If I listen hard enough, I can hear a small babbling brook inside of me that I know to be my stream. I have to work especially hard to hear it now, because I’ve polluted it with so many other streams I wanted to claim as my own.
I have to start over again, and clarify who I am and who I am not.
This means that I can’t assume anything or anyone I’ve claimed to represent fundamental pieces of my identity are necessarily the real me.
The motive for trying to become someone other than the person God created was primarily one of quick and easy acceptance into the social circles that would render me wealthy and famous in the near future. The social circles I considered to be most expedient for this mission would often change, but I wouldn’t change quickly enough to be seen as an insider.
I should probably start with discussing God, because I want to scare off anyone who gets easily offended by someone who discusses their faith, especially the Christian faith. I never could completely reject God, because I love Him so much. However, I began to experiment with new age notions of God and Eastern Mysticism because I assumed that most everyone who was part of rapidly upward mobile social circles (ie, the people who determined who and what was hip and cool) was accepting of “spiritual but not religious” ways of professing faith.
It was extremely difficult for me to comprehend that most people who are worldly and completely attuned to worldly things have little or no interest in God and spirituality. Even those who claim to be Catholic or some other faith do not want to discuss their faith, and by all appearances don’t spend much time practicing it or thinking about it. For some, this is probably akin to stripping naked, perhaps even more so. They don’t want to reveal just how vulnerable they really feel themselves to be, because if they do believe in God, they only approach Him when they are at their most desperate hour, and discussing God means essentially discussing the times they felt complete loss of control, utter fear, abject humiliation, etc.
But, I only think this addresses part of the issue.
Because most people haven’t given God much thought since childhood religious classes, their spiritual development hasn’t matured much past that of a child’s. When you ask them to talk about their faith, it is as if they are revealing a nine-year old’s limbs hidden behind adult clothing, or a teenager’s vocabulary under a polished professional’s corpus of terminology.
In some ways, we are permitted and even expected to approach God as a child. Even in faiths where this isn’t explicit, the practice of professing faith in a communal setting often appears to be one of utter simplicity when compared to the other skills we have to acquire to succeed in our adult lives.
However, the very act of equating simplicity with a child’s stage of development can be a misguided one. A Buddhist monk who has spent tens of thousands of hours of meditating and chanting has perfected a mature and robust spirituality that most of us can’t come close to touching.
I am going to take a step back from my train of thought and refocus on what I hope to accomplish here.
Running throughout my life is a common thread of my core identity, my true self, the basic sense of who I am. When I remember myself in many various social situations, or even sometimes when caught up in solo activities, I can distinguish this me that is completely me as being separate from these other pieces of identity. The pieces that I willfully and eagerly tried on in adolescence and young adulthood seemed to be easy enough to throw off, but there appear to be these other entities beyond my reach that do still rise up in certain situations, namely situations of intense stress, boredom or drunkeness.
The “real me” as it were, is not always so easy to find when I am in the middle of a stressful situation where habit has created this tendency for me to resort to being this “other me” or “fragment me.”
In all certainty, I will one day be held accountable before God for all of my actions, good and bad. I am held accountable here on earth before Man for most of them as well. I am not suggesting a method for shifting the blame off of me onto “the devil” or “demons” for my past transgressions. Rather, I am proposing a way of being moving forward that sees me seeking the source of my being, which springs directly from the Source itself, ie, the Godhead, or well of everlasting life.
From this, I hope to leave off with the extra baggage and clothing and masks and pseudo-indentities that have dogged me throughout most of my life.
The real me is someone who is very much NOT one of the cool kids. This is perhaps why I’ve spent so much time running from the real me, and trying to put on these additional garments to assist me in becoming accepted by people who matter most to other people in this particular time and place.
The real me is not especially intelligent or in possession of a large vocabulary. What little intellect I do have comes from God. The same goes for my health and the small gifts or talents that I might discover along the way as being mine. They aren’t really mine in the since of ownership as much as they are owned by God and he left them here with my name on them to be used for this life.
The real me does not usually make a good first impression upon others. I operate under the premise that I will do whatever I can not to deceive others into having expectations of me that I can’t meet. If someone meets me when I’m pretending to be a smiley, fun guy and they are disappointed by my tendencies to long pauses of silence while I think carefully about what is being discussed, then I have done them and myself a great disservice. If someone meets me and thinks I am a boring, stick in the mud, and later they find me warm and caring and a great comfort when they are struggling with something, then I have probably come closer to succeeding.
Perhaps on the surface a stick in the mud is a perfect analogy. You have to dig down deep in the mud to discover the clear, wonderful spring bubbling quietly beneath the surface, but the mud tells you that the stream is there.
Should I be striving to bring more of that clear stream to the surface so that people aren’t frustrated by the initial appearance of a dud of a person? I think the answer is yes, but with some qualification. I am of the opinion that each and every one of us is in possession of the clear, quiet stream, and if we all connected with each other at the Source of our true selves, we would achieve world peace and perfect harmony. So, a problem can arise when we attempt to bring the stream to the surface in an insincere sort of way, or we bring it up too quickly, or we bring it to the surface merely to impress and use others rather than make a beautiful, clean connection with them.
Of course, it is paramount to my own personal development that I continue to try to resolve the tension between the real me that I know to be deep within me, and the false me that blurts out at inopportune moments or remains painfully silent when words of encouragement or love are required. It is never enough just to say, “other people just don’t get me, and so I guess I’ll be a hermit until someone who does get me comes along.” This is childish and ridiculous, and it isn’t putting one’s self on a path of spiritual maturity.