A curious boy once asked his dad,
“Dad, who am I?”
The dad little perplexed and puzzled by his son’s sudden question of this nature replied gently,
“You are my son!”
The son was little uneasy and asked again,
“No, no. Who am I dad, actually?”
This time the dad replied immediately,
“You are who you look like dear. You are my handsome son!”
The son then said,
“You mean to say that I am what I look like. I am my this body! Really?”
The dad answered,
“Yeah… That’s what you are. Sitting besides me and looking dashing!”
The son then stopped for a moment. The dad found him thinking something. The dad saw that the boy had something going on within himself.
The boy then told,
“Dad, if we are our bodies, then where was Grandpa when he died in the hospital last year? We had his body with us, but he wasn’t there! It was just his body lying there, and people crying because he wasn’t there, dad!!”
The father then realized that the conversation that he has entered into with his son wasn’t that simple. And his son had started exploring which even he (father) wasn’t comfortable with.
The dad was ambivalent. He wasn’t sure whether he should continue from there onwards or somehow stop what was going on.
Before he could be sure of anything, he heard his son asking again,
“Dad, I am asking you. Did you listen to what I just said?”
The father realized that there wasn’t an easy way coming out of this conversation. or there wasn’t a way at all!
“I mean… You are not only your body. You are also your thoughts, feelings and actions you take! Yes, you are all those things together. You are what you think, feel and act!” The dad said so hastily.
He felt that it was then he could answered his son’s query well. He was somewhat comfortable and in-control!
The boy once again lost himself in thinking. The dad was looking at him expecting ‘I got it, dad!’ response, but he knew within that his son wasn’t yet settled among his curious thoughts.
The momentary silence was broken, and the son said,
“You mean to say that I am what I think, feel and act. And not only my body! Right? But then I am not getting dad who is that ‘I’ who is thinking, feeling and acting. The son continued, “Where is that ‘I’ who is thinking, feeling and acting? I can’t see or touch that ‘I’!”
Then it was too much for the dad to handle. The son was flowing with this curious thoughts leading him to explore the limits of knowing. But the dad besides him wasn’t very comfortable.
The dad himself wanted to know what it really was that his son was pointing at. He realized that he was experiencing what he had himself tried to explore and feel, when he was of his son’s age. He dived into it for some depth, and came out as he was told by someone that it was too dangerous to go deeper. You are likely to get lost and never come back.
But there he was. A hero to his son. The man who was a committed father who always wanted to guide and support his son, but wasn’t sure at that time what to do with his son’s free-flowing curious exploration of who he really was!
What would you do if you were his dad or mom?
The exploration which this boy had dived into is not uncommon. What’s uncommon is talking about it and consciously diving deeper inside.
It’s truly scary, but it may not even be helpful to keep it always buried within you.
More of this theme:
Let’s face the impermanence of our identity made up of bodies, thoughts and feelings. It’s the reality which we don’t want to connect more with because it produces discomfort, confusion and sometimes sever anxiety.
Embracing ‘what truly is’, is not going away from day-to-day pleasures and not enjoying little things in life. Far from it.
On the contrary, all things become more enjoyable and satisfying once we realize that ‘I’ behind our thoughts, feelings and actions!
Dr. Sudeep Shroff
Embracing What I TrulyAm, and Going Beyond…