Saturday, February 25, 2012

Who am I? Who am I now? And now? Seeing the self as fluid

I write. That is what I do. That is what I have wanted to do since I was 10. I have a degree in journalism, and, except for a brief, immediately-post-graduation stint in public relations, I have spent my career as a writer and editor.
So when I started writing for blogs, that didn't challenge my self concept. It was still writing -- more personal, less research, but writing.
Recently a talk I gave at the Interdependence Project was put up on the website. And that is not writing. That is talking.
I do not talk. I mean, I talk in the sense of holding conversations. But I don't talk in front of people. Except that I do -- at the meditation group I lead Wednesday evenings, occasionally at other places, like IDP. And I don't feel anxiety about it.
So I guess the image I have of myself as someone who is not a public speaker is ... not always true.
Which just proves the truth of annata, or non-self.
Non-self doesn't mean that you do not exist as a collection of personal traits and quirks. It means that the self is fluid, not frozen, that the self you are in this minute may be different from the self you are later in the day. Just as our thoughts change -- "I'm having a great day" morphing into "My life sucks" as we relate to the events of the day -- our self changes. The self who doesn't talk, the self who doesn't dance or sing in public may fall by the wayside under the right circumstances.
Unless we are clinging so tightly to our view of ourselves that we can't even be open to behaving in a way that is inconsistent with how we see ourselves.
Who are you? What do you do? What don't you do? Ever? What would happen if you did?
A person who writes can be a person who talks. Who sings (in a group). Who reads poetry. Who dances.
Don't limit your chances to enjoy your self.

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