What do you know for sure?

“In the beginning….” That’s how the greatest bestseller in history starts.

It has been on the bestseller list since before there was a bestseller list.

It has the best-known creation story, but all cultures have these stories — they tell us how we came to be and attempt to make sense of what seems incomprehensible.

And we have our personal creation stories that explain who we are and why we are the way we are. There are good guys and bad guys, and often we’re both. We can, however, change our story, add a chapter, delete another.

We can even write a new saga.

We hesitate became changing stories can be painful and it means a new way of looking at the world. We change.

For the butterfly to be born, the caterpillar must die; it liquefies in its chrysalis before transforming and leaving the prison of the leaf for the freedom of the sky.

Playwright Tennessee Williams said sometimes there is a time for departure even when there is no certain place to go. That can be any time; it can be now. What if we re-invented ourselves from the inside out? People re-invent themselves all the time. They lose the moustache, get contacts, have laser surgery or liposuction.

While that can make us feel better, it’s the equivalent of giving the car a paint job when the transmission, the clutch and the pistons are shot, and the radio doesn’t work.

But it looks good.

If bodily changes made us different, aging would make us wise, confidant, happy, joyful, but our essence isn’t changed by the subtraction from or addition to various body parts.

That’s not to say we should never shave our moustache — or our head — or have a nip and/or tuck, but it would be insightful to find out why we want to do it.

Where does it fit into our story? And what is our story. We have told it to ourselves — and other people — so often we don’t really listen any more; it slips past our consciousness like a ninja in the night.

Maybe we should tell it one last time so we know what we’re re-writing or tossing into the trash.

But we have to absorb it in with our whole being, rather than just our ears. Good listening is more than sitting silently and waiting for our turn to speak; we must be totally there and accept the person no matter what is being said.

We owe it ourselves to listen to our story with the same presence a good listener gives to others.

“There should be only one consideration when making any decision: is this a statement of who I am? Is this a statement, an announcement of what I choose to be?” Neale Donald Walsch is told in Book Two of Conversations with God.

“All of life should be such an announcement. In fact, all of life is. You can allow that announcement to be made by chance or by choice.”

What if we could pick and choose who we want to be? What if we aren’t our job, our labels, the things with which we define ourselves?

What if we lost our entire sense of self, our identity?

What if we released our beliefs, tenets and concepts, our faded picture of who we are, if we cut the anchor that holds us to that image of who we think we should be, and just be?

What if we consciously built a mental, spiritual edifice of who we want to be? If we don’t do it consciously, we still chose, maybe by letting others pick the attributes that become us.

Let’s grab a piece of paper, a big piece, and write every label we have about ourselves :

  • spouse
  • parent
  • offspring
  • employee
  • boss
  • runner.

After the list is complete, put a big X through it, rip it up, burn the pieces, vacuum up the ashes and scatter them to the wind.

Who are we now? What is the new story?

Sometimes it’s best to be pre-emptive because the Universe can get tired of waiting for us to become who we should be and start the process whether we’re ready or willing.

In The Journey, Brandon Bays, a trainer with Tony Robbins, had to deal with:

  • a huge tumour in her stomach
  • fire that destroyed her uninsured Malibu beach house,
  • a fight with the Internal Revenue Service
  • a disintegrating “legendary romance” with her husband
  • her daughter getting away from her mother’s influence.

“Source had been teaching me so profoundly, using my life as the classroom. With the tumour: you are not your body. With the fire: you are not your material possessions. With the IRS: you are not your money or your ability to survive. With Kelly: you are not your relationships. With Don: you are not the romance or the marriage.

“You are this love that is present when all else comes and goes.”

Spiritual teacher Adyashanti recommends we ask ourselves one question: What do I know for sure?

“When you look deeply into the question, it actually destroys your world. It destroys your whole sense of self, and it’s meant to.

“You come to see that everything you think you know about yourself, everything you think you know about the world, is based on assumptions, beliefs and opinions — things you believe because you were taught or told they were true. Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned in the dream state.”

It isn’t just spiritual teachers, fringe dwellers and weird people who make that claim. Many quantum physicists and string theorists, make similar observations.

“Asking yourself the deeper questions opens up new ways of being in the world. It brings in a breath of fresh air. It makes life more joyful,” said quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf.

“The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery.”

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Ross Freake, a former managing editor of The Daily Courier, has worked at 11 newspapers from St. John's to Kamloops. He is the author of three books and the editor and ghost writer of many others.

He can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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