identity / non-duality / spiritual / Uncategorized

The Pitfalls of Identity


Who are you?

Who are you, really?

Look very carefully at the answers generated to this question.

You may be tempted to list your qualities, characteristics, talents, or various life-roles (parent, artist, husband, wife, etc.)

Of this I will say: be careful of the identities you create. Your true identity (your true home) is boundless, untethered, and free of the labels and restrictions that identity inevitably creates.

Often it can seem comforting to have an identity. For instance, for many years, my identity was “the writer”. Though writing comes naturally to this body-mind, I took that natural talent and suffocated it by creating an identity around it. Then, in times that I was not writing, I beat myself up for not being able to properly fulfill this identity.

This is the truth: my body-mind was simply writing when it wrote, and not writing when it didn’t write (simple enough, eh?). It became much more complicated when I created an intricate, deeply-involved, highly identified sense of self from this talent.

The same is true for many things in life. It’s so easy to take what’s happening in our lives and make stories and identities out of it. But the deep truth of this is that these self-made identities are absolutely tenuous and generate a lot of unnecessary suffering.

This suffering may not be immediately apparent and you may not even be totally aware of it. But I bet, if you’re very honest with yourself, you can remember quite a few times when it was deeply painful to not be living up to or fulfilling the identity that you’ve created for yourself.

If you identity as an artist, it’s deeply uncomfortable to not be creating art. If you identity as a wife or husband, it’s deeply uncomfortable to not be in some way fulfilling that role in the ways that you’ve anticipated.

Creating an identity is like putting on a straitjacket every single day – it is inhibiting, restricting, and keeps you from being truly free.

One might be tempted to think that it’s necessary to have identities, as though they are the mortar between the bricks that keep your life standing, but if you look carefully, all your seeming identities are simply stories places on top of events and circumstances that happened anyway.

Let me tell you this: it is absolutely, absolutely safe to let go of the stories you put on your life. When I let go of the rigid identity of being a writer, a huge (enormous) weight was lifted off my shoulders. Removing this identity freed up a ton of energy and space to be able to let this natural talent shine, unencumbered by expectations that are the foundation of identity.

It’s okay to let go. Your life will be imbued with the freedom and flow that is so natural to your being.

Be free, my friends.




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