Terminal 4, gate G6. I’ve been sitting at Changi Airport for two hours – curled up in a pink chair, bare feet on the soft blue carpet. I came here early so that I wouldn’t have to stress and instead could enjoy more than two hours of nothing. Of reading, observing people, thinking, and meditating. I’m reading a book by Eckhart Tolle – ‘A New Earth – Awakening to your Life’s Purpose’ – that, in less than 100 pages, has made me view the world and myself from a whole new perspective. He talks about the ego, our pain-body, the collective suffering, and the disease that inhabits the mind of humanity. He puts words to many thoughts I’ve had myself but never really reflected over. How it seems as if the human species is led by a destructive force that’s pulling us towards suffering. We watch movies that give us nightmares. We seek out gossip and drama. We murder and start wars. There’s something sick about human behavior and it seems to have been there since the very beginning. Tolle means that it’s our ego and unconsciousness, our detachment from the Now, that’s creating the suffering. We’re so disconnected from ourselves and reality that we’ve lost touch with what’s truly important in life: Awareness. What Tolle writes about the ego aligns with my own recent thoughts around finding myself; how can I be myself fully in a society built upon rules and expectations?
As I’m sitting here in my pink chair I notice how comfortable I feel. I don’t feel at all as if I’m in a foreign country, thousands of kilometers away from home. But why would I? This is my home. The earth I’m walking and the people I meet are my equals, my family. We’re all just reflections of each other, one world connected to one consciousness. What I call “home” is a mere creation by my ego that’s craving something to identify with and somewhere to belong. It feeds on approval and identification with form. But none of that is real. It’s not important. The only thing that matters is who I Am.
I took my first big step towards my true self or the killing of ‘fake-me’ when I was put on sick leave from my previous job. I was so abruptly cut off from the reality I thought was real that it led me to questioning my own deepest self. I realized that work and a fancy career isn’t the most important thing in life. What I had been identifying with my entire life was just something I’d made up to feel fake-happy and fake-fulfilled. No matter how hard I worked I would never feel satisfied, I always wanted more. So where the hell did that leave me? At first, this realization created an inner turmoil. I was detaching from who I’d previously identified with and was left with a frightening question: “Who am I?“.
As I was having a conversation with my dear roommate the other day, a satisfying answer to this question suddenly came to me; “I’m rather happily unaware of who I am than unhappily aware of who I am not”. It doesn’t matter where I’m currently located on this planet, as long as I’m in contact with my true self I will feel a genuine connection to all human beings, to the greater consciousness. Then I won’t need anything materialistic to feel happy or good about myself – because that’s all just a facade.
I think I’m slowly moving in the right direction. I’ve noticed that my belongings are starting to weigh me down and are holding me back rather than giving me joy. There’s a voice inside me that’s telling me to let go of all my attachments and be free. To explore what’s real in this life and go even deeper. But I’m scared. What will mom and dad think? What would my friends say? What happens when I “wake up” in a few years and realize that I don’t have anything? Ironic, huh? I just have to find a way to let go of these thoughts because I already know the answer in my heart. They’re really just my ego talking: “Don’t you dare to let go of these things, Elinor. What will I have left to identify with?”. But this isn’t just a phase. I can’t undo this realization and knowledge. I don’t want to go back to the hamster wheel. It will take hard work and I sometimes question if I’m willing to put in the time and energy that’s required, but I genuinely believe that there’s a deeper meaning to it all – there has to be – and I’m determined to find it.