Your Identity

Your identity - it's much more than you would normally think.
• More than work, relationships, money, possessions, body and ego.
• I know this from practical experience - and you can, too.
• Get ready for joy, happiness, love and inner peace!

The Age-old Question

Do you know who you are?

I don't mean on the level of 'a mother/father, a midwife/manager, a Christian/Buddhist' … I mean who and what you really are. Your identity at a deep, fundamental level.

And I don't mean some concept or idea, either. I'm not talking about thinking or believing here, I'm talking about knowing who you are.

Do you know who you really are?


Probably not, because not many people do. And we humans have been asking just this question (together with the 'What's the meaning of life?' question) since time immemorial.

So, since you have some idea about your habits, relationships, work [LINK], possessions, etc. you have some inkling about who you are at a surface level. We might call this your surface self image [LINK].

Since you are here, on personaldevelopmentguy.com, you may have decided that you want to make a better life or realize your potential - what's called self realization or self actualization [LINK]. In this process you may have done some personal development/self improvement.

It's also possible that you have investigated the Enneagram and figured out your personality-type at the level of ego. Perhaps you have even explored and let go of some of your beliefs [LINK].

Well, then you have come quite a long way and you do have some idea about who you are at a level below the surface. We may call this your somewhat deeper self concept [LINK].

But you don't really know who you are at a level deeper than that ... your real self identity [LINK] (or: soul identity [LINK]) - and what lies beyond that.

Well, if you so desire, then that's about to change.

Identity: A Matter of Experience

Now, in this text I can't show you who you are - that's pretty obvious, but I can tell you the truth and point you in the right direction, so that you can find out for yourself.

Because, you see, your identity, your real identity, is a matter of experience.

Who you are, is something you have to experience for yourself. If you merely take what I'm about to tell you at face value, you'll just be adding another thought [LINK] or belief [LINK] to the inside of your head. And chances are, it's already too crowed in there.

No, actually, to experience who and what you really are, you have to get out of your mind!

It's Hard to Fill a Cup that's Already Full

Yes, your mind is in fact the biggest obstacle on the path to finding out who you really are.

You already have some notions, some thoughts, ideas and beliefs about who you are at a deeper level. Those notions aren't wrong, they just aren't entirely right, either. They're limited … and you're not. But I'm getting ahead of myself here; at this point that may be confusing the issue.

The fact is that those very notions that you have (about who you are) are the primary reasons why you don't experientially know who you really are.

(And I'm sorry, but in order to give you some pointers to the truth, I'm going to have to feed you some notions, too. Just try not to let them get in the way, okay? Everything I tell you here has to take second place to your own experience).

Why is what you think you know an obstacle to really knowing? Well, it always is. It's a question of you subconsciously wanting to confirm your own beliefs.

Modern science is well aware of this problem, and double blindfold experiments were invented for this very reason. If your metaphorical cup is already full of what you think you know, there's no room for anything new.

So … what to do? Well, still speaking metaphorically, you're going to have to empty your cup. But first; let me show you how easy what I'm talking about is ...

Let Me Take You Back …

I want you to think back in time and look for a particular experience.

This experience may only have lasted a split second or a few seconds, or, it may have lasted longer. It's one of those moments when things just sort of clicked into place; when everything was just right. For a moment it was like time had no meaning, like time did not exist. You were totally there, totally present. And completely at peace inside.

This moment may have occurred while you were in nature: Perhaps walking in a forest or on a beach. Perhaps sitting under a tree or watching a sunset. Perhaps when you were out one night and looked up at the stars.

It may have occurred while you were doing sport, or having sex, or watching a particularly spectacular work of art.

It may have occurred while you were watching a loved one sleeping or looking deep into the eyes of your love partner.

In any case this moment took your breath away, perhaps metaphorically, perhaps for real. For just a brief period of time everything was not only completely as it should be, it was absolutely perfect.

Effortlessly perfect. And perfectly clear. And absolutely wonderfully joyful. You felt happy.

Have you had such a moment? I bet you have. I bet everybody has. More than once.

Well, can you recall this moment? Recreate it in your memory? If so, then please do so now.

While having this particular moment present in your memory, tell me:

In that instant - who were you?

More Hard Questions for You

The above question is really hard to answer, isn't it?

In that moment ... were you whatever job title you currently hold (like a secretary, a waiter or a public servant)?

No, you weren't. In that precise moment you didn't give your job a thought. Not even if it was something to do with your job that initially triggered the moment.

In that moment ... were you whatever family connections you have (like a mother, a father, a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother)?

No, you weren't. Not even if it was something to do with your family that triggered the moment did you actually think about your family in the exact moment.

In that moment ... were you your body?

Well, yes and no.

If you had your moment doing sport or having sex, chances are you felt your body intensely ... however your feeling of self wasn't limited to your body at all, was it?

Your body was there, sure, perhaps even very much so, but it didn't occur to you to have the thought 'I am only my body'. In fact you didn't think about your body at all, did you? Not in the perfect moment that we're talking about here. In that very moment your body was just there, doing what is was supposed to, like a perfect tool, like an expression of you but not as your identity.

And if you had your moment doing something that didn't have to do with your body, chances are you didn't even notice that you had a body.

Let's continue looking back at that moment.

In that moment ... were you your thoughts, feelings, habits, beliefs, etc.?

No, you weren't. In fact you didn't have any - apart from inner calm, joy and happiness.

In that moment ... were you strong, weak, clever, not-so-clever, skinny, fat, big, small, right, wrong … or even a man or a woman?

Nope, you were not. Those things were completely irrelevant.

In that moment ... were you in fact ANY of those things by which you usually define yourself?

No. You were not. In that moment all the above things were absent from your consciousness. Not there. Gone.

Well, then, in that moment ... were you even there? Did you even exist?

Oh, yes. You were there and you existed. Very much so!

In fact, you were extremely and exquisitely there, and you probably felt more alive than usual - much more. Also, you felt at peace. Most likely you felt happy.

Why?

Because in that moment you were experiencing your true identity.

What's Important?



When the moment had passed, time (which had been standing still) resumed again, didn't it? And not just time, but all the other relative things that you've gotten used to returned.

All those things that you have gotten so used to that you think that they are 'who you are':

Your thoughts, your worries, your negative feelings, your habits, your gender, your family relationships, your work, your possessions, your beliefs, ideas and prejudices about yourself, other people and life itself, etc., etc.

And many of those things are confusing, worrying and disturbing, aren't they? In all likelihood you spend quite a bit of time and energy on those things.

The good news is that you don't have to. Because they aren't really important. Not any of them.

All those relative things AREN'T TRULY IMPORTANT because they AREN'T TRULY WHO YOU ARE.

You Probably Beg to Differ ...

Yes, yes, I know; you experience some of those things as very important.

Maybe you're a family person, maybe you're a workaholic and maybe you're a drug addict. Then family, work or your favourite drug/your habit of drug abuse seem awfully important. In fact they seem like a big part of who you are.

But they aren't. In truth they're really just a ridiculously tiny part of who you are.

And now this text is about to get really challenging ... What I'm about to tell you isn't easy to describe, and for most people it's even harder to understand. But bear with me and give it a try.

Who You Really Are - in Simple Terms

So, then, who are you really? By now I'm sure you have inferred that you are something big - or at least that I think you are something big. And you are correct.

You are something big. Something very, very big. Something so big that you aren't just one thing. Something so big that you aren't just many things. But let's just take it easy and make it simple.

Let's look at you in the big perspective. What I'm about to tell you is a simplification. The truth is much more diverse and complex.

And please remember: Any concepts about who you are that you're presented with by me or anyone else must always take second place to your own practical experience.

Seen in a very big perspective you are:

a) Your body and ego (incl. thoughts, feelings, beliefs, family, etc.)
b) Your higher self, your soul, you essence (call it what you like)
c) Life itself (you are one with all there is)

It's Very Real

Some people balk at some of the notions mentioned above. However, each of those three levels of your identity is experientially real:

You can experience being your body and ego, you can experience being your soul and you can experience being life itself (being one with all there is). I know this because I have tried it. Also, I have helped other people try it.

What this means is that you 'are' all three levels at the same time. At all times - even when you're most lonely and scared. (The fact that you're lonely and scared means that you're primarily (or: only) identified with your body [LINK] and ego).

Bigger & Bigger Identities Feel Better & Better

The three levels that are you is something like a system of boxes within boxes; or like one of those hollow Russian babouschka dolls where inside the big doll, there's a smaller doll, and inside that smaller doll there's an even smaller doll, etc. In other words:

Your identity as life itself contains your identity as a soul, a body and an ego. Your identity as a soul contains your identity as a body and an ego.

Perhaps the coolest thing about experiencing b) soul and c) oneness with life is the amount of unconditional love, joy, spaciousness, inner peace and happiness that you experience right along with them.

Debatable?

Of course what I'm saying here is debatable. Most people will agree to a) above (body and ego), some people will agree to b) (soul/essence) and a few will agree to c). I have met people who will vehemently dispute the existence of their own soul and who will just laugh at my claim that we are in fact life itself.

But I never discuss it. There is absolutely no point in discussing something that everybody can verify in their own experience!

Of course those most vehemently opposed to what I'm saying here will never do that. They will never verify what I'm saying for themselves. At best they will claim that they are trying, and get no results.

Why? Because getting the experiences I'm talking about here would compromise the beliefs [LINK] that they so vehemently defend. And they don't want that, so it's not going to happen. Not until they relax their beliefs enough to allow that kind of experience.

But no worries. You aren't like that. Right?

What Is Your Real Identity, Then?

As you could see from the text above you are BOTH your body + your ego (your tiny identity) AND your higher self/soul/essence (your larger identity) AND you are life itself (your even larger identity). This begs the question:

Which part of this multilayered identity is the most real one? The answer is this:

You are the whole package. (Nothing you can do that will change that). In other words, it's all real.

Experientially speaking, though, it's like this:

- The larger the identity, the more real you will experience it as being.

So technically speaking I guess you could say that your ego and body are less real than your soul, which again is less real than your identity as life itself. There's another factor in play, though:

- The more you choose to identify with (i.e. believe in) any given part of your total identity, the more real you will experience that part as being.

That's one of the reasons why people who are busy denying that they are anything more than body and ego can experience their belief as being real. All they have to do is believe in it enough, and presto! it becomes real in their experience. That does not make it absolutely real, though, just subjectively (relatively) real for them alone. They have chosen, metaphorically speaking, to close their eyes. This, of course, limits their experience, their personal reality.

Absolute reality [LINK] (and thus your identity as soul and as life itself) is not something you have to believe in to experience it, though.

All you have to do is stop denying the possibility.

Open the Doors of Experience

The last statement in the paragraph above is important, so let me just repeat it in a different way:

If you close the doors of experience either by fervently denying a possibility (e.g.: 'I have no soul') or by fervently believing something that rules out that possibility (e.g.: 'I am only body and ego'), you will NOT experience what is - you will not experience absolute reality - you will only experience the result of your beliefs.

If you open the doors of experience by simply not denying or believing anything in particular, you WILL experience what is - you will experience absolute reality.

In the case of your identity, you will experience being both body, ego, soul and life itself.

And, as a bonus, you will also see physical death for what it is ... and therefore no longer fear it.

Experiencing Your Real Identity: What to Do

And now, finally, we reach the point that you have perhaps been waiting for: The point where I tell you exactly what to do to experience who you really are. The answer may surprise you with its simplicity:

Basically you don't need to DO anything, you need to STOP doing something: You need to STOP believing in all sorts of things about yourself and just BE yourself.

That's what you did back when you had a moment of clarity, joy and inner peace - you know, the moment that I took you back to in the beginning of this text: You STOPPED and simply EXISTED.

You were completely present and one hundred percent authentically you. No thoughts, no fear, no beliefs, no nothing ... other than who you really are.

Good and Funny Questions

Okay, then, you might ask: How do you do that? How do you STOP and simply EXIST?

That's a good question, and also a very funny question. Because, you see, I already told you:

You DON'T DO anything and you DON'T TRY to BE anything, you simply STOP, breathe and exist as who you are.

But, I have been asked (many times): HOW do you stop, breathe and exist?

Relax The simplest answer is this: You relax. Relax your countless defence mechanisms (most of which are part of your your ego). This includes, for example, your fearful feelings, your thoughts, your habits and your beliefs. You relax them all.

Or: Accept Another way to put it is this: You accept. Accept yourself as you are, accept other people as they are and accept life as it is.

Or: Forgive A third way to put it is this: You forgive. Forgive yourself, other people and life. Without reservation.

Or: Let Go A fourth and final way to put it is this: You let go. For that you may use a technique or a method like the Let Go Method. Read more about this under the heading of Letting Go. You can also read one of my books [LINK] or special reports [LINK] on this subject.

Always remember: It's something you already know how to do. You've already done it (re: the beginning of this text). More than once. This is exactly the same thing, only this time you do it by choice. And with practice you'll make it last longer and longer.

Your 'Ticket of Admission': Fear

When (not if!) you get to the point where you can voluntarily let go and move into the 'beingness' that's open, relaxed and accepting, you'll begin to notice several interesting side effects. Every single one of them is very pleasant.

They include experiences of happiness, love, spaciousness and inner peace.

In fact there is only one single unpleasant thing associated with what I'm proposing here, and that thing comes before all the others - you might call it your ticket of admission: Fear [LINK].

When you do as I have proposed here and start letting go (relaxing/accepting/forgiving), you'll most likely be confronted with your own fear. Happily fear has the excellent property of not being real (even though it does feel real).

Your fear is whispering to you - or screaming, as the case might be. BUT! Whatever your fear is 'talking' about, it hasn't come to pass. If it had, you would simply deal with it, just like you have dealt with anything else that has happened in the past.

So fear is actually your imagination running wild with unpleasant 'what-if' scenarios - in other words: Fear is not real.

The way you deal with your fear is this: accept it (or even: bless it) and move through it.

In Conclusion

This text about identity has been a bit longer than 'usual' here at personaldevelopmentguy.com. That's because the subject matter is a bit more comprehensive than usual - and very important. Your real identity is a BIG and comprehensive thing, and it's awfully important in terms of your quality of life.

If you are (stay?) identified with your limited personality of body and ego, your life experience will be accordingly limited - and full of fear.

If, on the other hand, you expand your sense of self, preferably by virtue of your own personal experience, then you are setting yourself up for a much nicer and more life - full of love, joy, inner peace and happiness without conditions.

How do you do that in practice? Well, you might try The Journey by Brandon Bays or my own the Let Go Method.

The most powerful application of the Let Go method is using it to let go of your beliefs (not the least of which are your beliefs about who you are). If you have a bit more time then yoga, meditation, and other methods work, too.

It's all about expanding your sense of self, your self image, your identity. The more you expand it, the happier you will be! :-)

Identity Quotes

[LINK]
---> Upcoming:To top off this (very) long text, I want to give you the opportunity to peruse a collection of quotes on identity, that I've collected. These Identity Quotes [LINK] reflect some other views on the subject.



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