Years ago, I lived with my friend Lynne who worked as a medical receptionist for a physician I’ll call Dr B.
She told me about a brief conversation between a distressed patient and Dr B. that I’ve never forgotten.
“I don’t know who I am,” said this patient to Dr B.
“But the answer’s simple”, he replied. ”You’re Jane D. and you live at 55 Rose Street, Palookaville.”
Lynne was awestruck. She thought Dr B. was Buddha reincarnated.
I thought he was Buddha too.
Before long, though, something about Dr B’s reincarnated Buddha/Zen master/ Himalayan Yogi impersonation bothered me.
In the end, I concluded he was wrong.
Thirty years later, I’ve reconsidered.
Dr B. was half-right that day because the answer is simple.
But not as simple as a name and address.
I know this for two reasons.
First, I’m not my name because I’ve changed it. Twice. I’m still the same person.
Second, I’ve moved house 24 times in fifty-three years. (I just added them up.) It’s ludicrous to contend I’ve become a different person each time I’ve changed my habitat.
So who am I then?
Who are you?
True gurus of heft and consequence tell us we’re asleep, spiritually speaking, to who we really are.
So they try and wake us up by saying annoyingly profound things like “You’re the stillness behind thought” or “You are Life” or “You are That.”
Sometimes I prefer Dr B’s alternative.
Recently, though, I’ve had a glimpse of what the masters are on about.
It involves no treks to crowded ashrams to sit at the feet of dodgy gurus, no equipment, no weird ceremonies or the ingestion of illicit substances.
It’s totally effortless.
The key to waking up to who you really are is where you wake up every day.
In your bed.
It’s in those brief seconds when you first become conscious in the morning.
See if you can catch it.
There’s awareness with no thought.
No name, no address, no anything. Just quiet, still awareness.
Then the mind rushes in and your life-script recommences. You remember you have a name and problems to solve and things to do.
When I catch these still moments, I know I’m in touch with something deeper and more real than anything a name and address can offer me.
It’s got nothing to do with belief or faith or intuition.
It’s something you can only know through direct experience.
Midlifexpress Reader discount at MONA Publishing Workshops
If you want to learn how to self-publish and explore Hobart’s magnificent Museum of Old and New Art then come along to the publishing workshops at MONA. Book your tickets through Midlifexpress and use the promotional code: [email protected] for a $100 discount.