During our journey to Self, to our true self, we start to idealize the idea of knowing ourselves.
Knowing who we are and really getting clear on it and owning it.
The thing with that is, when you feel you know who you are, you begin to solidify that sense of self. This can feel like a good thing, like we see ourselves, the good, the bad, the highs, the lows, and we come to peace with it.
However, on the flip side, when we start over associating with a sense of identity we close ourselves off to what is outside of that identity. Things that we may not even be able to consider because they are too far outside of our perspective. Further more, we might only be knowing the surface stuff, the stuff we accumulated through life experiences, while completely ignoring the deeper self. We tend not to get to know this deeper Self because it goes beyond labels, and if we can't label ourselves then how can that be who we are.... we are the I am's right? I am a writer. I am spiritual. I am kind. I am brave. I am young. I am old.
But the Self that just is, the self that is I AM and nothing more, that IS who we are.
Everything else... it's an idea construction. It's thoughts we've turned into a sense of identity in order to try to understand how we fit in this world.
For example, I have always said that I'm afraid of public speaking. I have said it and thought it so many times I have taken it in as some core, immutable truth about myself. However, there's nothing about that that is actually who I am. Who I am really, in my core, is love. I am the Universe. I am infinite. So how can I be terrified of crowds, which comes from a place of fear and limitation, and also be infinite and full of love at the same time?
The only way I can do this is to convince my mind that it's true and it's real. I allow experiences to convince me further it's real, when it's really only my thoughts and beliefs being reflected back to me. The feeling that it's real is the part that can be hard to shake, because damn if it doesn't feel real. But it's not. It's an illusion, a cloak I have chosen to put on and experiment with during this life. I could take it off at anytime. I could declare I'm done with it at anytime.
These feelings of who and what we are go far beyond this. We might see ourselves as struggling business owners, always looking for a way to break free, and not even being aware we are so entrenched in an identity that is the very reason we can't break free. We might be convinced that being an exhausted mom is what we are, when in fact there are ways to feel more rested, but they are outside of our perspective.
Does this sound too easy? Think about how often you lose your keys, only to realize they were literally right in front of you the whole time. You simply didn't believe they were there, so you didn't see them. We cannot see what we don't believe in. If we believe we are this or that, we will see it reflected back over and over.
The thing that stops me, or any of us, from instantly dropping these self-created identity illusions is the ego.
Ah, the ego!
Before we all go bashing our egos and talking about how it needs to die, let's take a deep breath.
The ego is a part of you. Wanting to destroy or kill a part of yourself is only going to make that part dig in deeper. It's only going to feed the fear that made it all grow so big in the first place. In the same way you cannot hate another person into changing, you cannot hate your ego into calming down and working with you. We work with the ego in the same way we work with other people - by coming at it from a place of openness and love and curiosity.
The ego, at its core, is love. How could it not be? Either everything originated in love or it didn't. So we can relax and know that when we're working with the ego, we're working with something created in the same primordial atom as everything you see as good and beautiful in the Universe.
This doesn't mean it's easy to change the ego though. Getting your ego to loosen its grip on who you think you are and what you believe you are is like prying open a steal door. But that doesn't mean it's not worth it. Letting go of the idea that our identities are real is when we can truly begin to be who we know we really are, deep inside.
Letting go of all of those false stories also means we can create new ones, however we want.
It doesn't mean we have to become a blank canvas with zero personality. It means you are free to create your sense of identity as you feel you want to. Do you want to be afraid of public speaking? Or do you want to be confident and self-assured? You can have either one. You simply have to believe you can.
The power of belief, which ties deeply in with the ego, is the other thing that locks us into identities. In order to cast off identities you don't want and create new ones you've got to get clear on what you believe. Do you believe you create your reality? Do you believe in your power to recreate yourself anew at anytime? Do you believe that belief itself is powerless and we're all victims of circumstance?
In this world, our sense of self is attached to so many things that it can be hard to even consider letting it go. It may seem like we're rejecting diversity or what makes us add color and uniqueness to this world, but that's not what we're aiming for. I'm not writing this to say deep down we're all the same.
I'm writing this to say that deep down yes, we are all love, but we are also unique and special and gifted and insanely talented in ways we aren't even considering. In ways that you know intuitively but you can't label. In ways that allow you to access the keys of the Universe. A way that is beyond whatever your sense of identity has locked you into.
In a way that says you are all the Dianes.
That's a joke from Bojack Horseman, my favorite show on Netflix. Diane takes a drug called "gushie" and suddenly has a mind-opening experience. She realizes that she thinks she knows who she is, but in fact, she is so much more. Scroll below the photo for the quote from the episode, in which Diane talks to her husband, Mr. Peanutbutter, while on gushie.