It’s such a big joke, that question. But I would not have guessed as much once upon a time.
I took it seriously.
After all, Ramana – that revered saint – is said to have said it was serious. Just asked that question earnestly enough, and *shazam!* you’re enlightened. Just like him.
So enlightened. So very enlightened.
Which, by the way, was code for “I won’t have to experience the stuff I don’t want to experience any longer.”
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Do you see what a joke it is?
But it gets better.
First, a little diversion to provide some context.
This summer I moved to Vermont.
And I got bitten by a few ticks this summer.
They are so tiny, some of them. So tiny you can easily mistaken them for specks of dirt.
Anyway, I got bitten a few times by these tiny, tiny, speck-of-dirt-like ticks.
And I found myself so completely exhausted that I was sitting, staring at a wall for half an hour before I worked up the energy to stand up.
A familiar experience. One that I recall from the lowest points in my Lyme disease journies.
I thought hard about it. And I decided to take antibiotics.
I went to the doctor. Got the prescription. Took the drug.
And within days I felt better. WAY better.
I finished the 21 day course.
Then, a few days later, the symptoms returned.
So I went back to the doctor. Got another prescription.
This time, a higher dose.
At the higher dose, the symptoms stopped. But I got more than I bargained for.
I became incredibly irritable. Zero patience.
I felt as though I was in a vice. And the vice kept tightening and tightening.
Squeezing out everything.
All my ideas of myself…no room for them.
Who am I?
We look at questions all wrong.
We think the value is in the answer. We think we’ll be rewarded by answering correctly.
We think we’ll find out who we are. Then the heavens will part. Then the good times will roll.
Look at the question differently.
Let the question point right back at the emptiness, the absence that is already here.
At its best, a question can do that.
Who am I?
Stop looking for the answer. Just look and see that the question and the questioner and the entire context are equally empty.
And that seeing does not change anything. It doesn’t bring about the good times. It doesn’t part the heavens. And it most certainly doesn’t get rid of experiences. It doesn’t even get rid of preferences.
We can be so blind that we don’t even see how blind we are. We don’t even know how narrow our concepts are. We don’t even know how crazy we are.
We honestly believe that we have to fix things. That we have to get rid of what is unwanted or scary.
It’s a huge joke.
Who am I?