a couple of months ago

Me is pain

When I started looking for myself, I expected to find something excellent. I thought I would find out that I am greatness, success, beauty, charm, richness, etc.

And that wrong expectation was the main reason I struggled so much in the search.

You see, it seems that the actual answer to “Who am I?” has been staring me in the face all along. But I didn’t want to see it.

I tried really, really hard not to see it. Because the truthful answer completely undoes the wrong assumption that I started from.

And the undoing of that wrong assumption is what I call pain. I think I don’t like it. I think it will destroy me.

And it will. It will.

But just not like I think.

What is plainly obvious upon actually looking is this: there are two highly disturbing and truthful answers to “Who am I?”

The first obvious answer is this: I don’t know.

I don’t know who I am. That is plainly obvious. Isn’t it plainly obvious? I mean, do you know who you are?

I don’t know who I am.

I could pretend that I do. Like so many people seem to do. Fake it until they make it…

But I only ever faked it. I never actually made it. I never made it to the successful one who I thought I should be.

So the plain truth is that I don’t know who I am. I invested most of my lifetime faking someone I was not. That is all I can actually say truthfully in that regard.

The second truthful and plainly obvious answer is this: I am a mess. I am a failure. I am anxiety. I am compulsive. I am asleep. I am mechanical. I am pain.

But this I that is a mess, failure, anxious, etc. is not what I *truly* am because I don’t know what I truly am.

So this I that is a mess, etc. is the truth of the I – let’s call it “me” – that I can wrongly identify as.

Me is pain. Me is a mess. Me is asleep.

Me is mechanical reactivity. Me is unconscious and completely incapable of consciousness.

Me is everything I have called myself. Even if I have called myself great. Even if I have called myself a success. Whatever I have called myself is this mechanical unconsciousness. Anything I can call myself is an idea or symbol borrowed from the dead past.

And I don’t like that dead past. It is a graveyard of disasters and disappointments and fears.

So now I have it. These two plain and obvious answers.

The second of these obvious answers is the one that I have unconsciously, mechanically, and PREDICTABLY opted for over and over again. I have done so while calling it pleasure, spiritual experience, growth, “the right thing”, and so forth. But in truth it is pain. In truth it is mechanical and dead.

The only reason I can see for choosing the second answer is a lack of seeing it for what it is. If I call it good or desirable or safe and I settle for that, I overlook its true nature. I don’t see that it is pain.

But I suffer in that case. I suffer because I get pain when I expect pleasure. And I don’t see that I am doing it to myself.

Now in this moment I can see. I can choose now to see. I can see that wrongly identifying as anything that comes and goes and expecting anything but temporary experience and anxiety as a result is insane.

If I can see that I am insane, I am not what is insane. I can see the mechanical nature playing out, therefore I am not that.

But clearly I am not separate from that.

I don’t know what I am. But I am that without knowing what that is.

Seeing me as pain and unconsciousness, I am freed of the delusion that I am what I think I am.

I do not know what I am, but I am not what I think I am. I am free.

Free of what I see. Free of mechanical mind. Free of memory. Free of sensation.

Yet free with and as whatever is.

I am free of the worry that I must be somebody. Even as the worry arises, I am free. I see it, therefore I am not it. But neither am I separate from it.

I rest and observe. This present experience – whether I call it worry or anxiety or fear or rage or grief or excitement or love – reveals its true nature. Empty of what I think it is. I am that. I am also empty of what I think I am.

Joey Lott

Joey Lott is the author of numerous books, including The Best Thing That Never Happened and The Little Book of Big Healing. He lives in southern Vermont with his wife and children.

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