Friday, February 29, 2008

What is a person?

What is a person? Person comes from the word "persona" - meaning "mask". But it also indicates a social role being played, an interaction with the world.

We see this every day - this "persona" changes according to who or what we are dealing with. This "persona" is like an actor, a character in a play, acting out according to the situation. When we say "I" or "ME", we're talking about this character. This is the true meaning of ego.

And we can change this "mask" - we present a different "mask" all the time, a different personality, temperament, even different facial expressions and body language. Isn't this truly a "mask." Isn't this truly the meaning of the "person"?

Hasn't this been true always? Hasn't this "person" you've taken yourself to be changed constantly over the years? Hasn't this "person" changed from a child to a teenager to an adult? Hasn't it played several roles in relationships, in careers?

Do you sometimes feel as if you are simply a character in a play? This "person" has a name, an appearance, a style, preferences, habits... and these are all relative - they depend on the circumstance, the "mood", the very environment this "person" finds itself in.

And doesn't this "persona" need to feel secure, need to feel needed, loved, wanted? Does this "persona" sometimes feel insecure, unsure of itself? Isn't this feeling of insecurity based on the fact that this very "persona" is always changing?

Maybe if this "person" were perfect, life would be great. But what does perfect mean? Isn't it also relative? So if this was achieved, how long until life is once again imperfect?

This shaky foundation, upon which your sense of self and identity is based, is false - is not really what you are, in essence. Throughout life, as this person, as this life has changed, there has been an unshakable foundation, an untouched Peace, an unconditional Love seeing it all happen.

But this foundation is missed in preference for the movement, the activity, the interesting (and sometimes dramatic) happenings of the life story, of this character, this "persona". This primary seeing/knowing awareness watches this "person" having a bad day, a good day, feeling insecure, feeling peaceful, feeling whatever.

The impermanent cannot be what you are, cannot be reality. Reality is the permanent in which the impermanent arises, the emptiness in which the form arises, the silence in which sounds arise, the nameless in which names arise, the no-thing in which all "things" arise. The attachment and pursuit of the impermanent always leads to suffering, for that which is held will always change, always leave, always be lost.

But the foundation is solid, unchanging - it is the very basis for all that is known, even the "persona".

Simply notice this silent witnessing which has always been the case, always been present. Notice that the "person" is only a changing image, a facade which is dependent on the circumstance, an idea which appears and is immediately known in this witnessing.

The "mask" doesn't need to be dropped - it only needs to be seen for what it is - a concept.

And maybe it will be seen that God is wearing the mask.

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