[Photo credit: artist and illustrator, Siri Stiklestad Opli http://www.fjellbjorka.no]
Crawling is happening. Parents and grandparents exclaim ‘Well done baby! You are crawling!’
Walking is happening. The people around say ‘You can walk! Clever child!’
Talking is happening. The shop assistant says ‘Listen to you talking! Aren’t you great!’
Writing with crayons on paper is happening. Your pre-school teachers say ‘You are writing! Well done!’ And they press a star sticker on your t-shirt.
Writing with crayons on the wall is happening. Your parents frown and say ‘You are naughty. You’ve written on the wall’.
From the moment we are born, the world is telling us who we are. Some of it is believed and so sticks around. And this creates our idea of who we are and of what is real. All of it simply a bundle of beliefs.
The world is also telling us that this idea of who we are is making happen the actions of the body.
But let’s get very still with this because it might be the most important fact that we can ever consider.
Your idea of who you are, that collection of beliefs, had nothing to do with the crawling. You, as an idea of self, were not making it happen.
Crawling was happening because it couldn’t not. It could not be stopped. Life was there in that baby’s body and life wanted to crawl.
The thought that it has anything to do with this ‘self’ of ours is an after-the-event add on. The self believed, because it was told by everyone around it, that it was somehow responsible for the crawling, the walking, the talking, the writing.
It believed and so it attached itself to the behaviours and their outcomes and said ‘ME. I made this happen. I am responsible for it.’
And so it continues, all through childhood and then into adulthood. We discover that the body can dance or play football or write poetry. We discover that the words that arise through the body can make people laugh or upset them. And all the credit or blame for it is given to this idea of self. YOU are funny. YOU are athletic. YOU are kind. YOU are thoughtless.
And the YOU is taken to be this self which, even though it is nothing but a bundle of beliefs, is now seen to be absolutely real. The belief in that self has been reinforced over and over so many times that it no longer looks like a belief. It simply looks like reality.
So it doesn’t occur to us to question the belief that we are in control of what the arms and legs are doing or what the voice is saying or what the mind is thinking or what the body is experiencing.
But let’s reflect on this.
‘We’, as this idea of self, have no idea how words are said or written or how a leg moves to kick a ball or a hand moves to type a word.
‘We’, as this idea of self, have no control over what is believed or what is thought and therefore over what actions result from that belief.
We have no idea how the actions that arise from our body actually happen. And we have no idea how the beliefs that give rise to the actions came to be or how we could change them.
So who or what deserves the praise or the blame for what this body does or says? The only thing that is certain here is that it is not this bundle of beliefs that we call self. That bundle has nothing to do with anything. That self is, itself, only a belief.
Now this idea of self doesn’t like this. It takes away all the credit for the great stuff the self has up to now congratulated itself on. The qualifications. The promotion. The money earned. The piece of work. The charity gifts.
And the idea of no self in control can be frightening too. Who is responsible for crime then? Who deserves blame for all the terrible things that happen? What will stop me doing myself or someone else damage?
What would become of the world of ourself if no one took responsibility?
Indeed. Good question.
What would happen if we really understood that the idea of self with all its needs, desires, insecurities, defences, dislikes was nothing but a belief?
That idea of self and other would disappear.
And what would be left?
The peace of nothing to defend or prove.
The love that reveals itself in no separation, in wholeness, in completeness.
The beauty that sees itself everywhere it looks.
The unstoppable freedom of life. Living from love and peace, with no limits.
Might be worth exploring…