The Zen of Should

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? – Charles Bukowski

Dennis, the artist who has done all my tats, looked at me one day and said, seriously, “Have you read a guy named Charles Bukowski?

I started reading him and the above was one of the first things I read. I find the question not only intriguing as thought but also a bit practical for someone like me who’s trying to cut through conditioned personality and find out what’s underneath it. All I can remember is the world was very different before I learned that I was not acceptable as who I was and, if I studied hard and listened to authorities, I would someday be who I could and should be. Yikes.

What if I was already who I could and should be?

My Dharma friend Phil often says, we never think this reality is good enough. I view it this way, most humans don’t think they are good enough for reality so they try to become someone else.

Find a mirror and say this to yourself: You are a strong, capable, compassionate, caring, loving, curious, beautiful, and intelligent being. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

OK did you try that?

Congratulations for those that accepted that message. Years ago when I tried it I admit I didn’t believe a word I said. Somedays I still don’t. I have the attitude of “who are you kidding?” Truthfully it took a few weeks to even face myself in a mirror and repeat those words. Conditioning is amazingly locked in. We struggle so much to give ourselves the gift of who we are every second.

But things have changed. Because now I know an important secret. The message is absolutely true. The only thing that gets in the way is a small child’s message of not being good enough YET.

But that’s a lie. We are good enough to accept that message from ourselves. So, even if you don’t believe it yet, I think you know it’s true. So, make it real, repeat it, give it to others over and over. We are stronger than we think, and so much more than our parts, we are good enough to experience that ordinary miracle of a Human-Being.

Take care of you and all you love,

Bryan Wagner

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