What remains of “us” when we are stripped from all the stories we have been told?

A recent conversation led to how we are all a product of the “system”; like it or not, we are all indoctrinated from birth: we speak a language, wear a culture and believe (or not) on a certain religion because we were born in a particular place and time.

Even the “values” we hold so high may come from the stories we were told or witnessed: stories that inspired us or scared us, stories from books and songs, movies and toys, parents and teachers, neighbours and priests, friends and enemies.

Is what moves us to tears a reflection of our true identity? Or is our dreams? Is our cravings and yearnings? Or the things, ideas and people for whom we would sacrifice it all? Does it reside in our bodies or is floating somewhere else?

So when a friend told me she’s engaged in a journey to strip herself down from indoctrination, I asked: and what’s left?

“If you prefer smoke over fire
then get up now and leave.
For I do not intend to perfume
your mind’s clothing
with more sooty knowledge.

No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.

For God is in a mood
to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you
will be a tendency to shine.

So don’t just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
For this is no campfire song
to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.

Jump now into the space
between thoughts
and exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down.”


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