following the brush

Who Are We, Really?

morning computer 004 – 24 feb 23

Sometimes, alone, I feel like a ghost. Unmasked, I walk through the world as if I’m embodying impressions. I channel the wind, the sadness the rain brings, the spring gloom. My identity is composed of memories, of spirits of places, of things I tell myself, and of things others tell me. I know it’s all in flux. The masks are shifting.

…this reminds me of:

Miles walking, the sound of breaking waves the other side of me,
Paumanok there and then as I thought the old thought of likenesses,
These you presented to me you fish-shaped island,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I walk’d with that electric self seeking types.

from Walt Whitman’s “As I Ebb’d With The Ocean of Life”

In times of crisis, we set out to find ourselves. Perhaps we will find whatever it is that constitutes us out there in the Himalayas, or somewhere out west. Perhaps we’ll find ourselves in another person who teaches us to see, or in the sun that sets over the Pacific ocean. Often we’ll gain access to another part of ourselves through a story that inspires us.

But this quest to “find yourself” is somewhat self-defeating when the more precise goal ought to be “to create yourself,”

Discovery: Searching for a fixed point; you can miss it, never find it

Creation: Always happening, and especially when you realize it, and do with intention. Never has to end. Is complete when you say so…

In Hinduism, the ego is a trapping of the physical world. The body is often likened to a flesh tomb, and the ego is like the glass that contains our true self and shapes it. The true self—the atman —is a silent, conscious witness. It exists within every creature at its core.

I really enjoyed this piece, and find myself returning to it. I’ve read it two or three times already, and though it doesn’t necessarily contain any revolutionary, knock-me-off-my-chair epiphanies, it does that amazing and crucial task of giving form and structure to the kind of wordless questions and wonderings I often have, and allows me to re-engage with them, chew on them in more tangible forms than when they are swimming in my head…


#morncomp #quotes