“The enlightened man is the greatest stranger in the world; he does not seem to belong to anybody. No organization confines him, no community, no society, no nation.” ~Osho
As I grow older, I find that my sense of identity is less clearly defined than it used to be. Paradoxically, I feel I know myself better than ever before. In fact, upon reflection this really doesn’t surprise me. If we are growing and developing we often find that external identifications lose their meaning. I find questions such as “What religion are you?” are no longer easy to answer for me. Sometimes I want to answer “I ascribe to the inherent truth of all religions, but I belong to none.” This may sound a bit cheeky to those who are just looking for a monosyllabic answer. And, of, course there is no such box to check on the census form!
Not being able to answer the “Where are you from?” type questions easily may be annoying to others at dinner parties. Still, when we can relate to all nations and yet no nations, one ethnicity or race and yet embrace them all, we experience the peace of unity. It seems that while forming identities is a way in which we may cling to some, we create separation from most others.
A Course in Miracles teaches us that belief in separation from each other is one of our foundational belief errors. Many spiritual perspectives share this belief. My coaching clients often acknowledged that a great deal of their emotional pain and existential suffering come from feelings of separation. They often feel they are “the other” in the world. Many times they express that they don’t feel that they have an acceptable body, job, relationship, home, etc…They feel separate and different from others based on their ideas about their external identities.
When we bring ourselves back to our center, whether through meditation, a connection with nature, children, animals, massage, art, travel, quiet, etc… we can often strip away these outer identities and remember ourselves as we really are. We are not our relationships, our religions, our beliefs, our bodies, our homes, our jobs, our educations, etc… Defining our essential self in any of these ways is a limiting belief. Buddha told us (paraphrasing) that what is essential about you is what does not change. Certainly, our outer identities are highly susceptible to change.
Not being a “joiner” might make it difficult for you to win the popularity contest. However, having an open mind, heart and spirit may bring you joy of oneness with all of your sisters and brothers, the deepest connections of all.
(c) 2007 revised (c) 2012 Jeanine Marie Austin, Ph.D., C.Ht.
Doctor of Life Coaching, Certified Hypnotherapist
Simply Divine Solutions
Life Coaching and Hypnosis Worldwide
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