To get right to the point, Why are you here?
Let’s put our learned answers aside for a moment because I’m interested in your answer, not something you learned from a doctrine or a book or an authority figure.
And I’m not even that interested in your answer. I’m interested in your asking the question and sitting with that space in between the asking and the answering.
That space, that’s what I’m after. For you, for me, for all of us soul-seekers and truth-speakers.
A few weeks ago my teacher posed that question to a room full of yogis high on meditation and asana: Why are you here?
Tonight I ended up at this same question oddly enough through what I thought was a very innocent analysis of why Rich and Strong are so sought-after in our society. To put it another way, why Weak and Vulnerable are what we try to hide away from the world. Not what we try to deny – because deep within, in our most private of moments all of us surrender to weak and vulnerable. What is interesting to me is why we try to hide it away.
Here’s what I came up with (non-scientifically speaking):
If we reveal to the world that we are weak or vulnerable there are a few things we fear will happen:
We will get hurt.
We will be outcast and not accepted.
We will feel embarrassed.
We will look pitiful.
Wrap these up into one line and it sounds a lot like this: We will not be loved.
Follow me into this hypothetical world of We are not loved. What are our options then?
Some people avoid their reality.
Some people kill themselves.
Some people confront their reality.
Why do these drastic measures seem the only option in a world where we don’t feel loved? Because many of us would ask in that moment, Why am I here if I am not loved?
Feeling loved is powerful, healing, and vital to our thriving. But in our hypothetical world of not being loved we aren’t concerned with thriving.
We are concerned with surviving.
So the more important question in that moment seems to be not do we feel loved, but Do we love ourselves?
What I observe is that most of us don’t wrestle with these two questions – Do I love myself and Why am I here – until we have no other choice. Until life takes everything away from us that matters and strips us of every label, identity, and story we ever had.
Then all we’re left with is that question, why are we here, and the haunting echo of nothingness.
Our minds will give us answers, just as they do with the other powerful question – Who Am I? – but while the answer would be helpful, I believe the transformation happens in between the question and the answer, in the darkness. In the silence.
In the absence of knowing we bathe in pure being. The answer doesn’t matter and the question doesn’t matter. This matters. This being. This wholeness.
If we are lucky enough to get an answer, to learn our dharma, then we are both privileged and tasked with the obligation to live it.
Maybe that’s why we don’t ask the question in the first place until it’s the only thing we have left to hold onto. Maybe it’s why we cling to what we know and what other people think of us. Maybe it’s why we spend our lives trying to prove we’re strong enough, good enough, and just plain enough. Because if the world takes away its good impression of us what do we have left?
We have ourselves. And we have questions. Questions that have no answers. Darkness everywhere we turn until we look within. There we find the ember of being that is the only light that ever mattered.
Stoke that ember. Stoke it like your life depends on it.
Because it does.