Among the many illusions we indulge in – sometimes because they provide us with relief, sometimes support, sometimes simply a welcome distraction – the idea of identity seems to me to be the greatest illusion. An “I am” that at the same time always includes a “not you”.
And yet, in the deepest essence, I am not separate, but a part of everything I can perceive. I use language to make distinctions, because it is not possible for me to grasp reality as it is: a symphony of millions of voices, a creation of many different forms, but at its core an inseparable living unity.
Language is the compass that helps us find our way in the world of form. But when the form disappears, the words are also lost. There in the silence I am pure being, a note in the orchestra of the universe, a sound in unison.
But here, beyond “being”, I am a speaking entity who becomes more deeply entangled in deception with every word. I am not just anyone, but someone specific. And this I understand is itself as separate from you, the reader, from humanity, and from the universe. I understand myself as someone who identifies with certain qualities and rejects others.
With my words I build bridges so that others can enter my islands of identity. But my words are also the water that separates you and me indefinitely.
I am set apart from everyone, a lonely island, always concerned about rank and prestige. I am beautiful, young and smart. Beautiful is not ugly, young is not old, smart is not stupid. My identity is the boundary I draw around my being in order to better understand it. I need the distinction in order not to lose myself in the infinity of possibilities. I need to know who I am and where I stand, don’t I?
Our common reality is a reality of discernment. I form alliances with like-minded people and together we build fortresses to protect ourselves from people who think differently. We feel safe in the known, the familiar – and threatened by the unknown, the foreign. In this bubble of like-minded people, I have created a reality for myself that is no more than a hue of the rainbow. But for me it is the whole universe. Again and again I confuse blue or red or yellow with the brilliance of the white light of truth and walk this earth with tinted glasses, some brighter than others, but none offering clear vision. In my “I-ness” I am short-sighted, the glasses fogged up, the vision unclear.
About the boxes and the I Am
And yet, in my heart, in the I AM beyond personal identity, my reality is limitless, I am limitless. But for this reality I have no words. An unknown territory of Oneness; how can I speak about it?
With my words and thoughts I have built a fortress in which I have locked up the infinite. In the straitjacket of man-made concepts, I have reduced the boundless glory of my soul to a word, a calendar slogan, a concept about whose beginning and end I agonise with spiritually like-minded people.
Concepts are the prison of the soul. The eternally new, the constantly changing is frozen in the sound of a word. Only the sound, the tone, the unsaid in the said gives nuance and depth to the word.
Again and again I see how people, in search of structure and reliability, give a name to everything that appears in the landscapes of their lives. Everything is neatly put into a “box”, precisely labelled and stored. But anyone who has ever stood silently in front of the shelf of terms knows what a storm rages in some boxes. Where wild, free energies are held hostage, weighed and measured, where concepts strive towards each other, which, artificially separated, painfully miss each other, and where one or the other concept sometimes manages to expand its box or even escape from its prison.
In order not to lose the overview, in order not to lose myself, I too try to sort and classify everything. There is a concept, a word, a box for everything. I have concepts for the soul, the spirit, God, the universe. Concepts that make me think I understand. Concepts that give certainty. But how can I recognise that which is separate from me?
We say here is me, there is the soul and up there is God. On a scale of our own devising, we classify certain things and behaviours as closer or further from God. We say one man is wise, but another is wiser. One lives a life close to God and the other far from him. But who are we to say that one is closer to God than the other?
People around me are obsessed with naming and measuring things. And yet I maintain that reality can neither be named nor measured. It eludes all words, it exists beyond form. In this infinite, unbound reality, the only illusion is that of distinction. When I stop naming things, I begin to see things for what they are, as part of infinite, limitless consciousness, just like me.
Leaving the security of unambiguity
Of course, not everything is the same. In the world of forms there are different vibrations, gradations. But when I use words of distinction, I am moving on the periphery. Then reality is just another concept to argue about. The path from the periphery to the centre began for me with many words, with signposts, with concepts that I could shimmy along like a rope. More and more, however, the concepts are now fading, becoming unimportant, standing in the way.
Names and words lose their meaning, I need the support of their unambiguity less and less. Leaving the security of unambiguity, I feel a new power, a new security that rises from the centre and envelops me completely.
There in the centre of all things, words lose all meaning. Everything is one echoing sound of oneness. Held securely by this all-encompassing presence, I cast off the armour of language, and I let go of my individually coloured reality. In the heart of the heart, in the centre of creation, neither words nor concepts are needed. Without a fixed point, orientation is always there. I am one with the all-pervading consciousness. Without distinction and identity, oneness is an experience. My I AM is no longer directed towards the world of forms and concepts, my thoughts are no longer lost in separation. I AM limitless, formless, eternally new. Beyond all words I am the silence that permeates everything, carries everything and understands everything.