I think Frank and Sammy were enlightened. Look at the first stanza of the song:
Me and my shadow,
Strolling down the avenue,
Me and my shadow,
Not a soul to tell our troubles to . . .
And when it’s twelve o’clock,
We climb the stair,
We never knock,
For nobody’s there . . .
Just me and my shadow,
All alone and feelin’ blue . . .
If we transpose the word “Ego” or our illusion of self, for shadow, and we look deeply into the nature of this self, we find..there is “nobody there“.
The Ego, our illusion of a separate self, does hang in there with us. And generally when we believe that Ego is who we really ARE we “feel blue”, meaning that our Ego self is never satisfied, always searching and never finding satisfaction> and if we do find it, it’s fleeting, always attaching to “people, place and things” as they say in the 12-Step literature, hoping to find ourselves.
Of course the “Ego” is simply a construct, a group of thoughts (and we know thoughts aren’t who we really are) that we put together and say “this is ME“. If you look for your Ego, where is it? What place does it reside?
Then the Big “I” thought arises. I AM these thoughts, this illusion of self. To keep this construct alive we have to get things and own things, and do things, and be things (attachments) so then it becomes “MY life, MY job, MY relationship, “My” House (you get the point).
And if any of these attachments go awry (which they invariably will because “things”, including other people, are impermanent, then we are devastated! Then “I” have lost stuff that was attached to “ME, They were” MINE”. So ME is now less than I was.
Isn’t it kind of amazing that we go through all this drama over a bunch of thoughts (an illusory self)? But we all do it, over and over and over again.
Here’s something to consider. Imagine yourself at your deathbed. It’s a few milliseconds before you no longer are this body-mind. How important are all these attachments? How important is “self” at that point? My guess is most of us would say, not very important at all.
At that point does it really matter what you did for a living? Does it really matter how many children you had, or what kind of car you drove? Does it really matter whether most of your life experiences were pleasant or unpleasant? Does any of this really matter at that point?
if we really realize this maybe we can lighten up, not take things so seriously. As Pema Chodron, the amazing Buddhist nun said, maybe we can “drop the story line”. Maybe that’s Enlightenment!