My real self? What is that? My real self is the narrative that tells the story of my inner life. Or is it? Isn’t this narrative a fluctuating story of my thoughts and attitudes that occasionally run parallel to or reaches a tangent with my real self? Is this just my inner voice, or ego? What if my real self is the consciousness and awareness of all such internal activity – my spiritual heart? Don’t we feel deep down inside of ourselves a presence that exists and rests as is? Perhaps that is my spiritual heart! In that case, do I know who I am and what I really want if my thoughts aren’t fully connected to my heart inside?
Now, from an outside perspective, do people see my body and think it is me? Or do they see my body and know that there is a real me INSIDE, and that my body is a medium and nothing more? Do they think my thoughts and emotions are me? Or do they think there is something deeper? Their perception of me is based on their own perception of a what makes up a person – spirit, soul, and body.
The above two paragraphs are difficult questions that a person looking for their identity will ask, maybe to never find an answer. Without identity, we are merely shells of a being with nothing solid inside except for a changing concept of who/what we think we are. Basing our identity on the outside world and what others think is a half measure. We must begin to seek and know the mystery of our true identity and the relationship within the depth our heart.
The following story is a personification of loneliness and the disconnection between my inner and outer world. The real me inside can do so much more when it can find a medium to express itself and not doubt the translation.
Who Painted This?
I was walking with close friends and we turned a corner. There on a wall was an amazingly eccentric graffiti not made of letters, but of organic shapes with a sense of flow and life. “Woah! Look at that,” my friends said. They ran up close to the wall and curiously bent their bodies to inspect the very surface of the graffiti. They cried out, “I wonder what this is? I wonder what this is trying to tell us?”
I knew. I painted this.
Hours ago, I had come to this place alone. My thoughts the past few weeks had been all over the map. I sat with my back up to the wall and hung my head. It was time to think. I just wanted to be. I just wanted to express myself. I wanted to cry. I wanted to sink in despair. I lifted my head against the wall and stared gently up into the sky. Why does no one see me? Why does no one understand me? People seem to just see the external representation of myself through what my body does and how I spend my time. They don’t see my dreams. They don’t see my thoughts. I am different and am so much more than they see. I hunger for so much more. I want to realize so much more. I want love. I want intimacy. Why does this not come across? How do I express this? How can I bring my inner world to life in the external environment? How can I connect with the world the way I want to?
The tears started to fall. I looked higher into the sky, letting my tears roll gently down my cheeks. It felt good. I felt good. I was real. My body was finally responding to who I am inside. This is who I am. I am an everlasting vibrant water that takes a thousand different shapes.
I touched my cheek with my index and center finger and it absorbed my tears. My body knew the pain inside of me. It felt and questioned why I was crying. My body wasn’t crying, but my inner being and heart was. Why? Why my body asked? Why are you crying? What are you trying to tell me? What are you trying to show me? Why do you think you are alone?
You have me; I know you. Let me show you who I think you are.
My body stood up. It was secure. Bold. Unself-conscious. And with the tears in hand, it began in grand sweeping motions to paint on the wall. My tears turned into a million shades of blue. Some became threads silver white, others glowed as vibrant as shallow tropical waters, and others were as rich as the bluest of skies. My body danced as it swept back and forth, painting the wall with a focused passion. It bent its legs, and then extended them at beautiful angles with my hand following it and extending beyond the position in a rush of energy. The wall was no longer blank. It was like an organic flower unfolding with wisps of magic and water, spellbindingly alive. The shapes spoke of motion. The shapes spoke of beauty and creativity unlike any other.
My body then spoke directly to me. I have this power to express because of your heart. This is who you are. I know who you are. You think you are tragically alone and disconnected. But I know who you are. I have been expressing your heart for your whole life. I know you, even though you don’t know the self that you portray and you get lost inside your own being.
I have tried to paint this picture of you to whomever you meet and wherever you go. That is part of who you are inside but too afraid to express and take action. You seem to lack a strength of heart. As a result, you feel weak and can’t act. Thus, you feel disconnected because all your actions never truly reflect fully what you are deep down at your core. You settle for something less. You know your creativity. You know your love for the world. You know your inner beauty. Believe it or not, I know that and am able to let some beauty out because it is already within you, even if you do not yet know how. Why do you still then feel so disconnected? Why are you not courageous? Others think you are shy. They think you are quiet. They think you are thoughtful. They love the part of you that seeps out beyond your control. But you don’t seem to identify with anything that you do. You see this outer world as temporary. You see your actions as pointless. But don’t you see that your actions leave a mark on other people? Your actions give life and memory of you to others? You instead feel that your actions are meaningless because they are just a small piece of the puzzle, just one expression or one element of your being. And when you express your thoughts and emotions, even those don’t feel as if they are truly you. You see, your heart is your deep self. Your thoughts and emotions are of a higher plane than the true depths of your heart.. So, why aren’t you acting from that deeper place? Why aren’t you expressing? Why aren’t you living without regret?
Look at your tears upon this wall!
My presence was now back with my friends. My friends observed at the graffiti. Their eyes were wide. Their eyes were intrigued. They were admiring it, astonished, “Who painted this? What are they trying to tell us? This is amazing! I’ve never seen anything like this. It is so elegant. It is so intricate yet simple, so natural. What a flow! What an energy! What a life!” My friends sat down in front of the wall. They sat. In front. Of the wall. And they just stared. They didn’t want to go anywhere. They were so captivated. My emotions started to well up.
I walked up behind them and sat down just a foot behind the circle they had made. I felt weak. I felt humble. My friends were here. They were looking at my tears upon the wall. They were looking at me. Finally, they were looking at ME!
“I did. I painted it.”
They all turned to look at me. At first incredulously. But my gaze was not at them, but at the wall. “Yes, me,” I said, choking a little bit on new tears. “I made it.”
My tears fell all around me. This time, my tears left streaks of blue and silver upon my face and upon my body. As my tears fell to the ground, all around me where I sat, my tears began to take shape. A drop over there turned into a small sunburst. A tear over there that had been sliding down a slope curled elegantly and along its entire path small flowering branches grew out of the life-giving stream. And as the tears pooled underneath me, my body stood up, my arms stretched out wide toward the sky. As my body reached its full posture, the pool of tears below me began to spiral and burst forth in all directions, sending shoots one way and waves the other. The very ground beneath us was now a work of art, expanding from the wall.
I had created a landscape of life. I was me. I was real. I was here.
There I was, in my full beauty, in my full expression. My body showed my friends who I really am. In color. In shape. And in expression. My heart was heavy, but it was free and open. I had a chance to show love.
And they acknowledged me. Acknowledged me. I let that sink in. I hadn’t felt this way in a very long time. “You are amazing! We knew you were already incredible, however subtle you have been, and even if you didn’t express yourself. We have you in our memories. But was all of this inside of you? In every memory, were you silently painting this? Were you secretly still separate from what we thought you were? How far does your power go? Can you do more? Or is this simply a store of emotion?
Now that your emotion is out, what can you do? How will you be different? You’ve lived so long disconnected that you have no other power! You only know how to stay silent and build your emotions of despair. You are not strong in other ways of life. And we can’t let you build your power all on despair. We need to train you, to get your other powers strengthened so you can stand out of despair and run like the wind. Despair is but one element of life. Powerful yes, but there is far more of different energy. Paint us colors of yellow and orange! Wash the world white with innocence! Create a vibrant and rich world of scarlet and royal purple. Show us your inner world! Strengthen yourself through expression! Dream! Live! Paint life! You will soon not just paint, but walk in colorful power!
You will walk and teach. You will know something tangible instead of just emotion. Grab on to something real. Be assured of yourself. You will need to bring people through your dreams. Your dreams will need to be tangible, practical, concrete. You need to teach us the meaning and path to the dreams. Know yourself. Know your dreams. Then show us your world. Show us your understanding. Show us your LIFE!”