I’m staring at clouds this morning. I used to think of clouds as individual formations that moved across the sky. Then in my early metaphysical days, I learned to create and dissolve clouds by my focus. But now I find that clouds aren’t individual formations at all. When I relax into soft focus scan, I notice that they are constantly becoming and dissipating, shifting levels, blending and separating. My “creation” was no more than observing what is.
Come to think of it, maybe everything is more patterns in a flow than individual formations. The leaves on the trees around me bud, develop, change in shape and color, dance in the wind, then drop off and dissolve. They only look individual because my observation blends an image one moment into an image of the next. I can slow down my focus to freeze an impression in time, but the reality is constantly shifting.
Am I an individual formation? The religion of my youth spoke of an eternal soul, but I see nothing around me that is eternal. Even my beloved stones are constantly shoving up, wearing down, cracking, separating, dissolving although at a rate much slower than my lifetime.
Who I am today is not who I was when in my 20’s – thank god! There is probably a “Lindsay-ness” about both, more based on my physical appearance and recognizable in spite of cosmetic surgery and wrinkles. But that may be more a matter of imagining a consistency based on shadows of previously noted attributes. When I connected again with my first love, after 40 years, I saw aspects that I recognized – and aspects he had acquired since I’d known him. I could see the shadow of the person I had known. He could in part resurface more of that shadow as we reminisced. It is no longer who he is.
I have a friend of many years who knows only my softer, non-professional side. A few years ago when I mentioned my consulting work, he confessed that he had no idea what I did and asked me to describe it. I launched into talking about a recent project – the challenge, how I approached it, what I asked in interviews and what I discovered. His jaw dropped. “Who are you!! I have known you intimately for 10 years and never saw this part of you!” How strange! I think of myself as that professional person. But that wasn’t who I was around him. Since retiring I realize how much of my presentation was in response to whatever “being professional” meant to me at the time. A standard that changed. A standard that only applied to parts of me.
Do I know who I am? My view of myself shifts with my mood. Even the me I see in the mirror shifts and cannot tell me who I am.
Who I am in this moment has no more permanence that the whiteness above that I label as “a cloud”.