Don’t identify yourself with anyone or anything. Just be a witness.
When you witness Life, you remain detached. When you identify with it, you encounter pain, suffering, agony and depression. When you are detached, you can peel off from one Life situation and experience to another. Recently, in my workshop, with managers of a company, the CEO critiqued, fairly aggressively, a well-researched but poorly-delivered presentation by a senior manager. The presenter, a manager with over 20 years of experience, was shattered. He had worked hard on his presentation__which explains why it was so well researched. He had put his heart into it. But when he finally came up in front of his company’s leadership team, he faltered with his delivery. The CEO, a perfectionist, critiqued and transparently told off the manager that he should value the time of the audience and make his points crisply, briefly. The manager in question took several weeks to come out of that moment. He asked me, why was it that he was unable to handle his CEO’s critique? The reason was simple: the manager imagined that he was the presentation style. He thought that the presentation was his identity from here on in his company.
This is not as abstract as it seems. We all have a bit of the manager in us. We identify ourselves with people, objects, situations and wallow in a cesspool of self-pity and bemoan our lack of self-worth! If someone dents your car, you grieve. Because you have come to identify yourself with the car. With an undented car you believe you are different than with a dented car! Someone calls you a jerk in a public place, and you react violently, because you have now identified with the title of a ‘jerk’. You lose someone you love. Indeed it is sad. But to imagine that you cannot live any longer and grieve, means you are identifying yourself with the physical embodiment of that someone. Life is like a movie. You go to watch a movie. You are just a witness. Someone loves, someone loses, someone dies, someone wins…three hours later (at least in Bollywood!)…you are back in your car. You probably hum a tune or recollect a dialogue from the movie. No attachment. You were just a witness.
Witness every moment of your Life as a witness. See pain, see love, see lust, see embarrassment, see shame, see jealously, see anger….see everything. See it very well. So that you can see through it. If the manager had seen through his CEO’s critique he would not have been attached to where the comments were made __ in front of everyone __ but would have allowed the message of improvement to reach him. If the lover, who loses her beloved, sees through the event of death, she would know that to be alive means to witness death from near or from far! When you see through the event of the title of ‘jerk’ being hurled at you__unmindful that it is a public place__you will notice that the person shouting at you is angry with something else and is just taking it out on you. Remember: you, me, we are not the car we drive, the job we keep, the position we hold, the spouse we have, the children we rear, the house we live in, the class we travel, the clothes we wear, the phones we use; we are not what we commonly identify with. We are transitory witnesses on a cosmic plane. We happen to be here on this planet currently. We know not where we will be next. But that’s not important. What’s important is that we are here and now __ a mere witness to our own Life and to Life around us!