i am nobody

“I am nobody” can sound quite challenging to Western ears. Either provocative or self-effacing. Or perhaps faux self-effacing. Western thinking is so dependent on the idea of the self that surely no one can really mean it when they say “I am nobody”.

At the risk of sounding dualistic for a moment, in zen it’s the opposite. “I am nobody” is a subtle but profound truth. It’s reassuring. Even joyful. I know that this is part of the answer to the koan “who am I?” And you have to believe it.

I’ve glimpsed the profound and endless nothing behind the final invisible veil. The nothing at the heart of everything. The real nothing inside the false nothing. Now to find my way back to it – more often and more easily. To find it, and enter into it.

who am i?

I am James.
I am a father.
I am a husband.
I am a friend to whippets.
I am a worker.
I am a writer.
With my small camera,
I observe the changing of the seasons.
I am an opening hand.
I am a crumbling wall.
I am a cry of a gull over the water.
I am the sound of laughter.
I am nobody.
I am nothing.
I am… *click fingers*