Saturday, May 28, 2011

Who's the Doer?

Just Asking

This is the second of a series on making friends (!)
with the snarky voice that demands to know

"Who Do You Think You Are?"
when you're reaching for a larger scope in your work and life.

(You can read the first article HERE.)

The Doer Image

The idea of being the Doer is built in
to a WhoDoYouThinkYouAre? snark attack.

I can't doubt my capacity or worthiness
to pull off some audacious plan
without already believing that I'm the one
who's going to do it (or be unable to).

If I imagine myself doing it badly:
shame on me--I get a worsened self-image.
If I think I did well: Gold star! Better self-idea.

That's the carrot/stick deal I've signed up for.

Either way, I get to identify more strongly
as a mental evaluation, a self-image

of being the one little ego-me who did it
(or didn't) all by myself.


"The feeling "I work" is the hindrance.
Ask yourself, "Who works?"
Remember who you are.
Then the work will not bind you,
it will go on automatically."

--Ramana Maharhsi

Detail from fabric portrait of Ramana Maharshi by Jude Spacks


No One Here

Have you experienced times of working at peak capacity
when you became one with the work itself
which went on automatically?

In the heat of creative inspiration we're
so present and enlivened,
so absorbed in the unbounded work,
that we lose the effortful habit of thinking-who-we-are.

There's no little-ego-me idea right then
busy taking credit or blame for the doing
which is simply happening in the moment.

Times like that, you feel complete,
like you're moving from your truest self.
And yet right then, there's no story of who that self is.

Only an open channel for the mysterious
gift of the work to flow through.

Later, a self-image might return,
along with the familiar human notion
of claiming and evaluating the doing.

But while there's no idea of the Doer,
we are that unnamable Mystery
where inspiration originates.

Then no self-idea separates us from
being and acting as universal genius
creating through our particular life-form.

"The most beautiful thing 

we can experience
is the mysterious.

It is the source of all true art and science."

--Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, pictured in 1953.
Photograph: Ruth Orkin/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Fear of Space

as much as we may long to experience
that mysterious, alive, undefined, creative spaciousness,

still, we so often clutch for a role to inhabit instead--

squeezing ourselves into an identity

which we can then compare with

who we imagine others to be.

We think our shifting theater of identifications

will help us gain a sense of control and power,
or the comfort (even the discomfort)

of the known and familiar.

So we struggle to improve these self-images

to manipulate ourselves into feeling better.

This can be so habitual that
we don't realize how stressful it is.

We don't even notice that

we've tricked ourselves into believing
we are the mask we're wearing.

Miz Goody Two

No Big Deal

The work which goes on automatically
coming from no idea of Doership
may be very ordinary.

As ordinary as the work of rain
or sunlight, as sure as a leaf unfurling.

What just moved your eyes along this line of type?
Did 'you' do that? How utterly brilliant!

The endless showering of gifts from Mystery
goes on even when we're very confused,
craving more validation and approval
from other people for what we did.

Miss Understood

The Restlessness of Doership

As long as we're ego-identified as the Doer
we have to keep doing, doing our own selves,
prodding and renovating without rest.

It's fine to make self-improvements. Why not?
But can you find a peace, an at-homeness,
that's already here before you do
anything to tidy up the place?


You might think,'Now I am going to meditate
so I can experience pure peace.'

But who said that pure peace
should be the next thing you experience?
Do you see the arrogance in this kind of thinking?

You will find yourself interfering,
manipulating yourself, splitting yourself.

Since we know this is going to happen,
we practice with it.
We see it, we let it be
and we don't do anything to it.

If you don't do anything, you might begin

to feel kindness in response to
suffering involved in the meddling.

--A.H. Almaas, edited from The Unfolding Now


Just for a moment: Don't do anything

My snarky WhoDoYouThinkYouAre? voice
calls me out for arrogance.

It's got a point.

(But not because I shouldn't aspire to big
audacious doings that it fears are beyond my scope.
If those aspirations are here, who am I to deny them?)

When I'm believing who I am
is an anxious imaginary Doer
who has to single-handedly manage everything just right
so as to earn an adequate self-concept--
I have lost touch with an essential humility.

Humility grounds me in the reality that:
I don't have to know what I don't know,
I don't have to do what I can't do (of my own little ego-self),
In fact, I don't have to do anything.

And I don't have to pretend to be defined by any image.

What could be kinder than to remind me of that?


"Humility is the celebration
of my God-given excellence"
--Bitsa Turner