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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Identifying your Identity

Who are you?

More importantly, what do you think you are? 

You may be a creative person or an introvert or an extrovert. You may be a dedicated dancer or chess player. You may see yourself as a nice or decent person. You give yourself comforting labels to stimulate the ego and raise your sense of self comfort and illusory importance. 
By calling yourself a great artist or a satisfied writer, you are attaching yourself to a constructed identity. You may be many things. Some things exist outside of your control such as your sexuality, gender and biology. You choose to identify with things that make you feel good about yourself or give you a sense of purpose. It is quite an amazing thing to think about. 

When you fully attach yourself to an identity, you put on blinders that can lead to the limitation of self discovery. Your sense of self is put into a transfixed mind set. An identity can serve as a distraction from encountering internal growth. Dancing may give you a great sense of determination or a sense of passion, but it is also something that occupies your mind and strengthens your sense of self.

Passion is great and important. When you can separate and analyze the passion, you can free yourself from being caught up in self identification. It is much like observing your thoughts and being mindful. Look at the things that make you feel passionate. Look at the things that make you present. See those identifications as masks that you can consciously "choose" to wear. Accept that identifying with a label can lead to conflict or even the inflation of the ego.

It is easy to get lost in the "I am this because I like this" mode of thinking. Sometimes identifications unite people. A knitter may show interest in meeting other knitters and decide to form a group. Like minded individuals bond over passions and other interests. This is great for humanity since we are such social creatures. However, when a group is based upon a militant ideology, like minded individuals tend to lose their sense of self and devote their themselves to group think. This is very common with political parties, activist groups and social justice warriors. 

Your identification stems from "I".
I stems from the self.
The self is a product of the ego. 
The ego relies on the perpetuation of attachment, control and resistance to what is.

It takes a great deal of patience, presence and awareness to start to distance yourself from unhealthy identifications. You can see the identities as mere parts of your mind and your sense of self. The identifications that do not serve you will disappear when you become present. You will see no need to see yourself as a Christian or a Buddhist because you will see that the labels are a way from distancing you from your authentic being and in return distance you from your fellow man. Our identities are sometimes reflections of our insecurities that allow us to construct our internal beliefs and projections on how we want to see the world. 

See your identities as teachers. 

See them as balloons that can looked at against a blue sky. You can choose to let a balloon go and fly up and away or you can choose to hold them in your hand and see them for what they are. You can try to pop the balloons, but that won't do much good since that will be the ego wanted to escape the present moment. That will be the ego trying to resist and strengthen itself. Trying to eliminate an identity is the same as trying to hang on to an identity. They exist inside of you and what you resist will persist. 

Identify the identities that you can identify with. Look at those identities and let them flow. Let them breathe. Let them make you more present and passionate. Let them inform you. Do not let them define you. 


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