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Walking Blues

on October 27th, 2011 by Fabrice

Starting with Robert Johnson’s Walking Blues, many a blues song begins with “When I woke up this mornin’…” With all due respect to Robert Johnson, this is no coincidence. Before you awake in the morning, are you there? Is there a “you” to be worried about whether your “baby started her low down ways”?… It depends on what it is you call “you.”

When we awake from dreamless sleep, at first, there is no thought, and therefore no identification with a self. In fact, several nondual teachers suggest as a practice to linger in that state between sleep and wakefulness that we find ourselves in the morning, when we have to scramble a bit to remember who and where we are. Then comes the “I” and the sense of being a self. Then it is “I am,” which morphs into the story of our life “I am man/woman,” “I am an office worker,” “I am late for work,” “I am stressed, lonely, scared,” etc…

That’s when the blues hits us. We watch the story on the screen of our mind and we buy into it hook, line and sinker. Yet, is that story any more real than the dreams we have experienced during the night?

In Loving What Is, Byron Katie (2002) says:

Most people think that they are what their thoughts tell them they are. One day I noticed that I wasn’t breathing—I was being breathed. Then I also noticed, to my amazement, that I wasn’t thinking—that I was actually being thought and that thinking isn’t personal. Do you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “I think I won’t think today”? It’s too late: You’re already thinking! Thoughts just appear. They come out of nothing and go back to nothing, like clouds moving across the empty sky. They come to pass, not to stay. There is no harm in them until we attach to them as if they were true. (p. 5)

Is it a bad thing that we are self-identified every morning, thanks to believing our thoughts? Well, ask yourself that question. We have inherited an incredibly rich blues culture, thanks to this phenomenon. Yet, you might just wake up, tomorrow morning, realizing that you have had enough of the nightmare. And if so, there is a way for you to awake out of it.

So don’t forget to be mindful and inquire.


  1. Loving What Is, by Byron Katie & Stephen Mitchell. Harmony Books (2002).
  2. Painting the Sidewalk with Water: Talks and Dialogs About Nonduality, by Joan Tollifson. Nonduality Press (2010).
  3. Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings, Audio CD Set. Sony (1990).


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