*Brian Wilcox 'Rhododendrons'
In my society, when persons are angry at what someone does, the question may be asked, "Who do you think you are?!" This is like saying, "Who gives you the right to treat me that way?!" Yet, it is logical to inquire of ourselves, "Who do I think I am?" Finally, we are led, through self-inquiry, to an answer that is a non-answer. So, we are led into the Silence of not-knowing, which is, ironically, a nonlinguistic, subtle knowing that I am you and you are that I am. We are led to the placeless place from which Meister Eckhart could say, "The eye by which I see God is the same eye by which God sees me."
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A Christian seeker said to the Sage, "I was taught the main reason for me to walk a spiritual path is to become like Christ. Sir, would you agree with that?"
"No, I wouldn't. I'd say your spiritual path is for you to become who you are."
"And how would I do that? It sounds impossible."
"By unbecoming who you aren't."
"But who is that I'm not?"
"The one you have thought you are."
The Sage's wisdom applies to the relative and absolute aspects of Reality.
1) Relative - We can try to be what we are not as a person (i.e., a personality). Sources of this inauthenticity include socialization, indoctrination, to feel loved, for approval, for money, for fame, fear of reprisal for not conforming, . . . The relative realm carries the two marks of personhood: body, the physical; mind, the capacity for thought.
2) Absolute - Who I am is not a person - person being the means of the True Self, or Soul. With the best self-esteem, we can forget our True Nature is more than and before the person and what some refer to as our being our best selves. Being your best self can hinder surrender into the True Self. The Self is birthless and deathless, the Self of every self. Buddhists refer to this as our True Face and who we were before our parents were born. Hindus speak of the Atman, the one Self.
The Absolute aspect refers to the Soul, where arises religious devotion and spiritual insight, and the Spirit, of which nothing can be said that is true in itself. In the Absolute, we cannot return to oneness, for we are already arising as a person out of Pure Spirit ~ the One, the Eternal.
You are not anything or anyone you can say,
for you are not anything you can think,
for you are not a thought, an idea, or a concept.
In the Light, this truth is communicated to you - directly.
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June 2007, I wrote the following - at that time, some persons called me Arem, a faith-name:
The other night I read Thomas Merton's words, "We must become like ourselves, and stop living 'beside' ourselves." Sometimes we read some words that speak to our core. They become a transformative Word to us and shape our lives for a time or always. These words are like a mirror suddenly put before our True Face at just the time we need to listen to them. Such has been the power of those words of Merton.
I feel, know inwardly in an embodied way, that I am growing into those words. They are Word to me, by the Grace of Christ. I am coming to realize wonderfully, incarnationally, sacramentally ~ my own flesh being the offering to the Godhead ~ that the only way to God is through the person that persons call Brian. That Brian is a gift to this world, in all his apparent and subtle particulars, as is, not as some ideal of what he should or could be.