wow, this is a very hard question to attempt to answer. to some degree, many of the ‘key players’ in my life would qualify as the answer to this question. there are persons who have taught me how to love; how to fight; who have acted as a foil to my personality, which in turn gave me a stronger sense of self; who have served as examples of how i don’t want to be or what i don’t want in my life; who have made me aware of my shadow side; who have given me new ways of looking at the world.
i guess out of all that, well, i kinda hate to do this, but my answer at this point in my life is a person that i have never met and probably never will meet. at the risk of sounding like some blind follower of a cult leader, or a groupie, ken wilber and his integral theories have been a huge influence in my life over the last few years. his books and other writings have given me the tools to be able to understand a little better where my loved ones and strangers alike are coming from, as well as the tools to get a better grasp on so-called reality and ways that i can experience the ultimate reality on a moment by moment basis. because of his work, it’s easier for me to love and to fight and to understand that this thing called my personality is all just an act. to use a cliche, i am truly not the same person now as i was before i was exposed to and began to understand his writings.
this does mean that the influence of others in my life who i am close to and actually have interactions with is any less. i can’t imagine my life right now without knowing the love of my family and friends; my experience of life would be so much less with the absence of even one of these people.
also, i like that the question ended with ‘so far’, because this leaves the answer to this question open to future influences that could be far greater… 🙂
this post is my response to zaadz’s questions and reflections for june 3, 2007.