Lama Marut (a.k.a. Brian K. Smith) is extensively trained in the spiritual traditions of India and Tibetan Buddhism. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion and taught for over two decades in the academic world, first at Columbia University and later at the University of California. He lived as a Buddhist monk for eight years and has served for the past fifteen years as a spiritual teacher to students around the world.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does being nobody mean to you? Can you share a personal story of a time you experienced being nobody? How can we develop the ability to vacate ourselves?
I am an introvert. I need time alone to "de-nerve" (calm nerves), think, organize, re-channel and recharge. This has to be for me to function in the world. Once in the world, I like to do great things in an invisible way. For me to hold "my charge" (and effectiveness) for longer periods, I have to do the work God has for me "unseen".
The second people start laying praise/acknowledging an effort made, I feel "bogged down" and want to tuck myself away again.
Joy comes from the Lord;)! His instruction and praise best perceived when I vacate myself. (Too much attention . . . not good for people.) Overinflating . . . Under inflating an ego is not of Christ. Somewhere in between, I believe God wants us.
Being a NOBOBY is very powerful as it saves the energy to maintain the SOMEBODY we think we are or want to be. We are, who we are and being our authentic self already makes us unique. The knowing that the big jigsaw puzzle is complete only with each one of us makes each one equally special.
When I was a child I felt I had no value and I felt considered as nobody. I withdrew trying to find my identity in my imagination and in my feelings. I also needed to understand my unsafe environment and at the same time defend myself against it. Because I felt not welcomed into the world, out of place, and unwanted I felt this overwhelming sense of this essential flaw. It was so deep I felt it could not be healed, causing me to wet the bed for thirty-nine years. (War creates bed wetting). This stinking self-awareness created lots of hostility and negative feelings toward myself. I withdrew more in search for myself and I felt this hopelessness was the current which I had to constantly swim against. At age fifty my emotional turbulence and emotional stress finally broke my body down to where my cells could no longer work properly.
Dragging my body around in exhaustion and no purpose once again felt like stepping into nothingness. It felt like I was walking off the edge of the world. This nothingness within my memory kept communicating, “Yea, nothing in the world with which I can identify with, nothing true or valuable in which I can believe in. There is nothing left to which I can attach myself. This is my end, my death.” In this nothingness I also realized the story I had been telling myself for a long time was my own fabrication.
Most of my previous years I worked with determination against my fear of nothingness and now it felt like I had only created this delusional mind of making my fears fulfilled and more consuming. My cells were not processing energy, especially in my heart. My brain felt crazy and the madman would attack, making my mental connections go haywire. From Alcoholics Anonymous, though, I new I had to let go of my mind being filled with terror. The best I could tell was I had to make a leap of faith from the known and the unknown. This leap of faith seemed like all I had to counter act the terror and the despair.
My nine years of letting go of my “nothingness” is now beginning to reveal itself as everything. My identity seems to be learning to center in Essence. There is more Divine awareness here rather than my projects and preoccupations of my ego personality. I still have a sense of my personal and individual awareness, yet it seems less important. There is even this new realization of my own value is without reference to anyone or anything. There is a sense this is realistic faith and becoming more of a direct experience of my identity as Essence.
So to me learning to “be nobody” has been learning to drop my particular image and ideas of myself. I cannot do anything to be myself. It seems, in fact, the more my ego activity slows down and rests the more I aware of Being itself is my origin of my true identity. Maybe I felt separate from everything and my nothingness became my own self-fulfilling prophecy, and this is only because I was using my ego mind to profoundly cut me off from the ground of Being. From this I am now learning to allow everything to arise and disappear into a state of profound stillness. There is even a certain peace here, like self-possession and self-surrender can let go so profoundly this creates mystical overtones.
This seems like a strange language, yet Essence is felt like the sun here and it does not seem to matter if I believe or not. Being is a felt and experienced, just as you are all communicating.
Being Nobody means BEING who we really are without putting pressure on ourselves to become something else. I have had moments where in serving others I lost myself in the moment and felt such joy and contentment in knowing that just by being me; the Heart of me, that was enough. That Being allowed the other person to open up and BE who they were too. It has happened often in Listening to and Sharing Stories from the heart. May be all have the moment to feel and BE Nobody and know it is enough. Hugs from my heart to yours!
Being nobody means being out of my ego and into my being, and since my being is an expression of Being, being nobody is simultaneously being into Being. Being nobody means being fully in the moment, in the present experience. Being nobody is totally non self-conscious, not trying to impress or trying to anything. An important time of being nobody is when being in (the state of) love. When in the state of love a person is beyond his or her mind and into Love/Unity/ Being which is much bigger than the person. I think the experience of being nobody and into Being can also be entered in deep meditation. I've had a few experiences of being nobody, forgetting myself, being free of personal identity. These experiences have been few and brief for me and have occurred when I was following my bliss, to use Joseph Campbell's phrase, be it bliss in being with self or being with another or being with an activity -- it always meant being in the moment. We can develop the ability to vacate ourselves by allowing opportunities to follow our bliss, let go of ambitions, and be in the present experience and process as it is happening.[Hide Full Comment]
Entertaining guests recently , I was able to "become nobody" by wanting our time together be all about them(serving them) & not me. It was liberating!
"Place your mind before the mirror of eternity; place your soul in the brightness of God's glory" [St. Clare of Assissi]
Nirvana is not the end of your light, but the invisibility of that small flame in the brightness of the full sun.
And, from a 3rd tradition: "It is only in being lived by the Tau that you are truly yourself" [Tau te Ching]
In 1955, I joined the Western Railway as an Apprentice Fireman ‘A’, to pursue my career as a Steam locomotive Driver.
The steam locomotive is the only motive Power in the world where it is required to create the energy and move the wheel. All other Motive Machines, whether, Electric, Petrol, Diesel, ATF, or Cryogenic driven, move at the push of a button. The Driver /Pilot look at the dashboard and ahead. In the roaring steam locomotive days of the 50’s, 90% of the time was spent in watching the fire bed, steam & water gauges, ensuring satisfactory energy output.
We started off as khalasis, and then moved up the scale. As Firemen, we interchange duties with the khalasis.I still remember heaving a huge amount of coal to the foot of the tender for the Leading Fireman to stoke the Iron Horse. Then, shielded by the mountain of coal in the chute, i would lie on the stack, with a large coal for my pillow, soot covered and sweat drenched, exhausted! I would glance up at the ethereal beauty of the dancing stars in the velvet sky. I would marvel at the Wisdom of the Creator, Who Could Effortlessly Keep the universes and galaxies on path, travelling at Mach speed. A Life time realization that 'God's In His Heaven, All's Right with the world!
For many years i struggled to understand this, but it brought me great peace when i realized the truth of Gita II.47:’you are only entitled to your duty, not the fruits thereof.’