Identifying with the “self” is what determines our feelings and perceptions. If I identify with the concept of being a “husband” , and my wife leaves me, then I would feel distraught.. If I identify with the concept of being a “professional” -and somehow I lose my professional license , I would feel ashamed and sad. If I identify with the idea of being an “American citizen” and a terrorist attach occurs in my country, I would feel anger and rebellious. But only if I choose to identify myself with these entities. But do these entities really exist ?
It’s like living a comic strip where the bubbles above our heads are our thoughts and perceptions which we believe to be true … and which we choose to identify with.
I read a quote the other day that said:
“As soon as we are born, we are assigned a name , a nationality, a religion, a race , a sports team. We will spend the rest of our lives defending a false identity.”
This is so true. We are given several identities , simply because we feel that we need to belong to a certain organization or group so that we don’t feel vulnerable . We need to think that we are part of a whole so that we are not alone. So that we can distract ourselves from the inevitable destiny we call “death.” We decide to continue to live an illusion that keeps us in a dream like state and prevents us from experiencing confusion and chaos.
But we can’t escape it forever. We will eventually realize and accept the fact that our various identities ; our numerous fictitious entities that we desperately try to defend and justify, are meaningless and useless when we are facing our final days.
It bothers us when things end because we don’t like to admit our mortality. We feel sad when a vacation ends … We feel disappointed when our favorite sport team loses. We often experience sadness when a loved one moves away or decides not to be our friend anymore. We rather want the pleasurable experience to go on. It is like going to the theatre and enjoying a movie even if it’s fictitious, and we don’t want the movie to end because that would mean exiting the theatre and facing reality again. We rather stay inside and continue to enjoy the fictitious movie. We prefer to pretend to be immortal and prevent having to face the reality of our existence.
We prefer to stay inside the “womb” which keeps us warm and comfortable.
But the closer we get to our inevitable death, the more meaningless all the fictitious fabricated identities become. And the more we are forced to accept our true identities.
Going back to the “bubbles” above our heads, which represents our thoughts, can illustrate how we live our lives. We mostly live inside our heads. Inside our thoughts and perceptions. We rarely get out of our thoughts and face reality. We don’t usually live in the present moment.
But we need to, if we want to live this life more fully.
And the question remains : what is outside of our heads? What is this so called “reality”? What would we be facing when we live in the present moment ?
Peace. Serenity. Freedom. Acceptance.
I will continue on this topic at a later post .