To live is the …

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
– Oscar Wilde

We are beginning to understand just how much our brains are under our control. Recent advances in brain plasticity show us that we have the ability to re-wire and re-train our brains. We used to think we were stuck with what we were born with, but we’re not. We can make ourselves into something new, we can continue to grow and change our brain for our whole life. Old age is not what it used to be, it can be something quite different now. We can re-invigorate our  brain system and stay meaningful and adept for our whole lives. Life is changing.

With this new found understanding comes a greater revelation – we are more than our minds. Now this is not something new, all sorts of interesting people have been saying such things for thousands of years. But what is interesting now is that it is becoming a common thought. It is becoming normal to look at yourself as someone separate from your mind, as someone who can create their mind. We are starting to see that we have a whole lot more choice with who we can be and, vis a vis, we are starting to notice that we are there, making that choice.

But where is there? There seems to be a non-localised point. We are in our brain, we are in our body. We use our brain to think – but the more we consciously use it, the more we see that it is merely a muscle, a function. Our brain is vital, it keeps us alive, it keeps us connected to the world. We get to see and hear and communicate with our brain and body, we get to eat and run and make love, but we do this; and we are something else. We are something more.

Oscar Wilde knew this. He knew it then because he was different, he wasn’t ‘normal’ so he had to learn to think outside the square, and he got to see himself as more. Oscar Wilde got to watch himself think, and when you begin to watch yourself think, something shifts. This subtle shift is that you no longer live on autopilot, you no longer simply exist, because you begin to be in contact with the you that is living this life. This you is something more. It is something rare and indefinable and all yours. It is something to be felt and explored and known. It is precious and untouchable, and no-one can take it from you.

Nelson Mandela knew this sitting in his jail cell, Aung San Suu Kyi knew this while she gently walked towards a battalion of armed guards. They saw what we are beginning to see, that we are more than the sum of our physical being, that we are infused with something far more powerful that we have imagined. We are informed by this presence, in fact we are this presence.

This awareness of ourselves is part of our natural function as an evolving species, we are getting smarter; we are getting more aware, we are beginning to learn how to create our world. Oscar Wilde was right, even now, it is rare to live rather than merely exist. Yet even when it becomes commonplace it will still be rare, because the presence that is you, that is is rare and indefinable, will always be just that – rare. There is only ever one you.

by Holly Bridges.