Reading Alan Watts gave me a sense that I wasn’t crazy for wanting to know, for wanting more understanding about who and what we are. In his writings I at least found someone who had similar questions about being alive and being human that I had.
In hindsight, the ongoing question that was becoming my life, revolved around questions of or relating to identity, both of self and of things. Somehow I had come to believe that others had a stability in their sense of themselves that I was, for one, both missing and wanting. The feeling of missing some integral part of myself that would make me feel whole, was, as I understand it now, the sickness itself, rather than the fact that I was indeed missing something. Now, I better understand, both in myself, and in others, that missing something, or the lack of feeling whole or complete is part of the natural state of being. We are beings in flux, that is what time brings.
True wholeness is perhaps static, or maybe divinity itself, where as life as we experience it is flow. Yet, there is something about us that allows for a sense of continuity, forming what we know as our identity. But this sense of ourselves is continually built upon our experiences, churned into memories, by both how and what we remember, images that stick, those non-verbal thingies that come to reside in us. We rely upon our capacity to be conscious of the stream of our lives, yes? Just as our capacity for making choices depends upon how much we can see, from our past and present and imagine as the consequences there of and the options available to us to move on.
The flow that time presents to us, and the movement that the changes of being alive bring in the day to day, I believe, create a tension between the tendency towards a static sense of who we are and the reality of motion and flux that we live in the day to day. We must carry with us some static sense of both who we are and who others are, or nothing could be assumed. I think for awhile, a lack of an ability to make peace with what can be carried forth and what to let go of describes the place I lived. Very scary…
First Grade – by William Stafford
In the play Amy didn’t want to be
anybody; so she managed the curtain.
Sharon wanted to be Amy. But Sam
wouldn’t let anybody be anybody else
he said it was wrong. “All right,” Steve said,
“I’ll be me but I don’t like it.”
So Amy was Amy, and we didn’t have the play.
And Sharon cried.