Alan Watts said, “A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think but thoughts.”
Yann Martel said, “First wonder goes deepest; wonder after that fits in the impression made by the first.”
First wonder goes the deepest as the brain searches and compiles and organizes and figures how this new thing, this new query or fascination fits in with the files you already have. How does my lens – the goggles that I wear every day whether or not I bring my awareness to them – affect my perception of this new thing? And does it really matter?
Well, maybe not. But these lenses can quickly breed a downward spiral of judgment and assumptions. If you think all the time, you will only ever be surrounded by, drowned in, your own assumptions, perceptions, ways of categorizing and filing the world around you. You will be consumed by your own mind. How do you get out of the box?
Maybe you stop thinking. Maybe you say, “There might actually be something to this meditation nonsense I keep hearing about,” and you take five minutes to sit and be. To sit and let your thoughts run around, give them a recess for a while. Maybe after they’ve run the miles they’ve had building up, they will quiet down and let your mind rest.
Or maybe you change your environment. Maybe you jump in to a brand new world you never would have imagined. A place where you learn something new every day, where many things are confusing, where every thing, every fascination, every single wonder is outside of your box, challenging your filing cabinets until you’re not sure how you ever began compiling such a system.
In the documentary Jim and Andy, Jim Carrey describes an awakening experience he had in which he realizes that he does not just play a character in his acting jobs – he is, as we all are, always a character.
“Jim Carrey was a less-intentional character, but still a character. Sometimes, when people are depressed, they will say, ‘I don’t want to be me.’ And I tell them, ‘Well, great, because you never were.’
There’s no real you in the first place. Thinking you can add to yourself is an illusion – they’re just ideas. It can never fulfill you. ‘Mattering’ or adding meaning to things is a human construct.
Energy is what I believe all of us are. We’re just conscious awareness dancing for itself for no other reason but to stay amused.
Everything is divine and I am that.”
When I first heard this earlier this year, I thought about all of the different roles I play. On January 26th, I wrote:
How could we possibly begin to know who we are when we are constantly acting? All day, we play different roles that box us in to certain ways of being. What do these things mean and why do we blindly follow the way society defines them?
I realized that, as a marketing coordinator, I spent 60 hours a week essentially putting on a monkey suit that I hated. I would dress a certain way, speak a certain way, act particularly and complete work that I did not at all enjoy for the large majority of my week every single week. And then I would wonder why I wasn’t happy. How can you be happy when you are consequently so absurdly out of touch with your authentic self?
But who is your authentic self? How in the hell do you shed all those layers?
“You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world and after you walk through these doors, you’ll only really ever have two choices: Love or fear. Choose love. And don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.” – Jim Carrey
Fear isn’t real. It feeds the ego, our self-centeredness, our assumptions and judgments. It creates thoughts that aren’t real, fed by the downward spiral of our other thoughts. It borrows trouble with no limits.
Many people ask me why I decided to pick up and move across the world to a place I had never been before, that I knew little to nothing about, to begin a new career that I had no training or experience in, and almost completely alone with the exception of my roommate Jenn. There’s no simple answer to this question. But maybe a start to an answer would be:
To choose love. To be my authentic self. To be.
“Previously, when in deepest meditation, he was still his father’s son, he was a Brahmin of high standing, a religious man. Now he was only Siddhartha, the awakened; otherwise nothing else.
At that moment, when the world around him melted away, when he stood alone like a star in the heavens, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of icy despair, but he was more firmly himself than ever.” -Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
In Lomkao, my roommates are tokay geckos and infinite bugs, my shower mates are huntsman spiders. My best mode of transportation is a bicycle. The grocery store is a thirty-minute drive away. I teach all day in 95 degree heat with no A/C in the classrooms. My only resources are white boards and markers. As a vegetarian, I eat the same three meals repeatedly. As a former coffee snob, I drink instant coffee daily.
And in Lomkao, my boss is a wonderful, kind woman who is always concerned that I’ve eaten enough. My office is a healthy, close-knit and supportive environment. I read, write and color for fun. Every morning, our office dog Khao Noi gives me a paw to say, “Sawatdee kah”, or “good morning”. I say “Hello” more times than I can count to students in passing who are excited to use even one word of English correctly. I am a celebrity in the lunch room – I can hardly get my lunch without being approached by student after student, “Teachaaaa Sam! What’s my nickname? Do you remember?”
Everything is different in Lomkao. But the best thing that’s changed? I am no longer acting – at least, I am no longer playing characters that I do not want to play. It’s becoming easier to choose love.
“Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.” – Jim Carrey (Again, I know. I like him a little bit.)