Who Are You?
Dis-identifying With What You Are Not
Much of the suffering, frustration, and pain that we experience in our lives is due in large part to our constant identification with external situations and internal “dialogs” that we allow to guide us. Hint: The “voice” in your head isn’t always telling the truth. Mostly… it is not.
Duration: 10-12 Minutes
Set the space for this practice. Like all of the other practices that will follow, you will have the BEST experience and possibility for subtle, and powerful realizations when you establish a quiet, distraction-FREE environment for yourself. So, put some headphones in and turn on some tranquil or uplifting spiritual music. Dedicate the next 10-12 minutes to this practice.
1) Using your journal or notepad, for the first 5-6 minutes, create of list of 10-20 ways you would describe yourself. Be as honest and straight-forward as possible. You may or may not start to feel how silly some of these things are that seem so real and potent in your mind now that they are on paper. Write them down anyways, without filtering or correcting them.
(ex. the way you behave, habits you have, thoughts that you constantly think about yourself, how you feel about yourself when you look into the mirror, and even what you think others might think about you)
2) Now, let’s review this list. Before you do, notice how you’re already entering the subtler state of Observer. You’re now in a little bit of a different position. It’s almost as though you’re opening up your mind and taking a good look at the state of affairs in there.
3) Now, devote the next 2-3 minutes to just reading through your list, but as you do, instead of validating what you wrote (or thinking of it as “true” statements about WHO you are), simply observe the words and sentences you used.
4) Notice that these are stories you’ve come to identify with as “Me” and “Who I am”, but in almost all cases are not even clear perceptions of who you are as a personality – and in fact, most of them are not even our own decided upon identifications…
They are either borrowed from others, (society, our family, our peers) or they have been imposed upon us by others. Few were conscious decisions.
And if you did manage to write some positive things about yourself (I hope you did), you might notice that those are the ones more likely to have been conscious or deliberate decisions.
5) With this knowledge in mind, we take it yet another step further…
In Truth, you are not even the body, nor are you the mind or the personality you’ve come to identify with as “me.” How can we know this?
Well, even at the physical level we can certainly see that which you accumulate (that which you pick up over time) is NOT you. It is an accumulation. And of course, you did not come into this life with this personality, with these thoughts, emotions, or even with the body.
This is the fundamental teaching of all spiritual movements. You are beyond this. Your true Self is SatChitAnanda – Consciousness, Existence, and Bliss Absolute… and even beyond these concepts.
And having a deeper awareness of this process of identification allows us to do two very important things…
(1) We can now start to dismantle our tightly held identifications. This is a most interesting process.
As you reflect upon yourself and your identifications, you’ll be able to dissolve them one by one.
Some that are so ingrained in our mind that we believe they are true and didn’t bother to even question. in fact, we might even be scolded for questioning them. This is always a clear indicator of an imposing identification from others. The Toltecs call this: “Domestication” and it begins very early in our lives.
Question the “unquestionable” and you’ll realize the freedom your spirit naturally thirsts for.
(2) Now, we can decide. In order to live and work and play within society and this world, we need to carry around a little “mask” – this is important to carry out our desired work and fulfill our aspirations and goals. Just don’t let the mask get stuck to your face.
So, now we have the ability to actively and dynamically decide how we wish to act, think, feel, and be in each situation – moment to moment. We’re not stuck in a static “boxed-in” personality of “that’s just the way I am” what I “that’s just how I feel” and “that’s just what’s expected of me”… But now we can say and do what is needed most in each situation.
You’re not a rock. You’re a human being! And that means you have the ability to be dynamic, use your intelligence, and act with intention and awareness.
Be free from the chains of identification. Live to realize your essential Self.