• 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.
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.
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
, work [LINK],
, etc. you have some inkling
about who you are at a surface level. We might call this your surface self image
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
possible that you have investigated
and figured out your
personality-type at the level of
. 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
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
your mind is in fact the biggest obstacle on the path to finding out who you
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
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
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.
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
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
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
In that moment ... were you whatever family connections you have
(like a mother, a father, a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother)?
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.
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,
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
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.
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
Because in that moment you were experiencing your true
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
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.
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.
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.
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
a) Your body and ego
(incl. thoughts, feelings,
beliefs, family, etc.)
b) Your higher self, your soul
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
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
Bigger & Bigger Identities Feel Better & Better
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
worries. You aren't like that. Right?
What Is Your Real
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:
part of this multilayered identity is the most real one? The answer
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.
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
If you open the doors of experience by simply not
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
They include experiences of
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
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
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.
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
by Brandon Bays or
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! :-)
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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