In our lives we travel a long road. As babies and infants we’re the headless One unaware of Who we really are. We’re also the headless One unaware of being a special, headed somebody in the eyes of others. A friend’s young daughter brought home a photograph of her class. She named every child until she came to one: “I’ve never seen that child in my class!” Of course, she hadn’t — it was her!
However, this unselfconscious freedom doesn’t last long. As we grow up we learn to identify with our appearance (and dismiss our native headless viewpoint as unreal or mad). We become profoundly convinced we’re the headed one we see in the mirror, the one that others see when they look towards us. As a child I learn to imagine that face over there in the mirror to be here above my shoulders. (Imagine, not see.)
Framing myself in this way, imagining what I look like from several metres through the eyes of others and imposing that regional appearance on this central Reality, I come to believe I am, in my own experience, a separate person, and assume others are in the same condition — for themselves headed, separate and mortal. Now I’m no longer headlessly and timelessly Alone, the Centre of my world — as I was as a baby.
Now, as an adult, I’m ‘one amongst many’, a ‘cog in the machine’, here today and gone tomorrow. I’m the One who has forgotten Who I am, the Prodigal Son lost in the Far Country, the Faceless One become a face in the crowd. Normally we assume this is the end of the story, that this must be as good as life gets. It seems growing up is about finding out who I am as a person and then doing the best with the cards I’ve been dealt. But this needn’t be the end of the story.
But, on looking within and seeing my faceless Reality, I discover I’ve been dealt the highest card in the pack — a sure-fire winner! Taking this Vision seriously, accepting it, saying Yes to it at deeper and deeper levels, a new and exciting chapter of life begins unfolding — the chapter that makes sense of the whole story to date.
Without this chapter I’m like a rosebush that sprouts from the ground, grows stem and leaves and buds, but then fails to bloom. If I don’t see Who I am, I’m not fulfilling my natural potential.
Sometimes people think that when you see Who you are, you’ll no longer identify with being a person. I don’t find this. Of course, it depends what you mean by ‘identify with’. But, seeing I have no head now, am I oblivious to the fact that you see it? Of course not. Do I act in the world as if I don’t have a face? No. Realising I have neither name nor abode, have I now forgotten my name and address? I hope not.
What does change, then? I see that my human identity isn’t central. My face and everything else aren’t here at my centre but ‘out there’ on my periphery — in mirrors, in photographs and videos and in others, just as others are here in me. Living in awareness that privately I am the One whilst publicly I’m Richard, I live a two-sided life.
I have the best of both worlds. I’m like a king in disguise who is no longer fooled by his own mask. Though I appear outwardly as an ordinary citizen, I’m aware of my inner regality. All is within me, all obeys my royal will. As a Sufi dervish once said (according to Rumi) when asked how he was:
“How should that one be, according to whose desire the work of the world goes on? According to whose desire the torrents and rivers flow, and the stars move in such wise as he wills; and Life and Death are his officers … No tooth flashes with laughter in the world without the approval of that imperial personage.”
But as soon as I forget to see, as soon as this Awareness goes out the window — as soon as I overlook this Open Window I’m looking out of — I feel and think and act as if I’m again a two-eyed victim. I have traded my fortune for a pittance. To align myself again with the truth, I must see again — I must see now, returning again to my Eternal Home, the Home I never really left.
Yet even this rhythm of forgetting and remembering arises within the unchanging Self. Nothing has gone wrong. The person who never leaves home doesn’t really know home for he has nothing to compare it with. But the person who has travelled abroad and then returns, now sees home and all who live there with fresh eyes — and loves it, and them, all the more dearly.
What good fortune to awaken to Who we are. I wouldn’t disagree with you if, in spite of acknowledging all the suffering and evil in the world, you felt you’d arrived in heaven — or rather, that heaven had arrived in you. We’ve stumbled upon a wonderful truth — the truth that makes the world go round, the truth that heals and guides and frees us, the truth that is Love.
~ Richard Lang, author of: Seeing Who You Really Are. (Richard will be giving workshops in Byron Bay, Sydney & Perth in March & April. For more deatails, call Sam on 0412 039 050 or go to: >>>Richard’s Site.