‘What was your true face before the birth of your parents ?’
Without diving in the fathomless depths of this — literally — mind-blowing koan, let’s consider the first layer of its meaning.
Without ruling out the possibility that laying our eyes on this shallow layer is actually the same thing as diving down the abyss.
The question is the one of the gap between the face you have and the face you show.
Between the face you are and the face you believe you have.
In your expression (body, face, speech), what is the share of compulsory figure performances ?
What is the share of your performance imposed by the context, by your education, upbringing ?
What is the share dictated by habits ? What are the furrows dug by your psychological patterns ? And what is your true face ?
For your true face is
Beyond and beneath
Your true face lives on
You’d never have piled up those successive layers, had you not thought they could have been of any use in such and such social perspective.
You’d never have polished those expressions, had you not found in them the reflection of your own secret projections.
And these walls of eyelids, pupids, speeches,
Those blocks of moves, sequences of attitudes,
would you have secured them in such a way if you had not needed protection ?
From this life and for ages,
Since my life has been flowing,
I have been waiting to see your true face.