Known Only to God
10 Feb 2013

WE SPEND OUR LIVES wanting to be known by others. In fact, the more we are known by others, the more we feel we exist… the more we feel we have value… and the more we feel loved. In other words, the more known we are the more fulfilled and happy we believe we will be. As a consequence, many of us spend our lives trying to be known, especially online where it is possible to accumulate huge numbers of 'friends' and 'connections'. Search engine rankings as well as Facebook and Twitter subscribers have become synonymous with our worth. And yet, in the middle of all this sound and fury of connection, we have never felt so alone.

The reason for this is that the connections we make are increasingly superficial. There is no heart involved; it has all become a numbers game. And because it is a numbers game our output — what we put out about ourselves — becomes increasingly contrived, designed to attract attention and admiration for our self-image, rather than genuine connection with who we actually are.

After all, who needs genuine connection these days? Friends are high maintenance — you need to spend time with them, you need to share all aspects of your life with them, even those aspects you do not like in yourself. It is far easier to collect subscribers or visitors: they can supply a bigger hit of attention than any bunch of friends could, and keeping things superficial allows you to stage-manage what they actually see in you.

A lot of this new attitude came from the corporate sector, where visibility has become the gold-standard for marketing anything and everything. In the corporate world, it is a numbers game because, at the end of the day, it is all about sales and profits.

But individuals are not commodities. The more visible we are, the less happy we often are, if we are honest with ourselves. In fact, true happiness comes from invisibility, not visibility. When we become invisible to the world, when the 'I' which thinks it is the star of the show takes a backseat… that is when authentic happiness blossoms.

Here is a question: what would it be like to be known only to God? The question is valid whatever your definition of God is. (For me, God is the awareness that is at the base of all consciousness, which underlies All-That-Is.) How would we live our lives if we only cared about being known by God?

So much of our offline and online lives are about validation of who and what we think we are. When we feel someone knows us, we feel a warm glow inside. This glow is the glue for most relationships. To be known is a comforting thing. But suppose that we gave up being personally known, content to be known only to God. How would we interact differently with the other people we come across, both offline and online? Would we even bother to communicate at all? When we meet someone down in a bar or at the pub, how would we behave if we were not after personal validation?

Superficially, such a scenario might seem to lead to fragmentation as nobody would bother connecting any more; relationships would lose their glue. But the opposite is actually true. When the pressure is off to be known, when we have no hidden agenda for validation, real heart connection happens spontaneously. For being content with being known only by God cuts off the oxygen supply to the conceptual self, and we find a true happiness that has nothing to do with being visible or admired.

The message of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is that we are commodities to be marketed. And to these organisations, we are commodities to be marketed! But the more we treat ourselves as commodities, the more unhappy and unfulfilled we feel. Human beings are not commodities, and marketing ourselves as such only brings unhappiness.

Become invisible, become unknown, and bask in the heart light that arises when we let go of trying to be a somebody.