“Non-identification … stop taking the experience as me or mine We inquire of every state or experience: is this who I really am? We see the tentativeness of this identity, then we are free to let go and rest in awareness itself. This is what Buddhist psychologists call the abode of awakening, the end of clinging. True peace. Nirvana. No longer bound by fears and illusions of the small sense of self.” Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart
I’ve been listening to the audio version of this book. I do highly recommend this book though I would think twice about buying the audio version. He’s not the liveliest speaker I’ve come across. Sorry, Mr. Kornfield!
So, I’ve actually been using the question … is this who I really am? … for any unwanted feeling. It’s a great tool to disengage from that feeling before I become emotionally flooded in a whirlwind of attendant thoughts. Try it the next time you feel fear or jealousy or anxiety, for instance. Notice where you are headed and ask yourself: is this who I really am? Most of the time your answer will be – no, it is not.
Most of the time. I hit upon one exception so far. Asked the question and I received the immediate response of yes. This was very telling about what I take to be real. Rather than wrestle that baby to the ground, I’ll lead with — just for now, that’s how it is. That’s another concept mentioned by Jack Kornfield. It’s a radical acceptance. Seems there’s always so much resistance to what is unwanted it starts a perpetual dance of push, pull where nothing really changes. Jack Kornfield terms this resistance, flavors of “the wish it weren’t so”. Yet it is, so why not accept it, just for now, or as they say in 12 step, Just for Today.
I think I’ll add to “just for now” an open curiosity. In the same manner that I can witness or watch myself in a dream, I can do this consciously — witness with non-attachment in the awake state. I can ask myself — what is it like to believe this? Where do I feel it in the body? What thoughts belong to this belief? How do those thoughts feel?
And finally … Where is my Spirit in all of this? This gently leads me back to the original question — is this who I really am? I already feel a softening of beliefs. An opening has been created into what is possible, and what was taken to be the truth, begins to quietly fall away.