Sunday, April 12, 2015

Enlightenment by Selfie

This doodle asks a simple question but as inquiries go, I've done enough of them to know that it's always the simpler ones that rock my paradigm the most.  They have a habit of helping to reveal that in the world of the mundane, there are some really very extraordinary mysteries.  Forget about the Secrets of the pyramids, to find a real mind bender, apparently, all I need to do is to look in a mirror.

Let's start.  I hold a mirror.  I look.  After a few seconds of reflexively thinking that there's a me here and an image 'there' that represents the me here, I pause, breathe, and go back to the basic rules of inquiry.

Do it like a child.

Ok, fine.  I'm going to do this one like a toddler.

So what's going on?  Well there's a feeling that is recognized to be a 'me' and a feeling recognized to be 'here' becomes a mashup of me/here.  It's just a feeling, though. When I look for an image of a me here where the feeling is, I come up empty.  Nada.  The feeling itself is actually floating in empty space and has no precise location.  To look for it, I have to imagine my body, then try to further imagine the place in that body where the feeling exists.  I give it a minute and find that I think it's sort of in the head and heart.  I realize that this is a complete guess because I can't touch the feeling at all. I begin to notice that the more I try to zero in on this feeling and location, the more vague things become.  It's a little LOT disconcerting to notice that I'm now using words like


This self has been here for years . For something that feels so real and true, why do I need to use such weak-kneed terms?!

Time to look in the mirror, because that's where I can find something solid and real which is measurable.  Besides, I know I can be sure of finding it.  But Ugh.... here it comes....  doubt.  Why do I need to look at something outside of this right-here/right-now feeling of a self in order to find myself?  This doesn't make sense.  The image is "out there" and yet it's the only thing I have ever recognized as me.

What in the world?  

Don't get me started about selfies.   They now make even less sense than ever, and I want to deconstruct it. Here goes the selfie...

There's a feeling here
Close to the feeling, there's an image of a hand and camera
The feeling faces a mirror, and the hand, together with camera, takes a photo of 'over there'
The 'over there' is suddenly the same as 'right here'
The hand flips the phone and sees the image 'in there' of 'over there' which represents 'right here'.

Ack!!  Ms. Lill, you have done me in.

Working Questions for Your Own Inquiry

Questions for Investigation:

Are you "here" or is it more accurate to say that you are "there", in the mirror? Are you somewhere in between the two, or are you in both places at once? Where is the space in which the You exists?

Tools for Ongoing Inquiry:

Notice images of "you" in different mirrors. What space does the You occupy in those moments? Why does it feel as though the space occupied is different from where the image is found? What evidence doyou have to support the idea that there is a 'me' here, and a 'me' there?


  1. I enjoyed reading this! :)
    I can't help asking if you have already come across the work of Douglas Harding? It seems very much so... if not (but I'd be surprised) here it is:

    1. Hi Sebastian, I am familiar with Douglas Harding and love doing his exercises. I go back to them time and again. Thank you for the reminder because it's about time I made another visit. :)