Know Thyself

We suffer unnecessarily because there's an inner conflict between who we think we are and who we actually being.

<This resurfaced in Gary Crowley's book 'From Here to Here' at the bottom of p.67. "As the unawakened, you are 'me-ing.' As the awakened you are 'be-ing. (as a verb)">

You aren't who you think you are. You never have been, and you never will be.

The illusion begins to become clear when you change the word 'who' to 'what.'

It's not who you are, it's what you are. It's actually 'what' you are doing.

You can't ask 'who' are you doing, you can only ask 'what' is doing.

What is being?

Is it me who is writing?
It it you who is reading?

Try this: Go incognito.

It's the virtual idea of experience life as if you were not a participant in it. To truly be an observer of your life means that you can't be a participant. You can't be both the player on the field and the fan at the same time.

When you turn on incognito on your web browser, the web can't see who you are. When it can't see who you are, it treats you as a total stranger. We are all treated (and marketed to) equally. It doesn't matter how much money you have, where you are from, or what you do. Being incognito allows you to become an observer.

Who you are is not who you 'think' as your 'self'. What we 'think' is conceptual. By definition, something conceptual is not real. So who are we?

Actual experience can only exist in the present moment. Experience is the only true reality. Everything else is a concept. How we describe ourselves to others is simply a self-concept, or a concept of the self. It's flawed because it's not rooted in reality (the present moment).

The only way you can describe you who are is to explain what you are doing.

To get deeper into this, lets plant a foundation with something we can both agree on. Nouns and verbs.

Life is a noun, living is a verb.

Life is what your given, living is what you make of it.

Nouns are the ‘things’ we our mind interprets and puts into categorizes. Many would argue that if we can't define something we see, we might not be able to see it.

The nouns we use to describe the world we live in, and who we are exist in the past or future. None of the words we normally use to describe ourselves are verbs.

Labels are nouns

To label someone or something is to belittle it to a concept. Concepts are built on assumptions, comparisons, and prejudices. Labeling someone as an ‘optimist’ creates a filter on how you view that person. And those labels can influence how that person acts. People are far more dynamic. Life is a complex ever changing entity that defies labels.

Consider how a labels limit who we are and what we see in others: * Introvert or Extrovert? * Optimist or Pessimist? * Successful or Unsuccessful? * Lazy or hard-working? * Shy or outgoing?

Verbs breakthrough limited thinking

Tagging others with verbs on the other hand more accurately ties to the dynamic nature of who we are and what we do.

Our actions are always leading us toward or away from a noun. Verbs precede the noun. To be successful, your actions must lead you toward success, not away from it. And how you define success itself is going to needed to determine whether or not an act is moving you toward or away from it.

To be healthy (a verb) is different than health (a noun)

Health is defined as ‘the state of being free from illness or injury or the state of a person's mental or physical condition.’

Healthy on the other hand is a state series of synonyms to describe the experience of the acts one might take to become healthy. * Heal * Restore * Repair * Improve

Using the label ‘health’ does not provide us any options to deal with our health. You can label your health as good or bad. But based on who’s definition? Compared to what? It’s no wonder why a very healthy individual can see themselves as unhealthy when they are comparing that concept of health to something beyond themselves.

Verbs however provide us options to act. We can only become healthy by taking action in health, acts such as: restore, repairs, heal, treat, attend, deal, handle, etc…

Success is a noun. Succeed is the verb. If you look at the definition of success, it reveals the outcomes. But when you look at the definition of succeed, the acts preceding success are revealed. Often times, our focus is on the outcome, not the acts that proceed the outcome itself. Outcomes are easy to identify, the acts that produce the outcome much less so.

The acts that precede an outcome is the work necessary to produce that outcome. The difference between those who are successful and those who are not comes down to a simple shift in attention. Successful people focus on the acts that proceed success. Unsuccessful people focus on the outcome itself, and in always comparing where they are to where they ant to be, often have low self-esteem. Low self esteem leads to low self confidence, and without confidence we don’t act (or if we do, we act in such a way that failure is inevitable).

The solution to all your problems in life is to stop focusing on the outcome (a noun) and start focusing not he actions (verbs) that are the prerequisites to the outcome!

Let’s take a simple example: A clean office. If you are focused on the outcome, you feel defeated before you even start. If you look at the steps that precede a clean office, you can see actionable steps you can take that lead to the clean office. Focus on the steps, not the outcome.

A flat belly. Focusing on the outcome is self-defeating. It zaps our self-confidence. Instead - focus son the steps before the flat belly: * Eliminate sugar * Green drinks * Drink less alcohol * Reduce bread in your diet * Identifying bloating induced foods and limit them!

If you don’t know the steps, then your first step is to simply define the first step.

Take the first step and the path will appear (at least the next step in the path will appear).

Verbs on the other hand relate to an experience. Verbs are actions. Actions are what we experience in the moment.

The error in our thinking arises when we use the word 'Self' (a noun) to describe who we are right now. It's impossible to describe who you are right now using a noun, because who you are right now is deeply rooted in what you are doing.

Because you are reading, you are a reader. Reading and reader describes what we are doing, but the verb is read. It's what you do that defines who you are. So in this moment, you read. You also think. So if I ask you who you would say: I am reading. I am thinking. I am talking to myself. I am listening to Brian. It's when we start to notice who we are being that truly recognize who we are.

So if you don't like who you are being, it's easy to become someone else. Simply do something else and you will become what you do. It's in our transition to a new activity that is the choice. A decision occurs, and what we decide to do next is who we become. That moment of transition is key. The space between our actions is where openings to new possibilities begin to take shape.

When we fail to see that who we are is dictated by our actions, we get stuck. We get stuck in the concepts we use to describe ourselves.

If the self is just another self concept, then who are we? We are what we do. The body is a vessel for the self to have a human experience. Therefore, the essence of living is experience. Whatever activity we engage in is who we are. When we do yoga, we are the act of yoga. We cook a meal, we are the act of cooking. The only time we are actually what we describe ourselves to be is when we are doing it. The only time you are a writer is when you write. Writer is noun (concept) that simply describes the role of the act. To write is verb. Who we are is whatever we do the moment we do it.

Consider this scenario:

When You wake up tomorrow, who are you? Is who you are defined by the what, where, when, or why? No. We can change any of those four things, because who are physical, will never change. We are human. We are a man (or woman). We are a son (or a daughter). We are a husband (or a wife). Who we describe ourselves to be is shaped by the events that occurred up to this point. But we we are need not be defined by the past any more than who we are is defined by the future. The past is as story build on concepts. The future is a story projected into the future based on concepts. The only reality exists between the two, right now.

The present is the bridge between our past and future. Who we have become is the result of the bridge that is reflected in our actions.

Our actions are determined by the decisions we make (or fail to make). We make the best decision we can at the time, but the more present we are in the moment, the wiser our decisions.

Are you mindful in this moment of your actions? Have you considered the karmic effect?

In Sanskrit, karma is defined as "volitional action that is undertaken deliberately or knowingly". The purpose of practicing mindfulness is to become more skilled at recognizing the cause and effect of our own actions.

Since who we are is defined my the actions we take, understanding our true nature (the motivation behind all our thoughts) becomes the key to unlocking our greatest potential.

When we act for our true nature, we are content, fulfilled, happy, and complete.

Perhaps then what we all have in common to some extent is that we are seekers. We seek to understand our true nature. Our life is a journey of never ending self-discovery.

Will you truly ever know who you are? How can you? To know who you are would require seeing life as a concept, not an experience. Thus - to know who you are is to simply be aware of the experience the moment you experience it. Everything else is just a passing thought.

Everything I do is who I am.

The self is no longer significant when you get this. it’s the preservation of the self that is the culprit of all the unnecessary suffering. It's an unresolved conflict between what we are doing (a verb) and who define our self to be (a noun). It's a game we can't win.

When I sit down and meditate, it's that act which I become. It's the act of meditation that defines who I am in that moment. There is no self except that which is observing the act itself.

The self attaches itself to other nouns (all made up)

Who I am is the activity that I’m doing.

I’m drinking. I’m a drinker. I’m thinking. I’m a thinker. I’m writing - I’m a writer.

You are all the things you are doing, and none of the things that you’re not.

Recognize that any unwanted temporary emotions (Anger, anxiety, frustration, etc..) may reflect who you are being in the moment, but don't have to impact who you'll be in the next moment.

When you realize that the activity that you are engaged in is who you are, those activities take on a new depth of meaning, a new importance, an entirely new experience! Every moment can be magical when you realize that it's the activity itself in that moment defining of who you are.

You can be anything you want (as long as you can actually do it!).

So who we are is an experience.

Here lies a secret to unconditional love - loving yourself and others unconditionally requires that you see this distinction. It's impossible to get upset when you see that who we are being in a particular moment isn’t a reflection of who we were or who we'll be. The danger arises in forming an opinion, making a judgment, that clouds or perception going forward.

Who they are in this moment isn’t who they are in the next moment, who they’ve been, or who they’ll become.

To know thyself is to become one with the experience of the self

If thyself is the action that we are, then being more mindful of our actions is the only way to know who we are. This makes mindfulness training the most important practice you will ever have.

Being mindful of what we are therefore is the key to us truly understanding ourselves better, and thus acting from a place of greater wisdom.

Our values, principles and convictions are only manifested through action. Your actions reveal what we you believe from our deepest core (manifestations of).

Those we have the greatest admiration for (like Martin Luther King, Ghandi, etc.) exist because their actions were consistent to their convictions.

I contend that one of our biggest problem is life is trying to be something we aren't. You can't be anyone but who you are. A big problem with most of the so called self-help market is that in order to sell us what they have, they have to convince us that we ought to be someone we aren't. The illusion between who we are being and who we 'think' we are will never end.