“Bill Murray gives a surprising and meaningful answer you might not expect.”
“The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to salvation is hard.” ~ The Upanishads
This post was inspired by the recently-published guide to “living a Bill Murray life.”
It’s full of lots of gems of wisdom, but my favorite is the final tip: to “remember you are you and no one else is.”
Bill’s off-the-cuff answer to an audience member’s question, “What’s it like being you?” is pretty much the most amazingly down-to-earth yet poetic description of mindfulness I’ve encountered—ever.
Here it is:
I think if I’m gonna answer that question, because it is a hard question, I’d like to suggest that we all answer that question right now, while I’m talking. I’ll continue. Believe me, I won’t shut up. I have a microphone.
But let’s all ask ourselves that question right now. What does it feel like to be you?
What does it feel like to be you? Yeah. It feels good to be you, doesn’t it? It feels good, because there’s one thing that you are—you’re the only one that’s you, right? So you’re the only one that’s you, and we get confused sometimes—or I do, I think everyone does—you try to compete. You think, Dammit, someone else is trying to be me. Someone else is trying to be me. But I don’t have to armor myself against those people;
I don’t have to armor myself against that idea if I can really just relax and feel content in this way and this regard.
If I can just feel, just think now: How much do you weigh? This is a thing I like to do with myself when I get lost and I get feeling funny. How much do you weigh? Think about how much each person here weighs and try to feel that weight in your seat right now, in your bottom right now. Parts in your feet and parts in your bum.
Just try to feel your own weight, in your own seat, in your own feet. Okay? So if you can feel that weight in your body, if you can come back into the most personal identification, a very personal identification, which is:
I am. This is me now. Here I am, right now. This is me now.
Then you don’t feel like you have to leave, and be over there, or look over there. You don’t feel like you have to rush off and be somewhere. There’s just a wonderful sense of well-being that begins to circulate up and down, from your top to your bottom.
Up and down from your top to your spine. And you feel something that makes you almost want to smile, that makes you want to feel good, that makes you want to feel like you could embrace yourself.
So what’s it like to be me?
You can ask yourself, What’s it like to be me? You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself:
That’s where home is.
Pretty great, right?
This goes along with a dharma teaching I learned recently.
Asking “What’s it like to be you?” is another way of looking at “What’s going on right now in this moment?” and “What am I doing?” and “How do I feel?” It’s another way of anchoring ourselves in the present, living fully, being grateful for all experiences as they arise.
It comes down to the art of making friends with ourselves which is nothing if not a lifelong endeavor and adventure in self-acceptance and love.
Much gratitude to Buddha, Bill Murray and you, dear reader!
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Deviantart via Creative Commons