If I am in an egg, I would not even know that I am in the egg. There is no possibility for me to know that there is a shell covering me from reaching out. I will live a mediocre life that is just like what I am now – ignorant to the fact that there is something beyond where I am. The question of what is beyond life never strikes me and thus I live as if this life is simply a brief passing moment. Who on earth would have thought that there is such a thing as “beyond me“? I know there is death – because I see this happening to others. And I never question that I may escape death. To me, death is the end of me and that will happen in the future. Since I can’t determine the future, I just keep living each day, without questioning why the need to live. Probably I am not even living, but surviving – trying to make ends meet. That too I don’t questioned – for I thought that is the norm of life.
I see life in linear, having to keep trodding, arriving at the end, but not knowing when. It never came to mind that there is something beyond me – not after death – but beyond who I am at this moment. I am who I am – that is what I think I am. I am stuck in my own thinking, taking for granted that it is me that is doing the thinking. It is like the story of a king who wish to know what views the citizens are having about him – the only way to find out himself is to go out to the street, in disguise as a beggar. Just when he steps into the street, he was mugged and severely beaten to the extend that he lost his memory. From then onwards, he thought he is a beggar. One day a minister recognize him and brought him back to the palace. But he quickly insist he is a beggar, not the king. No one knows what to do until a wise man came along.
“Who are you?”, asked the wise man. “I am a beggar” the king answered. “No, you are not a beggar. Neither are you a king. You are you.” That statement woke the king up from his thought – thinking himself is a beggar. That awareness propels him out from the dream.
I have role plays in this life – a husband, a teacher, a writer, a designer, a photographer, a tenant – but they are simply role play. It is interesting to note the “play” comes after the word “role”. I am not that but simply playing the game of a role. If I am totally engrossed in the role I may forget who I truly am – just like the king. I will live a life according to the role, suffocated by the rules and regulation of that role. Each role has its own conditioning and I have to adhere to it, according to how society wants.
What if the “I am” is also a role play on earth here? I am playing the role of a human game – and that too has its own rules – to be in the dream. Is there a possibility that I have forgotten who I am and instead took on the role play of “I am” in this life? Am I in a deep dream, dreaming myself in this life? Or am I in this life, dreaming about who I am?
Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.