Monday, November 12, 2012

What is that Original Face?

What I am thinking about this morning:
We act as if our true self was something unique to us, what makes us "special," whether by virtue of our special talents or sensibilities, or on account of the particular traumas we've suffered, or group we belong to. But our Original face is neither special or ordinary, happy or sad, white or black, male or female. What pairs do each of you put in place of Hui-neng's good or evil when dividing up the world?
The whole talk by Zen psychiatrist Barry Magid sets this in context.

Of course, we make great effort to maintain that face we put on the world; no accident that Facebook is called Facebook, though it could be called TheSelfIPresenttotheWorld.  But we are also at pains to define ourselves by all these terms.  Surely no one is more likely to think in polar opposites than someone like me who has bipolar disorder:  I am up or down, high or depressed, high-energy or lazy, creative or . . . you get the idea.

But I think undiagnosed people think the same way, though the terms may be different.  To some degree it's about what you want, whether you feel like you prefer to.  I have fibromyalgia, too, so I think sick or healthy, pain or happy . . . And there is weather:  good weather (see picture above from last week) or bad weather (what I don't enjoy).  But what is this that stands in the middle of all these words?  How can I make this clear space wider?


  1. After spending nearly 50 years proclaiming my uniqueness to the world, I finally wore this out when I realized ...I am you.
    Who is this, that is aware? No name, really and certainly this mug is not I don't see the need for Facebook.

    1. Sounds like we've been working the same old koan.