Identifying with the self

What makes us who we are? How do we determine our personalities ? Does the self even exist ?

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 .

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Are today’s children fading into cyber space?

Contemplating on today’s world, it is safe to say that we are entering a new era of existence.  But, would you say we are getting closer to each other?   Or are drifting away from each other?  I have children of my own, and I am worried about them disappearing into “cyberspace world.”

When I was a child, playing outside with my friends, meeting them at the local park, and calling them on the phone were typical things to do.  Now what our children do is go into Facebook, Twitter, Skype, or whatever social digital network they use.  Using the house phone is almost obsolete, since our children perceive texting as the way to communicate through the distance.  What happened to talking face to face with your friends?  What happened to “let’s meet a the park, or the basketball court, or the beach?  What happened to “Hey, wanna play at the playground?”

Today’s children usually perceive the Wii and other video game system as the best way to have fun and do exercise.  What happened to riding the bike, the skateboard, playing “tag you’re it”, and other fun and active games we used to play decades ago?  And when traveling long distances with parents, children used to simply listen to the car radio, maybe play some small board games like cards or Uno, or simply look outside the window.  Today’s children bring their DSI or watch a movie that their parents bought for them in the car so that they be quiet and don’t bother them with “are we there yet?” or “I am hungry/tired/thirsty/etc?”.

If you have children and are worried like I am, I guess what we are to do is turn off the computer

, put away the DSI, the Wii, Playstation, or whatever they have as electronic entertainment, and make the effort to spend some one-on-one time with our children.  Don’t you think?  Or are we too busy with our own cyber friends in Facebook and Twitter?  Are we too worried about the news at CNN.com or Newsweek.com.?  Maybe we are too preoccupied with who is going to be the next American Idol, or American President, instead of who our children are turning into?  Are we spending too much time on the cell phones talking to our adults friends or doing some extra work on the computer before tomorrow’s big meeting at our jobs?  Are we too enmeshed in our own cyber worlds  that we don’t realize that our children are fading away into cyber space themselves?