July 23, 2024

Inner Peace: Have you paused to consider who you are, really?

Inner Peace Edward Hirsch
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
July 1, 2023

Inquiring into why you are living this life may be a scary, sacred process

By Edward Hirsch

You are living your life, every day, right now. No one can really tell you how to do that or what to do with your life. No one has that right or that knowledge. But you might consider this: Who is really living your life? Is this something so sacred, private and intimate that it cannot be inquired into? Not by me, not by anyone else, but by you. In fact, just because it is so sacred, personal, and intimate, it deserves to be inquired into, to find out just what/who this really is. Wouldn’t you want to really know?

Wouldn’t that call for a stopping of your doing, just for the time being, to find out? Can you really “do” this inquiry? Who would be “doing” the inquiry anyway? If we say you can’t really “do” your life, or yourself, that you have to “be” it, you might simply say, “But I already am that, I already am myself!” And then that would be the end of it, without any further inquiry needed. And then you are simply back where you started; so then what is the point, right?

Maybe this: When you stop and make a space for inquiry, you come to the following realization: I do not really know why I’m living this life; I do not really know why I’m even alive; I do not really know who I am.

Is this scary? Might you go crazy, or get depressed? What if that sort of thought or feeling was actually freeing, liberating, if you could simply allow it? What if it could simply be recognized as something arising in this open space, and not something you had to “do” anything about? Just be curious, and just be open to what arises in this space. What is this space (that we call a “space”)? Are you opening to your being? Where is this? Is it in your heart? Is it a vastness in which you, and your heart, arise? What is your felt relationship to this, to your own being? Is it something you need to “do” anything about? What if you simply allowed it, let it be, let it reveal itself to you? What if you simply enjoyed it?

Does it draw you closer to itself, and if so, what does this feel like? Is it anything like a feeling of love? Does it feel like a receiving, a receiving of what is given freely, as by grace, the grace of being (Being)? Can you receive that deeply in your heart? Can you recognize this as your own being? Is that being, the nature of that being, anything separate or different from Being Itself, the nature of Being or Reality? Is your suchness anything separate from the Suchness of Being or Reality? And yet, you are you, in some way that you cannot define with words or grasp with the mind.

Is this something you can enjoy? Is it enjoyment itself? Can you let yourself enjoy this? And if there is anything in the way of that, can you simply let that be, let it arise, without having to “do” anything about it? Not having to fix it or judge it? Can you recognize that it is an “it,” or a process, a content of experience, and not defining who you are, simply not who you are? Can you simply be with whatever arises? Can you enjoy it? Love it? And in all these questions, all these inquiries, these noticings, can you recognize that the word “can” does not refer to a “doing” but more of an opening, an allowing, a willingness, an enjoyment, a presence?

Can you recognize that this is a precious process, a sacred process, one worth attending to? If you really attended to it, if you really allowed it, enjoyed it, entered into it, surrendered into it, how would this shift your priorities, your values, your sense of yourself, your life, life itself, reality itself? What practical impact might this have on your life?

Edward Hirsch, M.A. teaches about the Practice of Presence at OLLI and offers free weekly Zoom meetings in the teachings and practices of Presence, Saturdays 1-2:30 p.m., on a drop-in basis.

Want to contribute? Send 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Richard Carey (

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