Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Reconcilable Contradiction?

“He who would be what he ought to be must stop being what he is.”
--Meister Eckhart


Bill Harryman’s gracious Happy Birthday comment over a week ago said that a very wise person once told him that we are exactly who the universe wants us to be. I replied that the universe may want me to be who I am, but I don’t want to be who I am even if I am, ultimately, the universe. I went on to say that if I can ever clearly reconcile this seeming contradiction, I’ll be well on my way to being who I want to be.

I may have been more or less joking when I wrote that, but I think there could still be a lot of truth to it. On the one hand, I do believe that I AM, ultimately, the unified totality of existence, and, therefore, I am what the universe is (“wants”?) to be. On the other hand, I, as the universe, want to be other than what I am. I want to be wiser, healthier, happier, richer, more mindful, more loving, more disciplined, and a better husband, son, friend, person, and so on ad infinitum.

Upon further thought, maybe what this boils down to is that I, as the universe, am what I am but NOT what I WANT to be. In other words, the universe is the way it is, but it “wants” to be something else, and this “wanting,” from wherever within the universe itself it comes, spurs the universe to change, to grow, to evolve. I hope to grow to a better understanding of this over time and to be able to articulate it much more intelligibly here and elsewhere. If and when I can, I think I’ll be closer to who I really want to be, and I’d like to think that this will be a good thing.

4 comments:

WH said...

Hi Nagarjuna,

I think what my friend meant with that statement is that wherever we are in our lives, it's exactly where we are supposed to be in our personal evolution. That may mean we are dissatisfied and we want to be better in many ways (certainly, that is where I am). But the thing is, we need to learn to love ourselves exactly as we are, flaws and all, because in truth, that is how God (or whatever we want to call it) loves us.

One of the hardest things I faced last year in therapy was the realization that I felt unloved, and unworthy of being loved, by God (I'm not Christian, so that may sound silly, but God is the best word I have for the eros of the Kosmos).

I'm working on that hole within me. And part of doing that is learning to accept myself exactly as I am, whether I am satisfied with me or not. God accepts and loves me exactly as I am, whether I like or not.

Anyway, that was the point my friend was making -- the shorthand seems to have left out the meat of it.

Good post, by the way. This would seem to fall into ~C4Chaos's idea of blogging as a spiritual path.

-Bill

Nagarjuna said...

Hi, Bill. Thanks for your clarification. I think I understand your friend's point. I guess I have trouble accepting the idea that we are who we are because we're "supposed" to be that way. This implies to me that we are fulfilling some grand plan consciously designed and implemented by some kind of "higher intelligence." I don't presume to know that such a thing doesn't exist, but I have difficulty seeing evidence or reason to believe that it does. I tend to think that we are who we are not because we're "supposed" to be that way, but simply because we MUST be this way given the state of the Kosmos at this point in time. And, for some of us, this means that the state of the Kosmos can be such that we can effectively walk that vanishingly fine line between accepting ourselves as we are and wanting and trying to be different.
-Steve

WH said...

I tend to think that we are who we are not because we're "supposed" to be that way, but simply because we MUST be this way given the state of the Kosmos at this point in time.

Exactly -- and given the state of who we are at this point in time, including life experiences, karma, and everything else that shapes us from all quadrants.

At this moment in time, right now, I can wish I am different than I am, but all the wishing in the world -- and the anger, frustration, fear, sadness, joy, and so on -- can do nothing to change the fact that right now, at this moment, I am who I am.

So why do we cling so hard to some other version of who we should be?

Because we are living in the realm of ego, and ego is never happy with what it has/is -- it always wants more.

However, we have the option of deciding to change who we are at any point we chose to do so. It doesn't happen immediately, but we can say that next year we'd like to be more patient and more compassionate. So we do some work in meditation or art or therapy or writing, and we do the things that others have verified might help us make the changes we desire to see in ourselves.

If we are dedicated, we will see those changes at some point.

I don't believe in fate or a preordained universe. But I do believe that the Kosmos operates with Eros as its driving force and that the more we can align with that force (which means disidentifying with our small, fragile egos as much as possible) the more we will feel that who we are is who we would like to be.

Peace,
Bill

Nagarjuna said...

Bill, I believe that feeling frustrated with who one is now and wishing to change CAN lead to change, especially if, as you suggest, they motivate one to use skillful means to achieve that change. Unfortunately, most of us merely wallow in our wishes and frustrations without working effectively to bring about the changes we desire. And I'm not sure that the changes we desire always stem from ego. Perhaps some of them stem from a deeper aspect of our being seeking to know and fulfill itself more fully. Whether that deeper aspect is or is "driven by" Eros, I don't know. But I certainly agree with you that "the more we can align with that force (which means disidentifying with our small, fragile egos as much as possible) the more we will feel that who we are is who we would like to be."

As always, thank you for your perceptive comments.

Namaste,
Steve