The Tao of the “I”

Looking back, my conditioned perspective would often use the language of mindfulness, awareness, and insight, and yet when I look at all of that now there was never any explanation for what any of that means. All the “I” seemed to know is that other people accepted and acted as though they understood what the words meant. I could use terms like “ground of being” and get support and approval, yet no one actually had a clue as to what constituted “ground of being.”  I still have absolutely no idea of what that means.

One sticky point for me was the moment I realized and understood that I was not always operating in attention to the moments I am experiencing. I was seeking status and approval by manipulating and presenting information that would produce a positive response about the conditioned personality from others. I was acting to keep my social conditioning in the center of attention. The process was engaged by fabricating and pretending there was a better “I” somewhere in the future. The better “I” would rise if only I could “think” correctly and have the right “mind.” Whatever that meant.  

Culture and society said, “Do this to get along with the tribe, and so we did.” Some of it was useful for that purpose, some of it needs to be examined for worth as we evolve. Conditioned personality uses all those conditioned directives, should, would, could, needs to be, has to be, and that’s wrong, to continually evidence that the current you in presence needs to be someone  and somewhere else.

Each human is a song that is always evolving and never repeats. The universe exists, the human melody ensues and continues on, never repeating itself. The song exists, the variations on the melody exist, at any point in the song you recognize it as a song, and yet it’s never the same, just variations on a theme. There’s not a disconnected singularity for you to find. Living life revolves around paying attention to the moments  I attend and not some eternal search for an “I,” as though I’m on a search and rescue mission for myself.

If I were to find a permanent “me”, and cling to it, then I must have stopped time. I win! Except, I am the thread and evolution that travels through time that is aware of my changes as I travel. A traveling, highly inaccurate, recording and projecting being, that continues to change as it records and remains aware that it is a recording device. A lengthy evolving chain of “I’s” that travel in time.

The reality is you and I are amazing, right here and right now.

You and I are each one of a kind, a sui generis.

We are miracles exactly in these moments of attention.

(From the book, “A Human-Being” to be released by June 2021.)

Take care of you and all you love,

Bryan Wagner

7 thoughts on “The Tao of the “I”

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  1. This is such a thoughtful oberservation on the human condition and our social interactions Brian. Moving from an intellectual standpoint and mindset to a heartcentered emotional, felt response can be tricky when we are in groups, yes. It’s important to practice these responses in solitude so that when we are around others our instinct is to feel into instead of think into. I find all of these observations fascinating both internally on a personal level and intuitively what I pick up when surrounded by others. We are all magnificent and magical beings. Yes my friend, so lovely ❤🙏😊

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    1. Thank you. Gautama, at the end of his life was asked what was the most important things in practice. He said following the breath in mediation and Sangha. Other people show me who I am if I pay attention. Be well my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. After reading this my thought is; we seeking for ourselves, the so-called rediscovery of who we are in truth, that seeking though is with the mindset of finding a better version of us, ‘our true selves’, our ‘higher self’, leads us to such findings as your post. In seeking for better, we come to realize that we are good enough as we are.
    But many that do not begin this quest at all, remain looking forward to a better them in terms of wealth or life successes and sometimes never come to the awareness that they are enough in the moment.
    I like to think it’s all good and helpful to our journey and experiences. We, when we chase money, or chase spirituality, or peace, or love, or chasing nothing, it’s all well.
    ❤️✌🏿

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    1. Yes! My belief is nothing is wasted or a waste. It all combines to form the next movement. So, we learn even when we aren’t aware that we are learning. The quality of your life depends entirely on the focus of your attention is a powerful statement in my perspective. Take care of you this weekend. Smile and have some fun!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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