A Nowhere Nobody

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, the world is at your command”

A nowhere man is a nobody. No meant to be taken as a loser, a nobody is someone who has no body. Of course, all humans have a body. Being a nobody is not to be taken literally, rather it is a state of being that is free from the bondages of the body and its manifestations in the mind. The lyrics above from the classic Beatles hit “Nowhere Man” highlight this point. “Nowhere man, the world is at your command” – how freeing is that? 

This concept of becoming nobody was first introduced to me as I came across a documentary about Ram Dass, formerly known as Richard Alpert, one of the first scientists to research LSD. Richard Alpert was a scientist at Harvard, Ram Dass was nobody. In the present, leading spiritual and scientific minds such as Sadhguru and Joe Dispenza have communicated extensively on the benefits of becoming nobody. Here is a meditation by Sadhguru to get you into a state of becoming nobody and that video is followed by a scientific explanation by Joe Dispenza to appeal to your intellect. 

Sadhguru – Isha Kriya Meditation
Joe Dispenza – Becoming Nobody

These videos show that in the present moment there is limitless possibility. We are not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Becoming nobody is living in the present. If being nobody is so freeing, then why are most people somebody’s? I think the answer has to do with the nature of our minds, and how we accumulate core beliefs. 

Overtime, our actions, biases, likes/dislikes, memories, and experiences make up our core beliefs. This is not a bad thing because we need this to survive. We need to remember what gives us pain and what gives us reward. Without this memory, learning is not possible. However, some of this manifests as memory and unconscious conditioning that does not serve us. Most of it is an automatic response in our bodies and minds. If they do not serve us, then we are the slaves – slaves of an automatic program running us into the ground. Cognitive behavioural therapy centers around these automatic thoughts, core beliefs (unconscious filters), and responses and offers solutions to navigate them. I will end this piece of why these solutions haven’t worked for me and why they are more of a band-aid than a cure. The actual cure is becoming nobody. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT for short is a tool that people use to either change their thoughts or behaviour to feel better, hence the name CBT. The model of how cognition (thoughts), behaviour (actions), and feeling (emotions) interact is as follows: 

CBT Model

As with any system, modifying any one of the pillars effects change throughout the system. Effective CBT practitioners teach you how to do this. Since you can’t really change your emotions on command, altering your thoughts and behaviours is more actionable. This in turn will affect how you feel and viola, you are healed, right? Not so fast, because depending on how much the inner triangle of core beliefs is ingrained in you, changing your thoughts and actions might work for a short time until the triangle reverts you back to old ways of being. 

Core beliefs, a relatively modern term, has been known for centuries as the ancient term: KARMA. The meaning of which has been misconstrued in my mind up until I discovered what it meant from someone who comes from the land where it was invented. This someone goes by Sadhguru, a popular Indian mystic who had finally given me some clarity on how this CBT model functions. By explaining karma, he showed me how to truly change any one of the three pillars without reverting back to the triangle of core beliefs. 

What is Karma? 

Karma, as Alicia Keys and others say, is the fact that what goes around comes around. This is true as the Sanskrit definition is action and its effects or consequences. However, what I have been highlighting in relation to the CBT model has to do with the mechanism by which karma, or core beliefs are formed in our mind, body, and spirit: 

Mechanism of Accumulating Karma

As you can see, karma is accumulated overtime by virtue of this mechanism. Since we encounter stimuli at every moment of wakefulness (and also sometimes when dreaming), karma is always accrued. This mechanism conditions us to modes of living that are either healthy or unhealthy for us. In my situation, there were aspects of my life I needed to change. Therefore, I looked to CBT for the answer. It gave me many tools but the one I used the most often was reframing. It basically revolved around catching thought distortions and replacing it with a more constructive thought. After racking my brain for some time doing this, I realized how idiotic it was when I learned about this mechanism of karma accumulation. Why change surface level thoughts with more thoughts when you can change, or better yet, detach from the triangle itself? In other words, I sought to be free from the loop of accumulated karma which in turn will reverberate through my thoughts, feelings, and actions. Becoming free from accumulated karma is becoming nobody

A cure implies that you are healed from whatever ailment. For what I am talking about in this post, being a nobody isn’t a cure because you cannot completely free yourself from memory. All you can do is be aware of your accumulated karma and how the mechanism pictured above manifests in your life. Bringing these things into conscious awareness has the effect of becoming nobody because you now have the power to respond as you wish rather than react to unpleasant/triggering stimuli. As the Beatles sing, “Nowhere man, the world is (now) at your command.” 

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