After Thought #23

Tired of being me; The role of identity.

There appear to be times in life when we bump head on into self engendered thinking; definitions of self and world that no longer serve the goal of Being Who We Are.  The judgments, the comparisons, the assumptions and beliefs; the measurements of understanding that were and are, consciously and unconsciously engrained and adopted; used as prescription to guide and inform and more often or not, determine us in the understanding of who we imagine our self to be.

The wisdom of awareness is the process of waking up from outdated ways, the common thinking with which we define and limit Self and others.  The labels, the beliefs and the assumptions; the imagined clarity and delusion of “preference” that shapes and influences who we think we are as an “I” that lives and breathes in the world of form an phenomena.

Radical Spirituality requires a radical awakening; an awakening of awareness that undermines our present cognitive process.  It’s the intentionally or unintentional breaking down of accumulated ideas and beliefs of self that we have: that we gave ourselves, that we were given, and that we will inevitable give.  The same ideas that so often easily diminish Self and others, in a hundred, thousand, different ways.

This is the heart and inherent success of any “authentic” Spiritual Path; a “path” that demands its own investigation, enquiry and validity.  Where we challenge and thwart the very integrity of an idea we imagined and believed to be true. To reveal a process, a potential demise of the very ‘path” we have trodden.

We are not speaking of accumulation here; this is not the true path of transformation.  We are not looking to add more understanding, new ideas, or more innuendo to a perception of reality that is already overwhelmed and deluded; burdened by a life of seduction into endless knowledge and the pursuit of achievement; the avoidance of loss; the clarity or confusion; the merit of doing.  We are not talking of tenure or so called mastery of this or that.

Most of us spend our lives in the pursuit of defining ourselves.  We could say that it is hardwired into our nervous system as a way to learn to survive in more and more sophisticated ways.  It’s a biologically driven mandate: “I’ve got to define myself”; “I’ve got to define myself”. “The more “I” can define myself, the more “I” can survive in better, more successful ways”. “If “I” try to define myself as a man or woman, brother or sister, student or teacher; as a seeker or “finder”, then, “I” will survive in better ways.  Then, “I” will survive in more successful ways.  Then, “I” will survive in more powerful, safer, attractive ways.  Then and only then, “I” will be happier!”

The purpose of life appears to be the journey of defining one self in more and more sophisticated and meaningful ways; but what if it is not?  What if we did not place such a high importance on defining ourselves: as a boy or girl, gay or straight, black or white, Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jew?

What if our definition of Self lay not so much in the foundation of our conditioning, our family or our community?

What if we did not define ourselves by what we did or do?

What if we did not define ourselves with regard to our political systems, culture or country?  What if we did not define or think of ourselves so much in terms of the content of our past and future, our fears or dreams, our joys or sadness; all those ideas that arise from our sanitized, narrowly defined meaning of success and failure?

What if we deliberately and intentionally decided to NOT define our selves any more?

What if we decided to un-define the defined?

What if we decided to examine and question the validity of all our past and present defining?

Where would it take us?

How would it affect us?

How would it shape and influence the way we think, feel, see and “do” life?

It’s not going to feel comfortable you know!  It’s going to slam you head first into the grain of your modus operandi in life; the ways in which you live your life in order to survive.  It’s going to slap you in the face with some of your most hard core defining, and the “you” that you imagined yourself to be.

“This is how “I” defined myself”, “This is how “I” am defining myself”.  “This is how “I” will define myself…”

Most of us think of ourselves as separate individual entities; distinctly removed from nature, each other, and everything.   But what if it’s not true?  What if we’re not so separate?

What if the distinction that appears to occur is a side effect of our defining; a ramification of our thinking and the very language that it’s anchored to?

What if the ideas, notions, perceptions, associations, memories and feelings that we have used to define ourselves in more concrete ways, have actually removed us from the truth of who we were, Who We Are and who we can Be?

What if it has isolated us from the roots of our humanity and the humanity of others?

What if, as a result of our obsessive, compulsive defining, we have instead created barriers in the use of language and thinking; in our philosophies of doing and being that temporarily prevent us from experiencing the inherent truth of Who We Are, and the potential freedom we could actually have, living from that level of Being?

What if we no longer defined our self through the hurt, the pain and the rejection we all experience?   What if we no longer defined our self according to the conditions that exist within our mind, body and world?

How would this impact “you”?

How would it change “you”?

How would it transform the way “you” think, feel and “do” life?

How exactly do we define ourselves then?

Simple answer: we don’t!

We stop defining ourselves and we begin to examine, question and investigate the impact of that defining and the meaning we give our experience.  We begin to notice; we become aware of how all struggle, confusion and suffering: both personal and universal, is based on ones attempt to define oneself; to protect oneself in that imagined definition, meaning, and story we give to all life experience.

Every time we define ourselves, we limit ourselves.  Every time we define ourselves, we create a distinction where there is none.  Every time we define ourselves we bound the unbound.  We trap ourselves in a box of words and ideas, notions and philosophies that can only, inevitably, limit the true expression of Who We Are.

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