When I was growing up in Newark in the 40s the “race-cards” were constantly being thrown around.
Being a little Jewish kid I was subjected to being called a “Kike”, a “Jew bagel”, a “Heeb”, and a “Sheeny”.
The Italians were the “Wops”, the Dagos, and the Ginnies”.
The Irish were the “Micks”
The Germans were the “Krauts”.
The non-Jews were the “Goys”.
Non-Jewish girls were “Shicksas” and the non-Jewish men were a “Shagatz”.
The African Americans were the “n” word, “Jigaboos”, “Colored”, “Coons”, or “Tar Babies” and “Aunt Jamimas.”
This was my life in the East Coast. And if some label was in the territory of a different label you got your ass kicked.
Somehow surviving this growing up nightmare I found myself living in Hawaii in 1975.
What I found there were the “Haoles” (whites), the “Nips” (Japanese), the “Kimchies” (Korean), the “Portagees” (Portuguese), the “Bookbooks” and the “Flips” (Filipino), and the “Pakeys” (Chinese).
Then somehow I got involved in spiritual life and a very clear understanding came my way. All these derogatory labels were manifested by ignorance. The analogy I received was a mind blower.
The analogy was relating the body to a motor vehicle.
A motor vehicle comes in different shapes, sizes, labels, colors and accessories. Likewise, does the body.
I was then asked what the similarity was to a parked car and a dead body? Because, after all, in the parked car everything is still there as in the dead body. One has all the accessories, etc, and the other has all the organs, blood, and parts.
What was missing in both examples was the driver.
When the driver leaves the car it just sits there until the driver gets back in. When the driver leaves the body, the body is dead.
It was at this point that I learned that the body was material and temporary but the driver was spiritual and eternal and instead of being known as the “driver”, it was, in reality, the soul.
A huge door full of questions opened up at this point. Why does a soul come into a body and where does it go when it leaves a body? If the soul equates to life does that mean all living beings have a soul? Is the soul in a human being guaranteed another human form next time around and if it isn’t, why? Where do the souls in the forms below the human forms go when they leave those forms and what determines why and where they go?
This door that was opening before me was the door of identity or essence. Was my identity matter, a mere collection of material atoms and molecules, or was it something else?
What a question to ponder at the ripe ol’ age of 36. It opened my eyes and my consciousness and made me look at me and realize that I may have been spending my life in a dream state, not knowing my true identity, yet falsely identifying myself as something or someone I was not.
Then on the basis of this false identification, I’d have determined my goals of life and the purpose of my existence and I would use these goals to gauge whether or not I was making “progress” in my life and whether or not I was a “success” or on a path toward “success”.
It then got worse because it made me think about being aided and abetted in this delusion by a complex network of relationships with other dreamers. And then at death (and sometimes before) the whole thing turns into a nightmare.
So knowing who I was is a very practical necessity and asking the question of “Who am I?” is not a philosophical football, meant to be kicked around in coffeehouses by pseudo-intellectuals.
It is a real-life question and nothing was more important and more relevant than to know who I am, what my purpose in life really was and if I am off track how do I get back on?
That will be a story for another time. The story for this time is that for the first time in my life I could transcend all the labels and see beyond the “race-card” and understand that the person I was looking at and talking to was more than the eye could initially see and as such took on an entirely new dimension.
No longer was the person a label but a transcended being that was the same throughout all life forms.
Imagine the peace and harmony in the world if everyone could embrace this consciousness and realize that we are all brothers and sisters and all of the same essence, but for the most part, lost due to only seeing the shapes, sizes, colors and accessories.
You may not believe any of this. If you do not, and if you have ever seen the movie “Roots”, how would you like to be viewed? As the “driver” or as the “vehicle”?
If you choose the “driver”, then work on seeing your true essence and all the other “vehicles” you come in contact with.