The spiritual path is actually delightfully simple. Just be nobody. There’s no one to be. Who is it that wants to be somebody? What does it mean to be somebody? Who defines all of that?
Past the obvious truth that you are you and you are a human being, there’s not a lot more that needs definition for daily living. You probably have noticed a theme on this blog about letting go. What are you letting go of? You’re letting go of everything that defines you as somebody. You’re letting go of acting as a victim, perpetrator, lover, hater, fool, wisdom-sharer, and everything else. In that letting go, there is a delightful freedom to be anyone. How beautiful is that?
No One Wants to Be Nobody
This subhead is a fun little double entendre (watch out, I can be full of them, so listen carefully). On the one hand, the ego is so committed to attaining an identity, title, persona, and so forth–it is so committed to being somebody–that the idea of being nobody makes no sense. It does not want this. It will come up with not only a laundry of reasons why it can’t do this, but also why it shouldn’t do this.
“Oh, I have bills to pay. I can’t forget who I am.”
What does paying your bills have to do with being someone? Sure. You do a job and make money. But that job title is not you. You can dispose of it. You don’t have to act like a classroom teacher in any specific way to teach children. You don’t have to act like some super smart scientist to do intelligent research work. You don’t have to carry those masks outside of those venues either. Being is already here. It is the background and the foreground, but it is covered up by identities and the exhaustive amount of work it takes for a person to act as somebody. Some people even try to avoid the somebody they’ve created. In this way, there are several ego identities at work. One ego is there trying to act one way, and then another is trying to avoid acting that way by doing something else. How tiring. Are you tired enough yet?
On the other hand, no one wants to be nobody because we are all already no one. We are no one at all. That is the truth. We are simply the ocean of consciousness. And in that space of being no one, we realize that we don’t want to be anyone. We actually enjoy being nobody. There’s an immense amount of freedom in it, so let’s talk a little more about that since I am sure that this idea is quite new.
Maintaining Daily Life as No One
The big issue the ego comes up with is that somehow you will be incapable of living your daily life if you are no one. The ego says, “But you need me to take the kids to practice?” To this I say, you are just listening to excuses. No one is not mindless. No one is actually mindful. In being mindful, you are much less likely to be overwhelmed by life and lost in the many ego games that you’ve created to act as somebody. When you aren’t trying to act as the Perfect Mother, Career Woman, Mrs. Fashionable, Ms. Never Wrong, and an assortment of other somebodies, it is much easier to remember that the kids have soccer practice, to remember to give them a light jacket because it may rain a little, and to remember that the usual practice spot has moved to some place else. The frenetic ego that is too busy trying to be several somebodies is much more likely to forget.
Furthermore, how many people find themselves lost in the daily grind of life? Whether it is the 9 to 5 grind (which is now much longer since people are always checking work emails after hours) or it is raising rambunctious kids, people are exhausted trying to make life go according to how they think it should go so that it fits with their ideas of themselves. Kids have their own plans much like co-workers, employees, and employers. So while the ego is exhausting itself every day to act out its many roles with many people and try to make them play along with its fantasies, no one is content to flow along and be nobody.
And you’re right to object (because I can hear the objections all the way over here) that some people in your life won’t like no one. They may even tell you that you’re a nobody, which you can consider to be a compliment in disguise. Your life may change radically because you’re no longer playing out your role as somebody and others no longer know how to fit you into their illusions. You’ve taken off the mask and costume, and they can’t tell who you are anymore. Consequently, you now can be anyone.
Anyone and Nobody Are More Powerful Than Somebody
When you are somebody, you have to stick to that. If you don’t, then others don’t like you because they’re committed to acting as a specific somebody and need you to play your role accordingly. Otherwise, the play falls apart. But of course, that is what I’m talking about. I’m talking about tearing apart the illusion of the play. I’ll tell you the truth: stepping out from that play is intoxicatingly wonderful. It’s intoxicatingly free, and it’s a drunkenness that is incomparable to any other state of awareness. You won’t want to go back. But many of you aren’t there yet. You like your role. You like the role of acting as Mrs. Perfect Mom, Captain Football, Star Performer, Miss Beautiful, Super Dad, Mr. Successful, and so forth. Additionally, many of you are also just as committed to your role acting as Victim, Lost Soul, Loser, Ugly Duckling, Old Maid, Angry Heathen, and so forth. There are so many roles out there that I can’t list them all, but they are all limiting. They limit your ability to be anyone and to live your life.
In being nobody, you can choose to be anybody. So you put on a new mask for awhile, but with a key difference: You know you are acting. This is essentially my definition of the true spiritual ego. The true spiritual ego is the ego we don to help us interpret the world around us, but we can take it off at any time. The old ego that tries to be somebody believes that he or she is as they act. Many will defend that sense of identity violently. But you–the you that is free and that was always free–understand that there is nothing to defend. In being nobody, you are simply acknowledging the truth–that you and everyone else is completely made up. Consequently, you can play any role you want and adapt to whatever life throws your way. In saying this, however, this space is naturally loving and intelligent, so it is unlikely to don the guise of the sadist dictator or murderer. These are not the ways of this space. Furthermore, from this space of being nobody, you can become incredibly powerful and persuasive to change social wrongs just as you can easily melt into spaces of receiving and letting others lead.
The Daily Practice of Being No One
Every morning, the ego starts it’s list of things to do, how to act, and so forth. So start each morning by noticing this function and pulling the plug. This doesn’t mean forgetting about stuff, and if you are naturally forgetful, this is what we have calendars, mobile phones, and whiteboards for. As you notice this habitual remembering, you can take back more and more power by letting go of these ideas. These ideas are limitations. If you are only supposed to be happy all the time, you limit your experience of life. You also will tend to create a very unhealthy shadow. Fear, anger, and sadness all arise in our lives, but in the space of being no one, we have no preference. We also have no reason to hold onto them. So they are like storm clouds in the sky. The rains will come, and then they will pass.
Additionally, I encourage you to notice when you feel like you need to create opinions and defend ideas. While the awakened state can create opinions and defend ideas, it does it from a completely different space. The ego does these things to defend its identity. The awakened space would do so to help or serve others. Keep in mind that many egos also try to co-opt that idea, but you will know the truth. You will know when you are truly helping to serve others and when you are doing it to make yourself feel good or to make yourself look like a savior, good person, hero, or something else. It is always in the how, and no one naturally does things from a space of love.
Being Nobody Means Being Love
Ultimately, nobody is love, and everybody is love. This is the space where paradoxes align. When you no longer have any rules for feeling love, love is what you are. The rules and the situations and the lovers are actually separating you from your own experience of love. Your love is so profound that even if a little of it got out, then it would radically change your whole world. This is part of why the ego fears it because love will destroy its world, and at the moment, many of you are still too committed to this current world and the miserable illusion of safety that it offers. Many of you are still committed to acting as somebody and living out a role that you think is safe and will make you happy. But the scraps and crumbs of happiness that fall from the ego’s table are few and far between, and many of the so-called happiest egos are actually starving.
So be nobody instead. It’s easy. It requires no work. The only work it truly requires is for you to let go of all the old unhealthy patterns and to release your resistance to it. In that space of nobody, you naturally are love, and you can choose any role in this world that your heart desires. Freedom for nobody or prison for somebody? It’s your choice. Let me know what you decide.