The idea of “myself” is so fundamental to my experience that I can hardly doubt it. I am so real that nothing in my experience shows me otherwise. The one thing I have experienced in my 38 years of life as Micah is that my beliefs change.
When I was a boy, I believed that I sinned and needed to accept Jesus into my heart to be saved from the afterlife of hell. I wanted to go to heaven and be with Jesus, because he loved me. In my mid 20s, I doubted this to be true. Now I believe I am not a sinner and I am not going to hell. I do believe in heaven and the love of Jesus. This is only one of many beliefs that have transformed.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my life is that my self image is always changing and does not hold a constant existence. My self image can be swayed from being skinny and healthy, to overweight and fat. Along with that image about myself is that I’m self-controlled and in control of my appetites or I’m lazy and ugly.
Something else I have learned is that my image and my reality are not the same. I am the mind that exists with or without thought. I can project my images and meetings on the objects in my view, such as my belly or the other guy’s body or my career or the other guy’s car. I doubt my self-assessments. My judgments are no longer the only way to see things, and I am not attached to them completely. I’m waking up out of these attached beliefs. Sometimes I am very attached to my convictions, such as how children should be raised. Once I am reminded, my mind opens up to other ways of seeing any given situation. It requires only a little willingness to step back from myself to see the iron grip I held to the idea.
This learning has great implications. If my identity changes and can be let go, then I must not be who I think I am. If I’m not who I think I am, then I must be empty. If I am empty, then a new image can be accepted. My new image seems to be, “Maker.” I must be making it up. I must be the image maker if these meanings can change. If that’s so, then there is nothing in the physical world that has any solid reality, any true meaning. The only meaning it has is the meaning I give it. If that’s the case, and is also the case with everybody else, then there is nothing real and absolutely true.
If that’s the case, then the only real thing is me and you without our images of ourselves or each other. The mind, the seer, that which exists, must be what is real. If that’s the case, then none of us are different. We are all the same. The physical appearance is that we are separate and the mental images we hold about ourselves and others make us seem separate, but if all those things are made up in our own minds then they’re not real — only projections. If that’s the case, then there must be nothing real but the image maker.
That might be hard for some to accept, especially in the case where they value their opinions so strongly. Those who are attached to their beliefs and opinions are those who cannot see outside their own viewpoint. If you’re able to see outside your own viewpoint and everybody else’s, then you are free — from guilt and condemnation. If you believe that God is going to judge you, then you’re in deep shit. You have given your beliefs reality by projecting them onto an image of a larger more powerful being. This is another form of image making. But this is still an illusion. If there is a God, it not only must be the pure reality that we are, but also a magnified, completely pure presence.
So keep on dreaming and you might as well have fun with it. It’s not all that big of a deal — or is it? It really takes a load off when it’s not personal. There’s such freedom of experience in this New way of seeing life. Just be it, because you are it.