We will all experience some form of loss of identity in our lives, particularly in old age or terminal illness. We may have identified with certain roles for most of our lives, but these roles can all be taken away in a single moment. So how do we come to terms with and recover from this loss? How do we go beyond these identities and find the essence of who we are?
Identifying with Roles
All these things can be the cornerstones of our personal identity, yet they can be taken away in a heartbeat. Injuries and illnesses that leave us bed ridden and unable to go to work, do our hobbies or socialise with friends and family. Or the degeneration of the mind that comes with old age, terminal illness or Alzheimers disease.
Let's first explore where these identities come from before we look at how to work with them.
Why do we become identified?
Let's be clear - we are not born with these identities (although one could argue that there may be a certain amount of predisposition due to genetics or karma). Babies enter this world unable to distinguish themselves from their mothers. Their senses are not separate and there is no sense of identity with anything relativistic (that is when we can say 'this is me in comparison to that').
As we grow, we are able to distinguish ourselves from our environment, getting to know our bodies, emotions and minds, knowing what we like and don't like, and finding our place within our families and the outer world. Neural pathways are formed in the brain, which provide a map of how we see the world. Thus we begin to identify ourselves with these specific and yet very changeable life circumstances.
And that is just the issue. We identify ourselves with things that are ever changing. In a universe of form, change is the only constant. However, if we are able to step away from identifying ourselves with the form, we are able to see that there are certain aspects of ourselves that stay relatively unchanging.
Finding our Essence (Source Energy)
Going Deeper - Traits of the Soul
These are certain ways of being that:
Here are some of the traits you may notice with these characteristics:
A Final Thought on Grief
We are of course emotional beings. Even if we are not identified with the emotions that we have, it is still important to let them arise and especially to express them. That way they are not held on to.
Grief is a natural way for us to process all the pent up energy that is caused by identifying with something outside of ourselves. See the follow-up article Understanding Grief to explore further.
My name is Richard. I love to write, and here you can find my general musings, observations and articles. Enjoy!
To stay up to date with articles follow my Facebook page
BACK TO THE SOURCE
Bringing you home