The lingering question

We spend our lives asking ourselves who we are while, at the same time, we try to become someone else through every single action that moves us from here to there, as if ‘there’ were any different from ‘here’. Asking myself who I am used to lead me to a brick wall that seemed to block my way and felt like a prison. But this has somehow changed.

Now, ‘Who am I?’ is the question that lifts me. Instead of anchoring me to a place, instead of giving me certainty, it releases me from my fetters and just lets me float in a sea of unknown.

At the beginning it created anxiety. I needed an answer ‘now’. Now. I really needed to know who I am so that I could proceed accordingly. With time, though, I learnt to let the question linger… let it stretch her legs, let it breathe, let it exist. And just listen.

The question speaks. It needs no answer. It is there for me. Not to torment me with an impossible search for an impossible answer. It is there to widen my room, to expand my world. It is no longer sitting on my chest with the weight of millennia. Rather, it is lifting me.

There is no answer. Because there is no I.

I often write things I only vaguely understand, if that’s a term that applies to this kind of ‘knowledge’. I remember writing about sitting on the doubt on a morning that now seems far behind. Or maybe it was only yesterday… I remember it coming to me from somewhere in the inner space. It was unreasonable in a way that my logical mind found repugnant. And it stayed there, without moving, emotionless, floating in front of my eyes for me to see.

My children despise my wonderful lies
I’m a go-getter
I see through your walls
And your space down your halls
I’m a go-getter
Don’t hold no harm

The fever I feel, the fake and the real
I’m a go-getter
My world just expands
Things just break in my hands
I’m a go-getter
Don’t hold no harm

Editors, No harm

This may not be very profound, but I can’t help but think of Duran Duran’s song The Reflex: “And every little thing the reflex does leaves you answered with a ?”. I remember the lyrics of the original vinyl album ended the song with an actual question mark, rather than the words. It’s surprising the number of different interpretations you can find for this song online. I can only speculate that it is about a search for a solution to a want, which just leaves you with a ?.

A question is like a want, an itch we need to scratch. We need to kill the doubt by solving it or by suppressing it. We cannot bear the idea of floating adrift. We need to chain ourselves to some sort of certainty, some knowledge that allows us to ‘understand’, to predict to some extent what will happen next. I remember being taught that the Truth will make me free. I have come to realise that the Truth is not in the answer; it is in the question.

The person, out of habit, looks outside for an answer. Questions come from taking yourself to be a separate individual. When you see that there is no outside, that all is in you, you come to a stopping of wanting second-hand information. Let the original question “Who am I?” live in you, in the stopping, in your alertness, your global listening which appears spontaneously when mental interference dies away.
The answer comes out of silence, out of being, and brings the perfume of silence with it. Therefore it is important that you don’t immediately try to grasp the answer mentally. Don’t make any effort to understand it. Sustain the non-concluding
Jean Klein, The Ease of Being

Everything has been said already. We just keep the message alive…