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Who am I? December 2, 2010

Posted by ekarlpierson in 15) The Great Questions.
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WW: Your question regarding who you are brings to mind another angle that is one of my favorites, and this would be the time to discuss it. It’s the subject of the “great questions.” These are questions that have been asked by man, presumably for as long as man has been here, or at least as long as history records. People from every primitive tribe that modern man has discovered have asked these questions. People in every great society from Mesopotamia to current times have asked these questions. In some way or another, these questions may have been asked by virtually everyone on Earth. Strangely enough, if you take a class on philosophy at the university, the professor will probably take up these questions as if it somehow was related to high academia. For some reason they think that those people who spend a great deal of time contemplating these questions are deep thinkers or are somehow serving humanity.

One great question would be: Who am I? How many times have you in some way, possibly indirectly, asked this question? How any times have you heard other people ask this question? What would be a satisfactory answer? Can there be a satisfactory answer?

We can go back and look at our picture of man to get started on this question. Does anyone want to venture a guess about from where this question arises?

PARTICIPANT: From the trolls.

WW: Correct. We spend most of our lives deeply identified with the trolls, therefore giving us at least some sense of identity. Listen to the statements we make. “I am angry. I am kind. I am aggressive. I am a Catholic. I am a Democrat, a carpenter, a parent, a victim, a winner …” and the list goes on and on. We have identified with static names and ideologies. We still have a sense of nothingness on rare occasion, and instead of realizing that we may have stumbled upon truth, we struggle to obtain more identity. The identification process comes quite naturally to us because we’ve been lulled into complacency.

I get a real kick out of watching the phenomenon of teens in their efforts to become someone. During the teen years people often begin to alter their speech, behavior and appearance to seek out an identity. I’m not making an argument that an identity cannot be manufactured. Indeed, I argue conversely that our identities are manufactured! I would argue that our identities are illusions!

Lets look with a critical eye at a few of these identities. Did you ever notice when someone catches you off guard and asks, “Who are you,” that you may draw a blank for a few seconds while you look for an answer as to who you are? This may just be a prod from Delta trying to tell you that somethin’ here just ain’t right.  What do you answer when someone asks, “Who are you?” Look carefully and you will see that this is not an easy question to answer. I assert that it cannot be answered honestly at all.

Are you a carpenter? That isn’t who you are; it’s what you do for a living. What if you got fired one day and got a job the same day selling lumber? Were you a carpenter in the morning and a salesman in the afternoon?

I sometimes play a game on my horse on weekends. Does that make me a cowboy only on weekends or am I a cowboy all the time? I would argue that I’m not a cowboy at all; it’s just something I’ve done for recreation.

Suppose you take sides with some political party. Does that make you a Republican or a Socialist, or is that just a party with which you identify? Are you a parent or is that just a responsibility that you have taken on? Are you a fisherman or is that an outdoor sport in which you’ve been active?

What do you think would happen if you gave up all of these identities? Do you think you would dry up and blow away?

(Participant laughter, inaudible comments.)

It does sound a little ridiculous, but indeed we do keep many of our identities in an attempt to give us a sense of security. Where does this, our insecurity come from? We’ve struggled toward a long and unending string of ideals and a variety of fractured methods to achieve “success.” That so-called success is flighty and hard to grasp, and if we grasp it, greed takes hold and the so-called success is gone because our appetite for the ideal is insatiable. At the very best, it’s a temporal, fleeting success. Now we’re back again to a sense of insecurity that must be addressed. After all, we wouldn’t want to have a sense of nothingness would we? We want to be a somebody! We want to have substance! We need even more identity, more ideals, better methodology, and some new measure of success.

Do you see the difficult time we have with this question of Who am I? We end up with a not-so-merry-go-round of ideals, achievement, measurement, failure, and eventually blame and insecurity. We’ve made things get very complicated for ourselves by not reevaluating the values of self. As it turns out, the who has been completely manufactured by man, and is not at all an inherently functioning part of man. Do we see that this who stands in the way of any possibility of functioning according to our original spiritual design as long as we remain identified with it?

The self, the personality, has become huge, demanding. Its appetite is insatiable. It consumes huge amounts of energy. The awareness function has been essentially asleep, hypnotically entranced by the trolls that have convinced the self that they are the awareness function. Let’s put this a simpler way—very simple. The awareness function has become identified with ideologies and it follows that we ask the fraudulent question: Who am I? What’s my answer to that question? I am not a who.


PARTICIPANT: What am I supposed to do, give up myself? Do I really want to turn myself into a personality vacuum?

WW: A fair question. You don’t have to give up yourself if you don’t want to, but what are you afraid of? Do you think you’ll go into a coma? Do you think that your memory will be expunged? Do you think that you won’t be able to find your way home? Will you turn into a vegetable?

Look at what we are now. We’re a bunch of would-be time lords, trying to live in the past and future. We’re a bunch of zombies, living a life of rote. How much worse could it get than that?

PARTICIPANT: Rote? What’s rote?

WW: That’s a word my father used. You don’t hear it anymore. It means running on sheer mechanical habit—unmitigated conditioning. As my father used to say, “Going through the motions.” When I was a boy, he would check on my brothers and me to make sure we weren’t washing the dishes by rote—going through the motions of washing the dishes without really looking to see if they were clean. We put so much value on thinking, but it is often nothing more than recalling a collection of ideas that we learned by rote, having never gone deeper into them to see if they are valid. You could say that we go through the motions of thinking. Thinking is highly overrated.

ED: Oh, great! Now you want us to quit thinking!
(Participant laughter.)

WW: Not everyone Ed, just you.

Questions, comments? Let’s go into the next great question.


Why am I Here? December 2, 2010

Posted by ekarlpierson in 15) The Great Questions.
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Why am I here? Sounds innocuous enough, doesn’t it? What could possibly be wrong with asking such a question? It’s not the asking that gets us into trouble so much as answering it. If our answer was as simple as saying, “I don’t know,” we could just move on and be done with it. The trouble is, how could we possibly know such a thing?

Have you ever noticed how often a small child gets caught up in asking “why” when they have been told to do something? Do they really need to know why? Have you noticed that if you answer their question, it leads to another why question? I’m going to play a little question and answer game. I’ll ask a why question and then give myself an answer.

Q: Why am I here?
A: Because God has a need for you.
Q: Why does he have a need for me?
A: It’s all in his master plan.
Q: Why does he have a master plan?
A: So things can work out right.
Q: Why must things work out right?
A: Because God loves you.
Q: Why does God love me?
A: Because you’re his creation.
Q: Why did he create me?
A: To put you here.
Q: Why am I here?

None of these answers are satisfactory. It all leads to more why questions or they lead to a manufactured answer. In Western religion, the answer to the question “Why am I here?” has something to do with a moral test to see if our supposed ghost will drift up into the cosmos and go to the good place or the bad place. In Eastern religion, it has something to do with a moral test having to do with karma or reincarnation. In both cases, it’s a totally fabricated answer and it still leads to a long string of more why questions, each leading to more fabricated answers or more why questions. I’m not just picking on religion with this. Some believe that we were put here by aliens from some other planet. It still leads to an unending string of why questions and fabricated answers.

The poor believer, who asks this question out of insecurity, can never get to the end of this cycle. It’s really amazing to me that so many become so serious and so perplexed with this question. Why am I here? is not a serious question! The highest minds of academia, religion, psychology, and politics ponder and postulate over this question and for hell’s sake, it is not a serious question!

PARTICIPANT: What would you consider to be a serious question?

WW: When we get finished with the great questions, we can take a look at some different questions—questions that may come from a serious mind—questions that we may be able to find a legitimate answer to.

Where Did I Come From? and Where Am I Going? December 2, 2010

Posted by ekarlpierson in 15) The Great Questions.
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I’m going to go over these next two questions together because there is a certain amount of overlap on them: Where did I come from? and Where am I going?

Like the previous questions, the only way we can come up with answers to these is to fabricate the answers. That’s another way of saying that we’re going to come up with a belief. We’ve probably all heard of the strange beliefs that the Egyptians had regarding such matters. Over the course of history in Egypt, the pharaohs changed gods several times, but there was a common thread among their beliefs: The pharaohs saw themselves as gods or at least next to a god. They even had the loony idea that if they buried their treasures and servants near their gravesites, they’d be able to keep them in the afterlife.

I’m sure there are persons out there who would like to argue the point about the loony ideas, but they are just that, and I won’t give the Egyptians a break on the excuse that they were living in an ancient culture or had not yet evolved or some other rubbish excuse. The picture of man that we drew applied to them just as it does to us and they had the same opportunity that we do to wake up and become conscious beings.

There are cultures today that are still living in the Stone Age or Bronze Age, and they have common threads with other crude tribal cultures whose paths they have never crossed and that are on the other side of Earth. In every culture I know of, there has been a common thread in the beliefs that have developed. Those common threads have carried through to today’s technologically advanced societies, and today we’re still asking the same questions as did people in the crude quasi-societal cultures: Where did I come from? and Where am I going?

What do you think is going on that the ages and distance that separate cultures has made no difference in the questions that we ask?

PARTICIPANT: We still have the same mentality; the same picture of man.

WW: Correct. Now, what is it that drives the questions?

PARTICIPANT: Inability to accept the unknown.

WW: That’s a large part of it. Insecurity is a big part. A lifetime of so-called success and failure, along with disappointment and blame, has occurred as the natural result of methodology in pursuit of the goal. Disappointment and blame follow, and insecurity about our place in life boils out from that. Damned if we don’t struggle toward another ideal and start the entire process again. We experience little or no real grace, thankfulness. We resent our lot in life. We begin to seek out something with meaning. As is our way, we turn to the people we see as authorities, and guess what? They tell us that the great questions have value, and furthermore they have the answers to those questions! We seek meaning, but we get more tripe. My mother had a saying about such things: “They are jumping from the frying pan into the fire.” Our insecurity-based questions, which are not real questions at all, lead us to more fragmented questions and answers.

PARTICIPANT: You said, “methodology in pursuit of the goal.” Can you run that by me again?

WW: Forgive me if I’ve not made my words clear. I’ve been over this so many times that it seems clear to me, but it may not be clear to others. The idea of being non-disturbed is a goal, is it not? We use the word “goal” as if it always has some lofty meaning. When I said that methodology is in pursuit of the goal, it was just a different words for the same subject; trolls chasing the ideal. I don’t want this to get too boring.

PARTICIPANT: But we need to have goals or we wouldn’t do anything.

WW: Okay, goals. If I want to paint a wall, I have a fairly close idea of the amount of work involved. I can make a fair estimate on when I’ll be done with the job. I usually plan on having some resistance or unforeseen event get in my way. Why make it into a goal? How quickly I get the job done depends on how hard I work, not on my goal.

I’ve had a couple of work supervisors who were very goal-oriented. I found that I produced the same amount of work with or without goals. The only difference I could see was the amount of mental stress. I paid attention to the goal-oriented guys I worked with and it looked to me that they we’re making excessive mistakes because they were not living in the moment. Their mind was on their goal. They were living in the wrong time zone. Their workplace was a place of misery. Even if we forget about the spiritual benefits of leaving goals behind, it has a pragmatic value.

There’s something interesting about people who think that making goals is the answer. Have you ever noticed that they aren’t satisfied to make goals for themselves? They like to make goals for people who are around them. This is particularly true when they’re in some type of leadership position.

We got off the track a little, but I think we’ve covered the great questions.

PARTICIPANT: So, you have replacement questions?

WW: Well …more like alternate questions.