Last night I attended a new meditation group for the first time, a 35min meditation (sit) followed but tea in silence then a circle of sharing prefaced by the question 'Who am I if I am not my personality?' A small shiny black speakers stone was passed hand to hand and we were encouraged in turn to sit for a moment reflect upon the question then speak from the heart, or not, then pass on the stone for the next person and so on...the stone did a full round of the room then the woman holding the circle gave a small discourse about suffering from a Buddhist perspective then the stone did another round of the circle, some closing words were offered and after three rings of the chime the evening closed. From the sharing and the silence I left feeling that something very profound had shifted in my perception.
As a creative practitioner and also as a meditator I have come to identify both with 'myself' the Beth I have come to know over my lifetime, a bubbly, chatty, quirky, quietly conservative, optimistic, creative, pondering to the point of depression woman and the unknown (not myself).
The not-myself feels: vast, still, borderless, universal, infinite, calm, genderless, profound, rock-solid yet permeable, neutral, a full-void (a nothingness that is something in its nothingness). It is this 'not myself' that I go to for my most reliable source of inspiration and if I remember to, solace and comfort at my most difficult times. As familiar as this territory was to me something shifted in me last night, I felt I had been given a 'ticket of permission' to step out of my personality more often. Today I am strongly aware that this can be a choice, I can be 'Beth' or 'the beth that is not beth'.
......Today I am not my personality.
(note on the illustration: this painting in tempera I did for a free card company when I was about 19, I found this postcard copy tacked inside my son's old caravan, I like that it's a bit shabby and cracked.)