Somewhere in our distant past, one of our ancestors, or more likely a few at the same time, became aware. I feel… I?… Who, what am I? Since then, this question has set us on a search for an answer. But like a mirage appearing to the thirsty in the desert we seem to never be able to touch it. Like a rainbow that appears in the tears of our life, our insight to ourselves at times appear in its full glory. If only you can get to the end of the rainbow you can find the pot of gold. Then one day you realise that the pot of gold is the rainbow. Just the splendour of its beauty refreshes my being, make me feel alive. Does it matter who I am?
What is important is that I am and that I live my life as consciously as I can. I take pleasure in the myriad rainbow of colour, scents, tastes, sounds and touch that is living life. I have been given the gift of life, a flame so precious that where ever I find it I gasp in renewed awe for the miracle of it. That flame of life that resides in me, the now flickering, now dancing, now blazing flame that constitutes me, that flame burns equally in all things living. And where are the boundaries of my flame? Where are the boundaries of the living heat I emanate? Then I wonder is there any separation between my life flame and that of all other flames of life? Am I just a flame sparking brightly in an ocean of fire? Could I be the sun of another universe?
Life is the most basic component of what constitutes I. What I will be without it I speculate all I want but until I can be fully conscious all the time, I will never really know. Until then I will always have to question whether I am the dreamer or the dream. Just like Alice asked in the land through the looking glass, I have to ask how can I be a dream when I know I am. I can feel joy and pain. I can decide to do something, so I must be the dreamer and not the dream. But how many of the decision I make do I truly make out of my own will?
When you begin to realise how many subconscious factors influence your present decisions, you really begin to wonder how much in control you are of your life, your dream. How can you be in control of your life if you don’t know what you think you are, what influences that which you think you are? It is after all that which you think you are that makes the decisions in your life and so determine your future self. I thought I knew who and what I am.
After so many years of intensely exploring all the aspects of what I thought I was, I thought I knew, but I was lost in the myth of that which I thought I was. From a young age we create a myth about ourselves. We fashion this myth from our early experiences of our interaction with the world around us. For the rest of our lives, unless we ask ourselves what is my personal myth we live our life according to our personal myth. If we do not like the way the story of our myth is unfolding we have to change our motivational myth, but first we must uncover just what our personal myth is.
How do we then find the origins and the mystery of our personal myth? The hero must enter the dark caverns of the underworld, look beyond the masking myth of which we think we are. In the hidden shadows of our being, that part of ourselves that we hide so carefully from others, there lies the Grail cup of our healing. “The theme of the Grail Romance is that the land, the country, the whole territory of concern has been laid waste. It is called a wasteland. And what is the nature of the wasteland? It is a land where everybody is living an inauthentic life, doing as other people do, doing as you’re told, with no courage for your own life. That is the wasteland … The Grail becomes the – what can we call it? – That which is attained and realised by people who have lived their own lives. The Grail represents the fulfilment of the highest spiritual potentialities of the human consciousness.” Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth
Why is it so hard for us to be the confident Hero of our lives? Because we belief we are the mask we project but at the same time we know that the disowned part of ourselves is alive and well, and will someday break through the prison of our mask, exposing that which we have disowned. We fear that, that hidden part of ourselves is a hideous monster and by exposing it to the light the ugliness of ourselves will be revealed and we will be shunned by those around us, those whose love and whose approval we seek. But this is just an illusion we created; we are like the ugly old hag that turns into the most beautiful woman when we kiss her with acceptance, even in her ugliness.
Physical beauty without inner beauty is like a rose without a scent. Intelligence without wisdom, a form without purpose. Just so the beauty of ourselves will not blossom in sweet scent unless nurtured and rooted in the richly composted soil of our shadows. John Carroll in his book “the/ western/ dreaming” Describes soul love, “A hallmark of soul-mate love is that any enquiry about who you are, what you have done or where you have been is entirely superfluous. It is the I am in another, hardly needing to speak, but to acknowledge with gratitude and awe: I am known. Someone walks beside me. Then each to each on their journey of journeys, they may repeat: Courage. I am. Don’t fear!”
Just so it is with self-love from which flows all other love and life.