This is the great unanswerable enigma. My mind tries so hard to escape the fact that it cannot truthfully answer this question. I call myself, “Luke,” but this brings the following questions:
Does my name have any inherent meaning?
Am I my name?
When people call my name, are they calling me, or some idea of me?
If I am not my name, what is the purpose of a name?
If I am not my name, what then do I call myself?
I try to remember these questions as often as I can, but usually I ask it from my mind; from an idea or a concept that is fixed and stagnant.
Most of the time, I am not even available to myself to have a living question. I am too busy, preoccupied with myself or lost in things outside of me. I forget that there are worlds upon worlds that exist above me; the earth, the moon, planets, the solar system and galaxies. There are also worlds below me like the shadowy worlds of microbes and viruses, DNA, and the atomic and the subatomic levels. I forget that I am so small in comparison. I rarely stop and think about how I am related to these myriad worlds above and below. Instead, I continually feed my self importance and my pride.
Why do I continually choose to live on the surface of myself? Sometimes, when I remember, I give myself a little tap on the head, as if to say, “Hey, you have to drop all this shit.” Maybe this question of, “who am I,” can awaken a true feeling in me, as though I were to turn the sail on a boat to catch the wind coming from an entirely new direction. Maybe this act will awaken my fundamental wish.
What is it that I do on this earth that is so fundamentally important? Is it my degree? Is it my job? Is it the books I own or all the possessions I have accumulated?
When all these things inevitably fall away, what am I left with?
Once, I had such a beautiful belief in answers. I trusted that somehow, someday I would eventually figure all this out; if only I read more, studied more. I find that these ideas and concepts that I have accumulated carry no weight because they are divorced from life.
Daily I travel the same thoughts and the same ideas, only now, the paths are becoming more and more worn. In this way, I lose sight of all the other possibilities. I am closed inside, no longer sensing anything.
I see that fundamentally, I need to be relaxed. I need to soften all these tensions and allow myself to be open to a question that can be vibrantly alive.
Photograph from the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives