Identifying with the self

What makes us who we are? How do we determine our personalities ? Does the self even exist ?

Identifying with the “self” is what determines our feelings and perceptions. If I identify with the concept of being a “husband” , and my wife leaves me, then I would feel distraught..   If I identify with the concept of being a “professional” -and somehow I lose my professional license , I would feel ashamed and sad.  If I identify with the idea of being an “American citizen” and a terrorist attach occurs in my country, I would feel anger and rebellious.  But only if I choose to identify myself with these entities.  But do these entities really exist ?

It’s like living a comic strip where the bubbles above our heads are our thoughts and perceptions which we believe to be true … and which we choose to identify with.  

I read a quote the other day that said:

“As soon as we are born, we are assigned a name , a nationality, a religion, a race , a sports team. We will spend the rest of our lives defending a false identity.”

This is so true.  We are given several identities , simply because we feel that we need to belong to a certain organization or group so that we don’t feel vulnerable .  We need to think that we are part of a whole so that we are not alone. So that we can distract ourselves from the inevitable destiny we call “death.” We decide to continue to live an illusion that keeps us in a dream like state and prevents us from experiencing confusion and chaos.

But we can’t escape it forever. We will eventually realize and accept the fact that our various identities ; our numerous fictitious entities that we desperately try to defend and justify, are meaningless and useless when we are facing our final days.

It bothers us when things end because  we don’t like to admit our mortality.  We feel  sad  when a vacation ends … We feel disappointed  when our favorite sport team loses.  We often experience sadness when a loved one moves away or decides not to be our friend anymore.  We rather want  the pleasurable experience to go on.  It is like going to the theatre and enjoying a movie even if it’s fictitious, and we don’t want the movie to end because that would mean exiting  the theatre and facing reality again.  We rather stay inside and continue to enjoy the fictitious movie. We prefer  to pretend to be immortal and prevent having to face the reality of our existence.

We prefer to stay inside the “womb” which keeps us warm and comfortable.

But the closer we get to our inevitable death, the more meaningless all the fictitious fabricated identities become.  And the more we are forced to accept our true identities.

Going back to the “bubbles” above our heads, which represents our thoughts, can illustrate how we live our lives. We mostly live inside our heads.  Inside our thoughts and perceptions. We rarely get out of our thoughts and face reality.  We don’t usually live in the present moment.

But we need to, if we want to live this life more fully.

And the question remains : what is outside of our heads? What is this so called “reality”? What would we be facing when we live in the present moment ?

Peace.  Serenity.   Freedom.  Acceptance.

I will continue on this topic at a later post .

Life lessons (so far)

In my forty two years of existence I have  learned to live one day at a time.  I have reached a moment of existential crisis where I have started to question the basic belief system I have taken for granted.  These are the lessons I have learned (so far) in this existence we call life:

Be yourself (without trying to please others )

Be compassionate

I came alone in this world so I’ll be leaving on my own as well

I don’t owe anybody anything

I dont own anything , not even the body I find myself in.

The self may not even exist or be real

Be patient

Technology is mostly a misused instrument

I don’t have to explain anything to anyone if I don’t want to

Religion is a hoax (So is politics )

Detaching myself from thoughts and beliefs  that trigger old feelings of fear and sadness is the key to peace and joy.

It’s basically all in me head.

We love life mostly by identifying with the fabricated ego.

We hate death mostly because it is the path to the unknown (and its inevitable)

Identifying with a false entity, either an upsetting memory of past event (abusive past), a particular ethnic group, a disease or illness, political view, a belief system, an organization, or a fashion (just to name a few)  is what determines most of our personality and attitude (ego)  and, therefore, our behaviors.

This false identify can be changed with practice.

I will keep you posted on any other lessons on life.. thanks for reading .  

Our Destiny

I wake up from a dream… or a comma. I am in a hospital bed. The room feels cold. There is a big window on my right. Sunlight is shinning and giving the room a peaceful atmosphere.
I noticed that the nurses and doctors around me look different… they don’t seem normal. I try to adjust my vision. Oh…wait! they are not even humans! They are actually machines. They look like humans. They move and walk like humans. I am scared! But at the same time I am curious. Another figure comes to the room. This one looks more real… more human.
“Hello… my name is Dr. Smith” she smiles. “How are you feeling?”
I stare at her… studying her face.
“Don’t worry, you are safe here.. ” the doctor assures. She looks young, maybe in her thirties. Long brown hair, and brown skin.
“Where am I..?” I ask puzzled, looking around at the standing machines that resemble humans.
“You are at the hospital…” answers the friendly doctor. “You suffered a car accident and went into a comma. ”
“For how long… I ask, not sure if I want to know the answer.
“Ten years…” answers the doctor with a more serious expression.
“You are kidding me… right?” I am petrified.
“We have been monitoring you all these years… and you finally came through.” answers the doctor. “We are excited that you recovered consciousness.!”
I look around again at the other standing figures. They look metallic, with wires coming in and out of their bodies. One of them has a flat screen, like a computer screen, for a head.
“These are our MAMMs... they are harmless…:” explains the doctor.
“MAMMs..?’ I ask.
Medical Assistant and Monitoring Machines … they help us with vital signs, transporting, and companionship,” the doctor continues to explain. “They are our latest technological advances in the medical field.
I notice that the doctor is wearing a strange looking headphone. He suddenly pulls a thin set of goggles from behind her head to her nose to see through them.
“Your blood pressure and sugar level look fine for now. We will continue to monitor them. You are feeling cold, though, so I will have the MAMMs adjust the room temperature. You also seem to be hungry, is that correct.?”
How did she know? I ask myself. The doctor then leaves the room and leaves me alone in my bed with these strange looking machines. They beep and have lights that flashes. One of them speaks.
“We will give you food in approximately ten minutes…” it sounded human. It was actually a nurse that appeared on the screen of one of the standing machines.
After the meal, I am escorted by one of the machines to the hospital patio on a power chair. The chair also seems to have its own “personality.” It has a small screen on one of the sides that continuously checks my pulse.  I finally breath fresh air.  It is a bright, crisp morning.
I look around and see both real people and MAMMs walking around. Some of the people are eating lunch at tables. Others are simply siting down. But they all are wearing the same kind of goggles that the doctor was wearing. They don’t seem to notice my presence. I don’t recognize any of them.  Some of them are talking, but they don’t seem to be talking to anyone.  They seem to be clueless of what is happening around them.

I finally leave the hospital premises and try to catch a taxi driver.  There are none in sight.  So I start walking. I don’t recall any of my family members.  So I don’t have a place to go.  There are people everywhere. And they are all wearing the same goggles.  There are some machines walking around as well.  Nobody talks or communicate to each other.  It is hard to even distinguish between the humans and the walking machines.  I decide to approach and ask one of the standing pedestrians about my location.

“Excuse me…!” the lady is startled.  She looks at me as if she is seeing a ghost. Then she looks away and continues to ignore me.  Her goggles are a metallic purplish color.

“Excuse me… may I ask you a question. Where is the nearest hotel?” I insist.

The lady looks at me puzzled. “Are you talking to me..?” she asks. She seems to be in her late forties, African American, professionally dressed. Her makeup is bright and excessive. She also seems to be uncomfortable with my presence.

“Well yes I am… can you tell me where is the nearest  hotel.?” I ask again, keeping my distance.

“Hold on!” she says with an attitude. She takes a real close look at me in amazement.  Then she looks away as if looking into space.  She puts her right hand to the side of her head, as if pressing her ear, and utters, “Nearest hotels…”  A few seconds pass, and then she looks back at me and says, “There are three hotels off of 3rd avenue down the road, about a couple of blocks away.  There are like five more on 5th avenue and two on Main street.” she points with her right index finger as she speaks.

“Thanks..” I respond. “How did you figure it out so quick?” I ask her.

“Well… my ‘Igles’, of course!,” answers the lady. She pronounced it, “eye-gls.”

Igles?…What is that?” I ask.

The lady laughs hysterically .  “Where have you been, young man?” asks the lady in a condescending tone of voice. “Have you been living in a cave or something ?” she asks cynically.

“I have been in a comma, ma’am..” I say.

She laughs again.  She does not believe me.  The lady then repeats again, “These are ‘Igles’.  Intelligent Goggles. Get it?” she continues her condescending tone of voice. “Any other questions..?” she asks.

“No …. thank you.”

She then walks away. I notice she puts her right hand on her ear, and  starts talking again, but there is no one around her. She begins a conversation… with nobody.  “You won’t believe who I just happen to meet on the street….!” I could hear her saying as she continues to walk away.

I look around me.  Everyone is doing the same thing.  Adults and children.   Even people driving in their cars are wearing the same goggles.  Did these goggles replace the cell phones?   I look up at some of the billboards that seem to be floating in the air next to the skyscrapers.  One of the billboards is advertising the next generation of communication technology: “I-lenses”.  Does that stand for “Intelligent lenses”?  They seem to be contact lenses that people can wear inside their eyes which can also be used to communicate with each other and browse the internet. There are other billboards announcing computer chips that can be inserted in people’s heads  to change their visions and hearing.

I ask myself: “What have we become…?” I am petrified.  I am lost.  People around me are browsing the internet, communicating to other people, using their goggles.  And there are advertising about moving this technology  further to the point of  interfering with our natural five senses! Nobody recognizes what is happening in front of them or around them.  They all seem to be living in their own world…..

Does this story seem unreal to you?  Just look around you.

 

A Day Without My Cellphone

Wow..! How liberating it is. 

I forgot my cell phone at home this morning.

First, I almost started having a panic attack.

But then I accepted the fact that I simply left it at home.

So I kept driving to work… not knowing who will try to call me.

But then it hit me.

I am truly free from the bond of having a cell phone!

Just like the good old days.

I don’t have to check my email…. Facebook…. text messages…

I don’t have to feel pressured to find out who might be trying to reach me.

Now I can focus more on the present moment.

I can concentrate more on the real world that surrounds me.

It is a beautiful experience.

I may leave my cell phone again in the future…. on purpose.

Wow!… How liberating it is.

Are you Sure?

I find it funny how messages and notices on computer screens, cell phones, and other electronic devices ask me if I am sure of the choice I have just made.  I understand that the main reason for these notices is to allow me to make corrections if I pressed a key unintentionally.  But I also think it can be redundant to ask me these “Are you sure” questions so many times. For instance, when shutting down my computer, it always asks “Are You Sure you want to shut down?” Cell phones ask “Are you sure you want to delete this contact?” and “Are you sure you want to download this application?”  My favorite one is when I am about to make a payment at a convenient store and the little machine where I swipe my credit card asks “Is this amount OK?”  I am tempted to press “No” because I can always say I prefer a lower amount to pay.  Also, at supermarkets the machine always asks “Do you want any cash back?” as if tempting me to withdraw some cash so that I can spend some more. It almost makes me feel as if I need to reconsider my options more.  It also makes me question my choices.  It almost promotes insecurity and uncertainty. Like right now, should I publish this post?  Am I sure about sharing this with my blogging visitors?  Now that I am asking myself…. I am not sure!

 

Unbelief

 There are many things we often take for granted that I stopped believing. For instance, I doubt we ever went to the moon. I don’t think we can rely on the government to help the poor.  I don’t believe the US is the world power anymore, or a Christian nation. I don’t believe anymore that God is up there in a distant heavenly place and punishes us with eternal hell. I don’t think we are alone in the universe. I don’t think sodas and fast food are safe to consume. I don’t believe time exists, or that history books can be trusted. Pyramids were probably not built by humans, neither were the recent crop circles.  I don’t think we will ever reach complete world peace, or that nations can ever unite. I don’t even believe everything we call reality is actually real, most of what we experience is an illusion.

What DO I still believe, you may ask??   Well, I still believe in the afterlife, and that ghosts or angels remain among us after the physical death.   I still believe that we can teach our children better how to have more peace, by emphasizing on communication, cooperation, and mercy.  I believe that we can help the poor by reaching out to our next door’s neighbor.  I believe we can improve our technology to help us unite more, rather than emphasizing on individualism and competition. I believe that here and today are the places and time to start thinking differently about the human race.

I am still learning and growing, keeping some beliefs, getting rid of some old assumptions, and having new beliefs.

Fakebook

fakebookFirst, let me apologize to all the Facebook fans and addicts out there.  What am I apologizing for?  Well, simply for what you are about to read.  I have been tempted to re-activate my Facebook account a few times, after canceling my account four months ago.  Some friends have asked me to go back.  The reason for my discontinuation of this ridiculous “social” website was the waste of time.  Up to this point, when I let people know I don’t have a facebook account anymore, they act surprised, because they simply  did not know.  And this actually proves my point.  My Facebook “friends” don’t even notice when I cancel this useless social website account, which tells me they have not really paid attention to my absence.  People “friend” so many people, that they lose track of who comes or goes.  I became addicted to Facebook when I started about two years ago.  But as months passed, I found myself going there to find useless information about people I really did not care about.  I started feeling like I would visit to just get out with the same feeling of emptiness. I did find some old friends, and learned a lot about their current lives, but when I really started analyzing this whole “facebook friends” deal, thinking outside the box, I realized that it really is a superficial, self-serving, and lazy way of “socializing with friends”.  It is truly a means to serve ourselves, not about communicating and bonding with people in a genuine relationship.  This is my position:  if people really want to know about me, they need to call me.  If they really want to see how I am doing, they need to visit me.  If I want to know about my friends, I will call or visit them also.  I will make the effort to go out in the community, physically, and commute.  At least send them a letter or text, with the intention of meeting. I am not a social person by nature, but if I were, I would make the attempt. As a matter of fact, I take it back.  I don’t apologize for what I am writing, because I don’t really think I am offending anyone, but simply stating my honest opinion about the detrimental website called Facebook.  You don’t have to “Like” this post or “friend” me.  But you are more than welcome to comment. 🙂  Goodbye, my friend.