To know who you really are, your real self, it is empowering and liberating. We ultimately come to know what is success and what our purpose is through this understanding. Discovering our essence and identity is one of the most courageous pursuits and so important for our happiness and success in life.
“As human beings we are quick to identify ourselves using our circumstances, how others perceive us, our behaviours, and our positions in life. It’s somehow comforting to clothe ourselves in these identities. But none of those are really who we are.”
Matt James – Psychology Today
Our world gets shaken if we lose our job or someone is disrespectful to us. This is because we are using the external factors to prop up our identity and our self-worth. Hence we are fearful of becoming useless when we lose that title or status in society. But this is not who we really are. We were still the same person before we got that job, before that person judged us or whatever else happens.
Am I My Body?
When I identify myself as my body, I feeling the following:
- my self-worth is linked to whether I am beautiful, smart, funny etc.
- the need to be accepted by society and continually measure how much I am being loved by others.
- I experience fear of diseases, ageing, and ultimately I have fear of death.
- I see other people’s differences based on their ethnicity, sexuality, religion, political alignments, and culture.
We can understand easily through scientific research that we are not our bodies. Scientists have actually found that every single atom that makes up our body is completely renewed every 3-5 years. We have a totally new body on every time this molecular change over occurs. But we know that we existed 5 years ago, 10 years, 15 years ago. We still feel like the same person even though our body has completely changed. So this points to there being a constant, something that hasn’t changed in that time.
Am I My Mind?
When I identify myself with my mind, I experience the following:
- I get swept away by all the emotions, memories, future desires and so on.
- I feel I must act on what comes into my mind, sometimes without regard for whether it is correct or what harm it may cause to others or myself.
- Feeling like my life is like being on a see-saw – constantly up and down as life swirls around me.
We can also easily understand that we are not our minds through regular mindfulness meditation. We attempt to control our minds, to redirect our minds, so who is trying to control or redirect? It can’t be the mind trying to control itself? Again this points to something else; a constant that doesn’t change and fluctuate with the mind.
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.
Bhagavad Gita 2.12 & 2.13
Who You Really Are
There is this understanding that you are not your physical body or your subtle mind, but you are the ETERNAL, BLISSFUL and FULLY KNOWLEDGABLE atma (soul, self) who is residing within these encasings.
This soul is likened to a diamond, which is brilliant and pure. However, this diamond is buried deep under the earth covered in mud. Through the process of meditation, we actually start to wash away at this mud and reawaken our eternal identity as the self. We come to understand that every living being is exactly the same through this connection of who we really are. We are all individual spirit souls temporarily residing in this material world.
When I have this understanding, I experience:
- Fearlessness and courage even at the time of death
- Having deep respect and love for all living beings
- Not getting caught up in the small stuff because we know its temporary
- Inner peace and a deep sense of happiness
- Inner strength because I am not easily swayed by the opinions of others
- And so much more.
He is a perfect yogī who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, in both their happiness and their distress, O Arjuna!
Bhavagad Gita 6.32
As we uncover our identity as spirit soul, we then need to know what is our actual purpose and position in this world. We’ll be posting more about this shortly!
In the meantime, check out one of our classes to kick start your journey to discovering your real self.