Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Superman At Macys

     I have been interested in writing about identity for quite some time, but have not been really sure about how to approach the topic, and so I’ve been hesitant to explore it here.  But, it’s niggling, constantly nagging me, like a scab you just can’t keep from picking.  And since, if we really look closely, identity (or the mistake therein) seems to be perhaps the catalyst to the wonderful seeking and glorious suffering that we all continually share, I’ve decided to write about it in my usual fashion, which is to randomly type a bunch of meaninglessness and wait and see if anything that remotely resembles a point happens to emerge.
     When I first began this blog and decided on the name, I envisioned “The Edge of the Infinite” as a metaphor for that cliff we teeter on, the unstable and scary periphery between our intellectual understanding of Truth, and our being Truth.  That place where we peer over the edge, perhaps still, for whatever reason, not ready to let loose our own fragile footing, desperately afraid of the inevitable hang time that will occur when we finally just allow the fall.  But also I see it as the sharp edge of honesty- that the opposite of Truth is a Lie, and how can we not be carrying around our lies?  How can I not be a person?  Blame it on the damn Greeks.
     You see, I have lived an inauthentic life.
     I have misrepresented myself; personified a constant living distortion.  I am guilty of misconception, misinformation, gross libel.  I’m the jester of jive, an expert at exaggeration. 

     Who I have portrayed myself to be, is a fraud.
     And, now looking back as I take a casual stroll down amnesia lane, I see that my dishonesty has always been true, the one thread of my entire experience of life has been the constant companion of inauthenticity.
     Remember a thousand years ago, back in high school?  There were really just two types of people in high school, right? There were beautiful people, and invisible people.  Myself, I wasn’t necessarily interested in the people who wore the labels, but rather how to transcend the labels themselves.  How to be beautifully invisible?  So I wore my hair long, dressed in ratty grunge clothing, shared perpetual red eyes with the Stoners, but made straight A’s, and had metaphysical conversations with the Nerds.  I made it a point to sit with the “prep” boys in assembly, yet I spent every lunch hour in the library with my face buried in Plato, alone.  Seemingly socially awkward, I was not at all against participating in class discussions, arguing vehemently with the history teachers about Custer’s engagement strategy during the Battle of Little Big Horn.  I smiled, not intimidated, at the cheerleaders.  

     But I was only bluffing.
     And then on to the world of adulthood- a perpetual shopping trip in a world of too small clothes.  Trying them on, and convinced they fit, wearing them with pride despite the constant discomfort. 
     There is giant rolled up white glove of humbug which smacks me in the face, on a continual loop. 
     I’m a starving artist, a wanna-be writer, transgressional poet, dutiful employee, a corporate whore. 
     I’m a spiritual person, an intellectual person, an honest person, a not-so-honest person.
     I am a historical revisionist, conscientious conservationist, a nature lover of inner landscape. 
     I’m a teacher, a student, a greasy pitchman of viewpoints, none of them True.
      I am an okay husband, a pretty good father, and a bad son.
     Oh, don’t forget.  I’m a seeker of Truth.
     Look at me, still roaming the halls with my backpack of masks.

     Then what am I?

    To know yourself, be yourself.

    To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that.*

     Such good news!
     It is not the wearing of the mask, the assuming of the identity, that creates my suffering, it is my forgetting that it is simply a mask.  When I forget, then I must continually convince YOU of the validity of the assumed ME. 

     I must perpetually defend the viewpoints and actions of this assumed me, less it will be seen through.  It will be discovered for what it truly is. 
     What do you imagine yourself to be?  
     Anything that can be imagined cannot be True.

What if Superman somehow forgot that he was Superman, and really believed that he WAS Clark Kent?

* Nisargadatta Maharaj