I exist-as interwoven spiraling dimensions of consciousness. This ‘I’ is a complexity of entangled webs, woven of but one golden thread of essence. It is the challenge of following and identifying that thread, that essential identity, that core of being that embeds all others, that is the ‘I’ this self seeks to identify here.
For many years ‘I’ thought ‘I’ was my beliefs. Despite encountering the Buddhist mantra of “I am not my beliefs…” perhaps some thirty years ago now, I cannot say ‘I’ am yet free of petty self-identifications with my beliefs. I can still go into a reaction of self-defense when someone attacks a belief I unconsciously seem to cherish as part of my identity.
Somewhere along Life’s journey ‘I’ encountered the thinking that if perhaps, I am not my beliefs, maybe it is my attitudes that are closer to my essence. And so here too, in my attachments to the positive attitudes that cultivate a happy life, was yet another web-of-identity: “I am a good man!”
“I will have positive beliefs.” “I am the master of my own destiny.” “I deserve a good life.” “The Universe wants me to be happy…” Boy, can those affirmations ever weave a tangled web-of-identifications!
Then too, there is the identity-web of memories, of personal history. This is a sticky web in which it is easy to become lost in one’s own story, a particularized version that selectively emphasizes certain aspects or events while excluding other perspectives on the same.
My version begins thus: “Yes, I am the son of a preacher man. My father was a hellfire and brimstone evangelist and an abusive man. I was suicidal in the third grade….”
The problem with this story of ‘I’ however, is that it keeps me imprisoned within a victim’s identity. Even though, as an adult, ‘I’ and you know I no longer live under my father’s roof and am now free to be my own man.
Still, to begin the story of ‘I’ through the lens of this early spiritual and physical abuse is, well, it is a web like the Black Widows’. The story is sticky and messy and difficult to untangle the golden thread out of.
So it is that our stories, like our memories, are yet another interwoven spiraling dimension of our consciousness. But they are not who we are. They are not our essence. No. Not the personal ones nor the collective ones, the tribal ones nor the identifications we share with professional sports teams or the churches to which we go to or the political parties we belong to or….
Hindu tradition, through the Rig Veda, gifts us with the image of Indra’s Net, as a way of imaging who this essential ‘I’ might be. This version I found in Meg Wheatley’s Turning to One Another, which is a wonderful resource and is there attributed to Anne Adams.
There is an endless net of threads throughout
At every crossing of the threads there is
And every individual is a crystal bead.
And every crystal bead reflects
not only the light from every
other crystal in the net
but also every other reflection
throughout the entire universe.
This too, is the Forbidden Knowledge the wild wisdom of the Aspen-Body invites us into. It is the soul of the world, the soul of our own Being, the collective intelligence and wild wisdom of which we are… and are not separate from. This experience and knowledge too, is the golden thread that can lead us down the path of Thrivability.
As one resource, there is a provocative reflection on Indra’s Web at http://www.heartspace.org/misc/IndraNet.html
Also, for a longer and beautiful read go to Anima Mundi: Awakening the World Soul, by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, at http://www.goldensufi.org/A-AnimaMundi.html