(Part 2 of the ongoing blog series: Golden Earth Tales)
By Raphael Awen
Who are you, dear reader of this blog? What brings you here? You’re looking for something, right? But what is that something? In fairness to you, I could turn those provocative questions on myself: Who am I, dear writer of this blog? What brings me here?
The rational mind and language itself stumbles in this domain of heart.
In the root of our heart and psyche though are these embedded questions of ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What am I?’….they are seeking some kind of a response. These are the questions that make up our life quest and offer it meaning. The response you’ll have to accept though will be an energetic one, not a mental one, as we shall see.
In part 1 of this blog series, I described my visit to the parallel dimension Golden Earth. I believe this experience came to me as part of my deep, lifelong quest to explore the ‘Who am I?’ question. Building from there in this blog series, I offer a framework of the path and experiences that led me there. Am I biased? Hell, yeah! How and where it lands in you is sovereignly up to you. Remember, the plumber may claim experience and even expertise, but he only gets his authorization to come into your house and address your problem from you. What’s good for the plumber is good for the spiritual teacher too; both get their authority, their permission to serve from the sovereign of the house – you.
My truth is this……that who you actually are and what you actually are is not who and what you think you are. Who you think you are is a self-perception that is presently encrusted in the five-sense reality dimension of physical earth, the rational mind, and collective consciousness. Those are the things that we have all agreed upon are the umpires that call ‘what’s in’ and ‘what’s out’ of your reality. As much spiritual and emotional work you and I may have done, we don’t get to walk away easily from this consensus reality and its effect in our psyche. We are social beings who seek to know ourselves by comparative difference; but not so different that we no longer feel like we belong. Therein lies the rub.
In that milieu, either directly or indirectly, we are often brought the ‘who are you?’ question. Most every time we respond, myself included, with some form of telling people the basic facts about us and what we do. ‘My name is Michael, I’m 49, I’m married to Susan, I’m a computer programmer and I live in San Francisco.’ Sorry, but all that didn’t even come within a country mile of who you are. You told us about you, it’s periphery; it’s a story. You didn’t get to your essence.
Well, ‘fair enough,’ we might say. ‘I don’t think the person questioning was looking for anything deeper.’ True, but is that enough for you? If it is enough for you, it isn’t for me, and I say ‘Go Home.’ Hanging around here will only frustrate you (and me), so I invite you to strongly consider taking your leave. Look for a plumber when the need arises. I’ve needed to do just that many times in my life to find my own truth and my own authority.
‘No, it’s not enough!’ I hear your heart saying, if you’re taking me up on my offer. ‘I am not my name. I am not my marital status, nor my gender or my age. I am not my profession or my place of residence.’
We may then go another round and wax a bit more poetic. ‘I am a lover of animals.’ ‘I enjoy gardening.’ ‘My passion is to help children with learning difficulties.’ It’s still in the realm of what you do, albeit with more heart, but still more story that falls short of essence. Nice try, but try again.
Going deeper, we could say that you are not your past, present, or future. Neither are you your body, your personality, your emotions, your desires, your dreams, or anything else in the realm of things you have. By process of elimination, we are getting closer to seeing through this illusion of you to finding your essence. But we’re not there yet. What else could speak to this essence, if the mind and even language itself stumble at the challenge?
The quest isn’t a small one, or even one you will ever completely solve. If you’re like me, you’ve eaten up a big chunk of life already in this lion-size hunger of yours.
I was an all-in Christian for much of my life and if had I been raised a Muslim, or a Buddhist, I’m sure I would have given myself just as fully to that answer at hand for as long as I needed, given the size of my hunger to know. I was more surprised than anyone around me by my sudden admission that Christianity had given me all it could. As an adult, I bought into what I was raised in because of its promise that it would hold me with its watertight answers for a lifetime. Leaving was anything but easy. It meant giving up my deepest treasures and identity to go back into the renewed search for meaning, no longer dulled by answers.
I recall the big yellow Christian bumper sticker campaign in my hometown in the late 70’s, proclaiming, ‘I Found It’. Well, in 2008, ‘I Lost It,’ and I had to come back to my essential quest. I am not unique in this. People that have subscribed deeply to a mainstream answer are finding it eroding in the rigors of their hearts, lives and shifts in the collective. ‘Answers’ in this way are what kill quests.
For many, or even most, these questions are too uncomfortable to face. “I can get out of joint if I keep contemplating my navel,” a former friend once offered, “or I can get on with what’s in front of me.” It’s hard at times not to envy this person, but consciousness has a way of maturing, and what was before off one’s radar, no longer is. Your consciousness simply outgrew itself, and as much as you may want to, there’s no getting back into the box. Welcome to the club.
We’ve been speaking of this question and its quest so far from a mental perspective. We’ve been employing the mind as our tool of inquiry. If you are feeling some angst to break through something or out of something as you are feeling into this question with me, I’d like to offer that what you are coming up against is the limitations and frustrations of the mind. The mind does many things amazingly well, but in other things, it fails miserably. This quest and its question cannot ever be ‘answered’ in any final sense. To the mind, this is bad news if it sees this as a statement of its inadequacy.
It can, however, instead actually be good news, if it sees this a retirement party. Here the mind can finally acknowledge with relief the lousy explanations you’ve been giving yourself and others to the ‘Who are you?’ question. Here the mind can sit back and marvel, at the lure of what every cult, culture, religion, spirituality and philosophy on the planet seeks to offer this quest, without assuming responsibility to sort through any of it. The rational mind was never meant to handle these questions.
As Rumi offered, ‘Only with the heart can you touch the sky.’ These questions are questions of the heart. It is the heart that holds our curiosity to know. It is the heart that spans the realms of both your expression and your essence. The knowing that the heart seeks is not any kind of a mental explanation. It is a ‘knowing and feeling’ that transcends the mind, and that reaches into essence, your essence. The mind, hopefully now enjoying and admitting its relief from where it floundered, is now welcome to this domain where the heart is the guide and authority. Here the mind, in surrender to the heart has a place, as a much needed role model of letting in love. Here the mind can finally admit and reflect back to you the reality of your heart; “I want, I need, I hunger for more.”
With your heart now at the helm, and the mind in surrender, the nature of these questions look and feel very different. What the heart knows and feels is that who you are is infinite mystery. Who you are is ultimately unknowable. The heart however knows this unknowable. It feels it. It basks in it. The heart feels the essence of all things as love, the ultimate upstream reality. Love is the only true source and substance behind all matter, behind all being, behind all consciousness. To the heart, all else is only constructed illusion.
You are infinite love. I am infinite love. Try saying those words aloud to yourself, with eyes closed, breathing fully and deeply. ‘I am infinite love.’ Say it again. You’ll feel two things; the mind chafing a bit; and your heart reaching and expanding out into the essence of who and what you actually are. Your own heart is now initiating you into your essence. This essence is your upstream source of being that you as a unique human being are the expression of.
In the next blog in this series, I will explore this magical essence deeper; what it is and how you can know it and feel it; and where that might take you.
Raphael Awen is a co-founder of and a teacher at SoulFullHeart Sanctuary. Visit soulfullheart.com for more. Follow him on twitter @raphaelawen for blog updates and more or subscribe to this blog (if not already) to receive each new posting of his and others from Soulfullheart Sanctuary directly in your email.