The Selfie and Self Realisation

We live in a time where many of us freeze-frame ourselves wherever we go. This is me at the Opera House, I’m now standing in front of the Taj Mahal, behind me is 100 mile beach, me eating a gluten free sandwich with Tibetan parsley, me with a coffee cup in the back streets of Kathmandu, me standing next to Jim Morrison’s grave smoking a doobie.  So many opportunities for us to place ourselves in sacred spaces and hide the view, we trivialise life and turn the magnificent into something about ‘us’.
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Feeding the Problem
I was walking down a trendy Melbourne street in my normal fashion of not being able to go forward in a straight line for more than two metres when I noticed a young mother with a child of about three or four years old. They were taking a selfie outside a shop, no big deal really, after the ‘shoot’ the mum showed the daughter the pic on her phone and the child smiled with natural excitement.  It’s normal to take photos of our kids, nice mementos for future dialogue when kids are older.  However it got me thinking.
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Who the Fudge Am I?
When we look at the human dilemma of ‘who am i?’ and all the other questions about the mystery of life, it would be reasonable to start to question how we arrive at conclusions of who we are.  For starters, at birth when the stork drops us off at the hospital, natural birth centre or cabbage patch, we arrive and immediately there’s a lot of hoohah about the new kid on the block, it’s a boy, it’s got too much hair, it’s beautiful, it looks like a monkey, it’s a Buddha, it wont stop crying, what do I do with this thing? omg I’ve got a baby.  This little person thing gradually gets defined by those around it as it moves along the arrow of time; from the very beginning the flow of external data writes to the subconscious memory bank and the kid learns who and what it is.
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I’m Not Just a Bunch of Banana Sundaes
I like to think  a little broader than the skin that holds all the bits in. For example I know the water running through my being has arrived from the outside, the clouds, the rain, glug glug down the hatch, what was once falling from the endless heavens is now in my being. The food that grew in Mother Earth transformed inside my body and is now reflected in the texture of my skin; the sun, the air, the whole of nature has allowed me to be here, wherever here may be, this body-being that I use as a vehicle to move through life’s experiences is not out on its own, it is part of a series of processes of living nature (not rocket science).
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Not Sure Who I Am
Many people in my family have changed their names, this has always amused me; I guess it was only fitting that my parents would give me a name at birth but never use it, they called me something else from day dot, I have never used the name on my birth certificate apart from when I’m startled into an ‘oh that’s me’ when it gets called at the doctors;  and then by a weird series of events I ended up with yet another name ‘Tilopa 2.0’ that I use now.  For me, I think this name change thing is not by chance, it has been a critical aspect on my journey of understanding the mysteries of life. It got me thinking ‘who the fudge am I? We humans love to name things, the concern with naming is as soon as something is named it is filed away in the memory banks, we humans assume we know lots of things but often we just know the names and very little information about things, it’s not until we enter into something that we really know it, the rest is just a story. We are a panel of experts who know about things that we have never experienced.
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Getting Out of the Way
Transformation comes about by undoing.  In education there is a filling up; and I am not knocking the gathering of information or the development of skills, I am a teacher and also love learning new things. The process of experiencing deeper Awareness works in reverse to education, a different set of rules applies; this is why academics and intellectuals have so much trouble with consciousness and out of the ordinary things, they don’t have a column in their database to include ‘other stuff’.  And this does not mean that a sharp intellect is a problem, personally I find it useful for analysis and discrimination; in my case a sharp intellect is extremely beneficial for me to compile the extraordinary into something that vaguely makes sense.  A bit like a cup full of sea water gives an example of the texture of the ocean, it won’t tell us much else but it hints that the salty water exists.
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A Montage Called Me
As we move through selfie-moments and stream them live in real-time to the social cyber-world, a chorus of onlookers joins in to the story of ‘who we believe ourselves to be’. That sentence may seem a little odd or over the top but when we come back to the core principles of Buddhism or Jnana Yoga  or knowledge of Self, (a simple definition of Self =something more expansive than the body and its environs) we know that Emptiness is at our core, as we move through life, in our thoughts we are defining who we are such as ‘i am a doctor, an idiot, a genius, i’m fat, ugly, a nice guy’, all sorts of labels.  When we look very very closely and give it a lot of thought, we see there is nothing solid that defines us apart from the body we drag through the 3D space of the world, the ‘me’ is constantly in motion, the molecules are churning, dancing in space.  It is space, the ‘field’ of creation that is consistent and also our ‘intention’ that projects into space. A selfie temporarily defines us, when we give them too much focus and stream them endlessly to the world, we are falling deeper into the abyss of  mis-identification and move further away from what we are.
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The Age of Not Me
The time we live in is an age of self-obsession and there needs to be a certain amount of awareness that we are ‘not what we imagine ourselves to be’, the image that we are creating and reinforcing plunges us further and further away from our core nature, the Emptiness.  This word Emptiness is not what it seems, it is living, it is at the heart of all creative potential, the blank canvas of life, the Silence that the Universe sits on or in and we need to get out of its way.

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Tilopa 2.0 on his balcony

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