What is the real you? What is it that makes up the true you, what belongs to you and only you? What do you get when you see past the surface, past the anger and fear, “love” and betrayal, hurt, pain, and even agony? The real you… the deep you, the you that is beyond what the surface you can even imagine.
When you are born, you have no concept of your “self”. As you grow older, you build up a structure, a belief system, a framework of lenses and mental maps through which you see the world. You are told, and you believe, that this framework is you. The framework gets covered with experiences and emotions, and even the spaces between the beams of the support structure get filled up eventually. You go on about your life with the belief that this giant amalgamation is you.
Everyone else around you believes this, too. Only what they think of as you isn’t even the structure you have built up… it’s only the surface of that structure, a surface that changes constantly as new experiences, new emotions, and new everything else piles up, sometimes stripping off pieces of the old coverings, but more often simply piling over them, making them part of the inside, and making that structure ever harder to discard.
As you go about, identifying more and more with this framework that you’ve built, some of it intentional construction, most of it not, you build walls, walling off this portion from that portion. You do this to protect yourself, to keep yourself from getting hurt, but that’s not what they do, it’s only what you fool yourself into believing they do. Because those walls don’t keep things out, they keep things in.
That’s right… you’re building yourself a prison. A prison inside a structure that is built of the giant ball of stuff that you call your life. And you not only build this prison, you voluntarily stick yourself inside of it, trapping yourself in with all the pain and injuries that you have suffered over the years. And to top it off, the prison that you build, and trap yourself inside, can’t ever even fulfill the purpose for which you supposedly built it… it can’t even keep out new pain!
That’s right… you build up this structure of falsehoods, lies told to yourself, walling yourself in to keep out the pain, and it doesn’t even work. The walls only function in one direction… they hold things in. They hold you in… they limit you to far, far below your true abilities. They keep the pain that you have experienced close to you, so that it can continually injure you and prevent you from healing. What do you do when the pain builds, when it gets harder and harder to deal with? You build more walls, and build the walls you have higher!
The walls that you build for yourself are a prison… but they’re also an illusion. They are part of the framework that you have built up, an integral part as a matter of fact. But here’s the thing: that framework isn’t you.
That’s right, all those lenses and perceptions and mental maps, all those experiences and emotions, those hatreds and angers and fears… they aren’t you. They’re a tiny little pimple that you’ve built up on the surface of the real you. All that stuff that you’re trying to protect, the part that hurts, the part that knows pain and fear and suffering… that is only the very smallest fraction of you. It’s like looking at a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, and calling that the ocean.
The real you is vast. It is deep, and strong, and powerful. It cannot be hurt by the vagaries of this life, because it is only the tiniest fraction of it that is involved with this life. Your physical presence, and the structure that you have built up, are merely the tiny portion of it paying attention to what you perceive as your whole life. And when you identify yourself as that tiny portion, you are giving up the vastness of the real you, like identifying yourself as your pinky.
Your walls you have created are illusions, but they are self-maintained illusions, given the power that you are drawing through your connection to the real you. Want evidence that what I’m saying is right? It’s very easy to obtain… all you have to do is let down one, just one, of your walls. You will immediately feel closer to that vastness that is the real you. And with each wall that you release, you will find yourself closer to that reality.
When you get close, you may be scared by the openness, the sheer open expanse that you feel drawing nearer. After all, for all of your life that you can remember, you have lived inside your walls. You may never have even had a moment’s clarity, an opening of the mind’s eye to see the vastness around you. If you HAVE had one of those moments, you may be even more scared, because you have an inkling of what it’s like.
It’s not an empty vastness, though… you aren’t alone. In fact, when you reach that vastness, you’ll find that you are connected to everyone and everything else, with a deepness of connection that the very word connection doesn’t seem strong enough to convey the reality of what you feel. You are a part of everything, and everything is a part of you.
It’s sometimes hard to keep this connection to the real you… it’s easy to forget and focus back on the surface structure, identifying with that structure that you’ve built up. Once you’ve let the feeling go long enough, in fact, it’s hard to remember what it was like… until something triggers it again, and then it all comes rushing back.
There is an old movie called Dune. They made a newer version of it, too, but I’m talking about the original. In it, there is a phrase that is repeated a few times: “The sleeper must awaken.” I have always identified with this phrase… I’ve always felt like it meant something to me, something more. I’ve felt like there was something bigger slumbering inside me.
Lately, as I have read, and learned, and written, and looked inside of me, my awareness has gradually expanded, and the phrase has changed, in my mind, to “The sleeper is awakening.” I felt that bigger thing inside of me stirring from its slumber, starting to uncoil.
Tonight, as I was talking to my wife to help her relax, something clicked. Sometimes the greatest words of wisdom come when the conscious mind gets the hell out of the way and lets things flow from far deeper inside. Suddenly, that thing that had slowly been awakening came aware. The sleeper has awoken.
This connection, this deeper you, is your connection to God, to the awareness that created, and contains, and in a way is, the universe. But it is being “consciously” (too small a term, I think) aware of that connection, not in some sort of vague “God created the Heavens and the Earth” kind of way. It is an intimate and strong connection, a direct connection. It is deep, wordless communication flowing back and forth, much of which, to this point at least, seems to be more of an “I am here” message and an “I know” response flowing from each direction.
This vastness is inside each of us… in fact, it IS each of us. We are not the limited lives reflected in the world we live in, we are not even the conscious part of our minds… we are far more than that. But in order to find our true selves, we must first give up the structure that have built up, that we have defined as “us”… and that’s probably the hardest thing in the world to do. That last wall, the one that separates us from our true selves, the one that is the foundation of support for our whole framework of our lives, is really, really hard to let go. It is giving up the “you” that you have always known, for a great unknown.
Do not be afraid. The whole world will change before your eyes, leaving nothing unaltered. Once you let go of that last wall, and the fear, there will be no doubt, however.
It’s worth it.