Who Are You?

May 23, 2007

While reading my May copy of Shambhala Sun I came across an article with an interview with Alice Walker. This is my favorite part of the interview. It really spoke to me because for some reason people want to know, “what are you? are you Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Buddhist?” I never know what to say because I don’t have a tag for it. When you tag yourself you limit yourself and I don’t want to do that. I want to continue to grow and to learn. I believe that is part of all of our journeys. Anyway here is the question and Alice’s answer:

You meditate, you read Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh, you have praised the work of Jack Kornfield, you go on retreats, and yet you say in the book that you’re not a Buddhist.

I’m not. The whole point of anything that is really, truly valuable to your soul, and to your own growth, is not to attach to a teacher, but rather to find out what the real deal is in the world itself. You become your own guide. The teachings can help you, but really, we’re all here with the opportunity to experience the reality of hereness. We all have that. I trust that.

For me, that is like shaking hands with a kindred spirit. I believe in a higher power and I believe we all have the capacity for greater things because we all make out destiny during every moment of every day. So who am I? I am just someone who wants to do what is right in this world, for myself, for my family and for all those who share this planet with me. I am a student AND a teacher. You know what? so are you.

This here picture was taken by the smallest digital camera I have ever seen. It is basically 1 1/2 inches square. I got it in my Christmas stocking and was cleaning my bedroom and found it. You can put the camera on your keychain and always have a camera at your disposal. The caveat… you have to take the pictures outdoors and preferably on a sunny day. Oh, well.

I leave you with another favorite quote from the article (if you are still with me, this one is fantabulous!):

You write that “heaven is a verb”. Can you use it in a sentence?

. . . . “heavening on the beach in sight of a six-pack.” Isn’t that good? [laughs] Are we there yet?

Okay, have a great day. Peace~ DAWN



  1. I love the quote! I believe in people first and foremost, before any idea of a higher power. Just me, my beliefs — I try to make a difference here and learn here because I think it’s important here and now — and that’s my focus. But I totally understand what she says there and what you say here (and respect it 100%)! not sure if that makes any sense! 🙂

  2. i love alice walker! great quotes.

    lately, i’m all about the “here”ness. i find a camera is great for making me pay attention to the here. (a keychain camera, how cool!) it’s like that saying, “keep your head where your feet are”–thinking of the little things, a flower, a chick getting its first feathers, a napping cat, a really pretty skein of yarn, an unusual stone or texture, noticing the phases of the moon…these things keep my head and my feet and my soul all together.

    and we all know i need some help keeping it all together…lol

  3. Somehow I missed a bunch of your posts in Bloglines–I’m glad I checked your actual blog today! Anyway, great post, I have the same problem–not only to people always want to know “what are you”–for awhile I found myself struggling with the idea of “what am I” and falling prey to the whole label system. I consider myself a spiritual person and hope to remain open enough to find truth everywhere–regardless of what religion. While I find a great deal in Buddhism and Taoism, I do incorporate a belief in a higher power that encompasses everyone and everything (which I actually think is quite close to the concept of Tao or the Way)–I believe in the divine residing in everything. I think that is exactly what the Buddha meant when he cautions not to put your trust in one man or one writing–but to look at things, if you find truth, take it and make it your own and move on. Anyway, just rambling on–my point being, I think it is necessary and freeing to take things out of the box, remove the labels–and just be.

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