our naked reflection in a stranger, the sky & the true self


Whatever ignites us to see again for the very first time,

this is the bluish flame that keeps the Earth

grinding to the sun.

….Mark Nepo

do we even know the layers of subterfuge within our defenses, our fears, our youthful holdings, our bewitching half-truths?….to be honest, clear and naked in our soul may be a euphemism for raw and real and neurotically human…..

Sometimes, the only way I know how to be is naked.

In order to be anything other than stripped, bare and exposed, we have to add a layer. It may be a layer of clothing, a filtering of thoughts before they leave our mouths, a hidden message in our words to protect the truth beneath them.

My problem is this: I am paralyzed with the unknowingness of how to represent what is inside of me with these various layers I must put on everyday.

It almost seems that the more intimately I get to know the world inside of me, the more removed I become from the world that is happening around me.

I struggle to carry on conversations with strangers because I have not yet discerned which words and what body language conveys that, “I am trying so hard to open up to the world, please believe me. It’s just that I’m still quite afraid of being misunderstood.”

I am always wary to try and define my beliefs, because they are in constant flux, and sometimes they are contradictory of one another—can I believe in angels but not in heaven?

So, instead of waking up each day and gearing up to go outside and face life, I sit with myself in nakedness.

There is an undeniable beauty and vulnerability in this naked state.

Still, my heart tells me that while sitting with ourselves is a wonderful thing in small doses, too much of it is no way to live a lifetime.

We do not spend all this time getting to know ourselves so we can die happy knowing who we are and that is all. We spend this time getting to know ourselves so we know how to better leave our mark on the world, how to connect with others in more meaningful ways, and how to embrace others in their own nakedness.

This leads me to believe that perhaps there are two, distinct stages to this whole “self-awareness” thing—okay, there are more like an infinite number of stages in the never-ending process to enlightenment, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll go with two.

First, there is the terrifying, all-too-revealing, largely lonesome stage of getting to know what this nakedness looks like, finding all of the secrets we’ve hidden from ourselves, and recognizing both their existence and how we feel about them.

Originally, I had it in my head that this self-awareness would equal self-love. But, that doesn’t really make sense.

Love for others doesn’t always, and probably shouldn’t, come to us immediately upon recognizing someone’s existence. That is more like passion, or a fleeting connection based on something that does not go beneath surface level. It may develop into something greater over time, with patience and cultivation, but a deep, unfailing love does not bloom overnight.

Why would it be any different for ourselves?

Once we start to recognize the parts of ourselves that we sit with in nakedness, that does not necessitate that love for these parts will follow.

It is in this stage that I am currently stuck. I am confronting my nakedness, I am becoming more and more aware of it with each new day, but I am not in love with it.

Falling in love with it is, I believe, the second step in the process.

I will simply let these parts of me show themselves for what they are, whatever they may be.

Maybe then they won’t need to be represented at all, by fabric or words or actions—they will simply be, and they will radiate through any layers added on top of them.

…..Emily Bartran

the 10,000 things

Maybe the reason there are dharma talks and books is just to encourage us to understand this simple teaching: all the wisdom about how we cause ourselves to suffer and all the wisdom about how joyful and vast and uncomplicated our minds are—these two things, the understanding of what we might call neurosis and the wisdom of unconditioned, unbiased truth—can only be found in our own experience……Pema Chodron

2 thoughts on “our naked reflection in a stranger, the sky & the true self

  1. I often refer to it as allowance or acceptance, but it is more – more than forgiveness and grace. It is the truth that pulls me back to my feet – it is love. Love for myself, and the place I start such that love spills to everything I touch. Naked? The best of me can’t be seen, but it can surely be felt. 🙂 My love to you this beautiful Friday. ~ Ever still, Bobbie

    • Yes, oh yes….I call it surrender. That space of allowing just for me. Leaving it all as it is. Love the mystery in your gracious allowing too Bobbie……

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