If we human beings are not meant to create and live out our individual lives as though we are characters in a story, then what are we? "Who or what am I" is the most profound of all questions. Why? Because there is no way that it can be answered in words. The I that asks the questions cannot be converted by thought into some objective answer that adequately represents Truth. Hence the non-answer "I simply Am" allows the mysterious nature of who we truly are to unfold without limitation.
The invisible, immeasurable, and intangible Life Energy, the source of all, that brings forth, constitutes, and permeates all existence defies definition. Every one of us is a unique manifestation of It in every moment. It is quite possible to experience self and others on a much deeper level, to fully inhabit each moment, enlivened and inspired by Life Energy. I Simply Am outlines a simple process of transcending insecurity by adopting a regular practice of body-centered inquiry and radical acceptance.
The “sense-a-book” format is intended to engage the reader more at a sensory and feeling level than cognitive. The book is rather short in order to give the reader plenty of opportunity to dwell on each page and sense what personal meaning arises in response.
In large part the past 25 years of my life has been a guided revelation of what brings men to life. On the one hand, my professional world as a physician specializing in Forensic Pathology exposed me to the world of unexpected and premature death, often from external violence, but much more frequently from suicide and substance abuse, despite the fact that my practice was located in one of the most desirable areas of California, the central coast. On the other hand, thanks to my wife at the time, I became involved in Breakthrough, a local community building workshop for men, based in the Monterey Peninsula area of California, first as a participant, and then as a volunteer, a role which is now central to my life since retirement from death investigation. Because the primary focus of Breakthrough is helping men recover from childhood conditioning and trauma, thereby reclaiming a sense of wholeness, I have become cognizant of the seeds of our suffering as well as what can be done to both reduce it and transcend it.
What does not work and, in fact, seems to aggravate suffering is looking for relief outside of ourselves -- some thing or some body that can make us feel comfortable or “more alive.” This is the root of a myriad of addictions as well as despair. Instead, boundless untapped resources for personal wellbeing lie inside each one of us, awaiting our curiosity, acceptance, and trust. One approach to looking inward is Focusing, a gentle, compassionate form of body-centered self inquiry, described by Eugene Gendlin and easily practiced alone, although more effective when performed in pairs or small groups as a peer counseling exercise. Focusing reveals and engages forms of implicit knowing that are not accessible through rational thought processes. As one learns how to welcome each “guest” that appears inside without favor or disfavor, there is offered something far beyond what is already known. Patiently being with and openly receiving each gift, moment to moment, from deep inside enables a fuller and deeper appreciation of what it means to be alive in human form.
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