Growing up, It was a standing commentary in my family about how many people I knew. “No matter where he goes, he runs into someone he knows”, my mother would say. Also, I had the reputation of being a tease, and in my mother’s words, “a big tease”.
I consider this description to be fairly accurate, but it is also remarkable that it did not register any importance to me until the last five years or so. Isn’t it odd, I thought, that I have been a mystery to myself until five years ago.
I’ve searched for answers as to why this would be the case, and have come up with two possibilities. One, it’s a human trait to be a mystery to yourself. Two, I have been out in front of myself most of my life. I think both answers are accurate, but the second one is more interesting to me at this point in my life.
I had a blind eye about myself, because I was a person who pushed ahead to achieve some level of outward success. The good part of that is I “pushed ahead”. The less good part is wanting to “achieve some level of outward success”.
For me now, success, for the sake of success, was a road I traveled where there was no end point. To get off that road, I had to stop and ask myself, when is enough enough?
There are good reasons why I was driven to convince myself I was successful, but those are of secondary importance to understanding that doing something for the sake of doing it is enslavement. It’s not until I got far enough along in age when I felt like my journey down the success road was more like walking down that road was more like being on a chain gang.
Why I felt this way is important, but waking up and deciding to unshackle myself is more important. When you free yourself and get off that road, what’s off the road? Everything. Weeds, sirens, smog, dishes to wash, dogs barking, etc.
It was like I woke up all of the sudden and realized this is all there is, and I’m here right now experiencing it. I swore off getting ahead of myself.
To me, what was past was past, and what’s the future is an illusion, but what’s real is right now. Not just right now, but the very MOMENT of right now. The very moment I’m in IS the only IS that there IS.
Back to my mother. She said that no matter where I went, I knew someone. That may have shed some insight about my personality, but, really, do I know someone every place I have ever gone to my entire life? No. Once, I landed in New York City in 1964, on my way to Argentina, and did not meet a single person I knew.
Have I always teased and kidded around? Almost, but not ALWAYS. When I was a management consultant dong work at Security Pacific Corporation ( now Bank of America) there was no teasing or kidding around, at least not that I can remember, or where I felt relaxed enough to tease in any brotherly manner ( ok, once that I can remember).
In other words, the only thing you can be sure of is yourself at the moment you take a breath. Everything else is imprecise or only a possibility, sometimes even close to probable, but not perfectly knowable.
So I end up asking myself, am I a mystery to myself?
With reference to my past, if observations about myself are at best only somewhat true, but definitely not absolutely true; and if any future reckoning of myself is only a statistical possibility; and if what I experience at this moment is what I know for sure about myself, then no, I am not a mystery to myself, as long as I recognize myself at this very moment.
In other words, unless I am aware of myself in the present moment, all else is merely words inhabiting the world of imprecision.
Is it good enough to only experience yourself in the very moment you are experiencing yourself? Yes, It’s better than trying to figure out who you were in the past, and to speculate about who you will be in the future. There is no mystery in being in the moment, none.