Who am I? Why am I here?
The universal human questions and quest. They lurk beneath our thoughts, behaviors, and motivations, moving restlessly as they swim to the surface of our awareness.
Consciously and unconsciously, we seek answers through religion, science, philosophy, education, experience, each other. The inability to feel like we have the answer causes multitudes of reactions within.
For me, it’s feelings of shame, less than, inadequacy, and behaviors, like pretending that I do know or defending a viewpoint as a truth. We feel like we should know and that we have to have answers. Why is this? Where does this come from?
As I hiked through the mounting snow this morning, a thought plowed with me, “Know where your feet are.”
Literally, where are your feet? What are they making contact with right now? Are you there with them, or are you off in your mind somewhere looking for answers, validation, knowing, or, my mind’s favorite, planning how I am going to say this to someone else?
Every time I bring my mind back to where my feet are, I am experiencing me. The sensation of me. I am in the experience of “I am.”
There is so much I do not know: Who or what is God/Source/Creator or all the other names we give to “That which is greater than us?” What is this Universe about, or what is the full and true history of my species? What is our purpose on planet Earth?
Then there are the millions of smaller picture things I don’t know. So how is it that I think I must know who the “I” is that is experiencing all this?
Perhaps I am asking the wrong questions. Perhaps it is not about knowing at all, but experiencing this I Am-ness.
We have been taught to attach our value to knowing things, which then drives us to try and know, to feel valued. Underneath that is the fear that we might not have value if we don’t know. Look at the way we cling to our phones and technology, where we can pull up information with the touch of a finger and know something about anything. We get that little hit of dopamine that makes us feel good, reinforcing the belief that “knowing things gives us value.”
What if we have value simply because we are alive? How would that change things in our lives and the way we express and experience ourselves and each other?
What do we do with things we value? We take care of them. We value our homes, so we clean them, decorate them nicely, work on them, spend money on them, give them our attention, enjoy being in them, and share them with other people whom we also value.
These things we place value on—our homes, cars, pets, people, jobs—they come and go throughout our lives. Nothing is permanent here except for one thing: the home of our soul/spirit—our own body. That is the one thing we will have for the duration of this lifetime, through which we experience, process, hold, and discard every thing, moment, and breath, from the first to the last.
Do we place value on our one precious body? Where does this sole companion, home, vehicle, and support throughout our entire life rate on the list of what is most valuable and important? Do we take care of it? Spend time and money on it? Give it attention? Enjoy being in it?
All experiences come in through our body, then the mind processes these experiences and files them. Our senses and emotions—those richly unique gifts of the human experience—are the first receivers of all input and stimulus.
What if the knowing we are seeking is right here, embedded in these experiences we are able to have because of this vessel we call body?
Know where your feet are.
This simple message brings me into conscious connection with my body, my “self,” while simultaneously bringing me into the experience of this present moment.
Sitting cross-legged on my front porch tasting the tingle of snowflakes on my warm tongue. Feeling sad and happy at the same time, listening to my generator breathe life into my off-grid solar setup so I have power on a snowy day.
Why am I here?
Rami Shapiro says, “We sit down at many different banquet feasts of experiencing life, seeking answers to this question. And when we are handed the menu, we never get past it. We end up worshipping the menu instead of ever tasting the feast we came to have.”
The experience of I am.
The feeling of being here.
The richness of this one wild and precious life.
Are you with your feet right now? Are you valuing them?