that preserves my health and well-being. Bob speaks up regularly to let me know when I am not getting me and empowers me to take what is rightfully mine, when those around me don’t understand that they are treading on thin ice and start to creep onto my turf. When others try to build themselves up and take the spotlight, Bob is there like warm blanket to remind me that I have rights and that I deserve take what is rightfully mine.

Bob has spent countless hours talking to me about the events of my life and has given me the true perspective of what really happened in the various situations of life. He has added the flavor to the events of my life. Many times when we are alone and looking at the photo album of life, Bob is there like a faithful narrator reminding me to consider the “rest of the story”. He is great story teller and for that I am thankful. He keeps me entertained for sure.

Have you had the same experience? Does your voice remind you of the details of the events of your life? Does your voice encourage your preservation and remind you take go after that which you deserve? Is your voice running in the background constantly, providing background noise and a chatter that comforts you and provides you with a sense of security and stability? Let’s face it; with the voice always present we are never really alone.

Notice how our friend is always there but not really adding value. Notice how often our friend goes against the grain of our heart and speaks a language that seems to be from a distant and far off land, yet close and intimate at the same time. Notice how often we follow the advice of our friend without even checking the validity or authority or intent first. How often has your friend gotten you in trouble? How often has he talked you into doing something that seemed logical and “right” but in the end created chaos for you and those in your sphere of influence?

Have you ever stopped to really understand this voice and from where it is coming? Have you even noticed that as we have been talking about our friend as though he had a personality that you began to make the distinction between you and the voice? Have you noticed that as we have looked back over some of the conversations that you have had with your voice, that you haven’t always like the outcome of many of those events?

I am going to let you in on a little secret, that voice isn’t you. You are you and that voice is an intruder that has convinced you that she is you and that she speaks on your behalf. In fact every thought that you have had around the subject of “me” really comes from her and doesn’t reflect who or what you are all about. Consider that for a moment. Consider that “me” isn’t referring to you but to the voice and that her priority in life is to secure her future. She is like a parasite that has entrenched into your heart and mind over the years and will do anything she has to in order to survive, anything including ruining your life with “me” thinking. She can’t help herself. It’s her nature.

When I came to the realization that Bob wasn’t me but a voice that lives within me, I became very aware of that reality that life isn’t all about me. In fact my life really isn’t about me at all. I am not here for me. I am not here for my happiness. I am not here for my preservation but for the preservation of humanity. I am here to add value to others. I am here to serve others. I am here to ensure that others have life and I am here to lay mine down if that is what is needed so that another may experience what it really means to be alive.

This realization was so freeing for me. I have spent much of my life listening to Bob tell me that my life was all about me and my happiness. I have spent much of my life jumping from one thrill seeking moment to the next in an attempt to find myself and save myself all at the same time. I have spent much of my life thinking only of me and how I can maintain my homeostatic environment in order to preserve my earthly well-being. How crazy!

Bob really had me going there and for years I listened but now I understand that I don’t need to listen to Bob any more. He is still there. He will always be there. In fact there may be times that I will need him to speak into my life but for the most part I need to understand that he isn’t me and that while I will hear him on a regular basis…I don’t have to listen to him. And that is a comforting realization, the realization that I am more than a voice inside my head convincing me that the world revolves around me.

The death of “me” starts with the understanding that it isn’t really about “me”. Stop for a moment just to consider this reality. Are we not greater than the voice in our minds that speaks a language that is inconsistent with the deepest longings and recesses of our hearts?  I believe that we are and I believe that when we begin to ignore the voice within, we will begin the journey that leads to the death of “me”.