Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who Are You When the Music Stops?

I love my IPOD. It’s a pocket sized miracle. It carries a lot of music, and it also carries a lot of me in it. I have a workout play list; Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Sick Puppies, Bush…it’s all there. The first time I worked out with my IPOD, I was lifting heavier weights, doing more reps and feeling stronger after the workout. The difference was amazing. I call this play list “Testosterian.”

Then there’s my meditation play list. It has Sheila Chandra, Gregorian Chants, and various other sounds on it. It takes me into a deep peace and I especially like to listen to this one while hanging upside down on my inversion table. I call this play list “Euphorian.”

I’ve also got a compassion play list. It has James Blunt and other tear jerking music on it. I listen to it when I feel weary or overwhelmed. I call this play list “Melancholian.”

Me, myself and IPOD. It was kind of Apple to include the “I” in IPOD for Ian. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I discovered the shuffle command. Merging all these different play lists creates a smorgasbord of musical surprises.

So one day my various play lists had a battle of the selves. I was on an airplane and hit the shuffle key. First, one of my testosterian songs played. I didn’t know what to do with all the energy. I started edging my arm across the armrest. No one messes with testosterian. Then just as suddenly, that song ended and James Blunt began. My arms melted to my sides and I began quietly weeping in my seat. “Goodbye my lover!” Melancholian took over. Before I could wipe the tears from my face, Sheila Chandra started crooning in my ear and I could have sworn I had died and gone to bliss heaven. Euphorian took over.

This musical ego shuffle went on for some time before I even realized how insane I had become.
I had so identified with each persona that I had forgotten how fickle and changing they are. I felt like Tara battling with Buck and T in The United States of Tara television series about multiple personalities.(Awesome show!) Luckily no one was hurt on my little flight with Air Ian.

There is nothing wrong with play lists, personas are important and it’s even healthy to shuffle them up from time to time and keep things interesting. But the truth is that people do get hurt when we fixate mindlessly on personas and identities. The need to defend these separate selves becomes a life and death struggle, and is behind so much relationship conflict, world wars and religious rivalry. Maybe next time I should fly United.

Enough! Life is too short for petty rivalries, whether internal or external. Sit back, enjoy the music, and relish the peace of knowing at your essence that you are intimately related to all others.

Here are two affirmations to remind yourself who you are, and the peace that transcends all play lists.

Seed of Essence

Who are you? I didn’t ask you what you do for a living, or whether you are a parent, or even whether you consider yourself a good person. Who are you beyond all of the time bound roles and personas? Who are you when the lights of society’s expectations are dimmed and you can be authentic and natural in your own skin? Take time today to leave it all behind and be still with your Self.

Say to yourself:
I am becoming more of who I essentially am.
I am becoming more of who I am.
I am becoming.
I am.

Seed of Peace

Don't depend on a particular persona for security. Your "self" is a moving target. The self who stopped traffic with youthful good looks is fading. The self who beguiled the world with middle aged charm may soon be gone. The self who dazzles the world with senior wisdom is a fleeting visitor. These versions of the self, important as they are, change constantly and are not a reliable measure of who you are. Your essence is a peace-full heart.

Say to yourself: I am what I am for now. My peace comes from within, even while all else changes around me

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