Am I an enigma to myself?
Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile.
I remember clearly what my life was like until 10 years ago, the moment when I decided, for health reasons, to leave the work that was my professional career. Now that I have learned to pay attention to myself, I can deliberately look back to observe what that way of life was like. And it is not just about a guilty curiosity because it was not the same then as it is now; it is about learning, belatedly, from what I have experienced. But herein lies the problem: that life is an enigma to me because I know and remember the external aspects of my life but nothing about what I felt, thought or did at the moment of my perceptions.
I simply reacted.
I hardly knew anything about what I was really like. The memories of those years are like the photographs that we all keep: just external aspects of our lives. Nothing that really matters. I am not the way I dress, how I do my hair, how I speak or walk; I am not defined by my profession, my responsibilities at work, my house or my cars; and least of all by my wife or children.
I am not those things.
All of those things may be images that do not matter.
The life I feel is what defines my steps and my actions.
If those steps and actions do not fit with what I feel inside me, then they are just interpretations of the roles that I believe life entrusted to me. I act like an engineer or teacher or whatever because that is how tradition or the rules of coexistence say I should act. It is common for us to act in that way, because that is how we achieve success, money, prestige and the power that culture taught us to seek at all costs. But it is very likely that this does not make our lives agreeable. I sacrifice my life to achieve something in the future. Meanwhile I put up with things: I seek whatever I can to get through this difficult period of my life but I am an enigma to myself, since distraction requires a lot of external noise to stop us from listening to the internal call of an “I” that deep down does not feel satisfied and I PREFER to ignore it. I prefer not to know anything about myself. The call of life is intense and loving but the noise of culture is even more intense and deceptive. It is not easy to recognise the deception from which true love is born and how to really achieve states or harmony, coherence and peace of mind. Questions about these matters which sometimes arise in our lives are things to which we should pay attention in order to stop living as an enigma to ourselves.