Updated: May 17, 2020
WHO ARE YOU?
We all identify with many different things, but this is just a process in our minds. In fact, all these labels we constantly give ourselves to create an identity, causes us to suffer.
Your favourite act loses their place in a competition on the TV, and you suffer as though YOU lost.
Your car is damaged and it feels like YOU are hurt.
Somebody attacks who THEY think you are, and it is as though they have actually reached right inside and thrown daggers at your authenticity.
Is there really a way to escape this unnecessary pain and drama?
I think it is very possible, if you can see, what you are not.
(Sounds confusing right?)
But being able to clearly see this, can free you from a lot of the suffering that comes from our labels.
I have this great little self-identity exercise for you to try…
Do this exercise for twenty minutes, then take a deep breath and get up. Notice if you feel different - less worried or less attached to things, feelings and thoughts. Do the exercise as often as you can, to remind you of what you are not.
Get comfortable in a quiet place. Close your eyes, relax and take several deep breaths, breathing through your nose. Let your breathing fall into a natural pattern. Allow tension to drain from your body.
Now begin by asking: Where am I? What am I? Who am I? Let these questions sit for a moment in your mind.
Be aware of your body. Think of your leg. If you lost it, would you cease to exist? Are you your leg? Go through the parts of your body, asking "Am I here?" "Is this myself?"
Open your eyes and look around you. Are you those things? Maybe it you feel pain when your favourite chair breaks, as though it were you. But you're not that chair. Ask yourself which of these things you own are you. "Am I this?"
Close your eyes and say your name. Do you feel a sense of identity? What if you had no name? Ask "Am I really..." and say your name again. What's the honest answer? If this one is tough, say "I am..." and insert any other name. Notice how when you call yourself by another name, you feel differently. Your name-identity is a collection of ideas, something seen differently by you and others.
As feelings arise, ask "Am I this fear?... this pain, desire, sadness, pleasure, anger? Your feelings are not you - they just pass through you. Your clothes, your body, your reputation - none of it is your true self-identity.