When I was 19, strolling about the Kent State University campus, a question arose out of the blue: “Who would I be without all my conditioning?” I knew this was significant, but I had no clue what to do with that thought. I let it be for a time, though never entirely forgot it.
Meanwhile, in the search for lasting love and happiness, I put effort into enhancing myself. I set intentions, visioned an ideal future, did couples therapy, married, divorced, used substances, dreamwork, energy clearing, retreats, money, food, feminism, meditation, yoga…you get the gist. What an amazing, wild ride!
But no matter where I invested my energy, I still felt incomplete. The root of my struggle was untouched. Eventually, I had to reckon with the fact that no one and no thing would deliver the love and happiness I longed for. Moreover, I suffered a case of mis-taken identity.
“Who am I without my conditioning?” This question, which had remained in my peripheral vision, became a steady light. Finally, I began to deeply contemplate what it points to. “Sacred cows” of self-definition, identity and long held certainties were up for examination.
I’d had moments of fulfillment or completion, times I wasn’t looking to add or subtract anything to the experience. I’d thought such moments of perfection were generated by who I was with or the environment I happened to be in. Not so!
I realized that in surrender to this moment as-is, the need to search relaxes; contentment and love are found to be ever-present. How odd! What I sought was only veiled by the search itself! And what keeps the search going? Narratives of lack and uninvestigated ideas. An openness to life as-is has (mostly) supplanted the struggle to “be somebody.”
Life is simple. I care for my wee mini-dox, Lucky, wash dishes, cook a meal, work, play, tend to whatever calls for attention. Contemplating and creating visual art and poetry are mainstays. These musings evoke spontaneity and wonder for me. I delight in encouraging the creative expressions of others.
I’m fortunate to live with the Luckster. There’s always a guru in the house! His mojo is strong and full of coyote-humor. Good medicine. He reminds me: just BE – don’t complicate your life. What Lucky says, that’s what do.
Image: William Turner, Festive Lagoon Scene