Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of August 21, 2006


Identity

All too often we borrow our identity from things, thoughts, emotions, processes, or events. The thing may be our body, our car, our house, our clothes, or other valued possessions. Thoughts and emotions combine in patterns of opinions and reactions, views and beliefs, style and memory to form our personality, which we unquestioningly assume is who we are. Many of us take our identity from our position in life or our job, our hopes and dreams, or our lack of money or relationship. Or we may define ourselves in terms of some traumatic event or some great and glorious success. Or all of the above as our identity shifts in reaction to this moment.

But this inherent instability shows that we do not really “know” who we are and that who we are is not a thing, thought, emotion, process, event, nor any combination thereof. Indeed it shows that who we are cannot be “known” in the ordinary way with our minds. Our true identity belongs to a higher order than anything in time and space. From the perspective of time and things, that true identity appears as, in, and through emptiness and stillness. Though even there we can go a step too far.

Those who, even momentarily, come into the utter peace and stillness of consciousness face the temptation to take that as their identity. Consciousness does indeed enable witnessing, but it is not the witness. Our true identity uses the high energy of consciousness analogously to the way we use our body.

That one who we are is our will. We find our self in acts of responsible, compassionate individuality at the one end and in surrender to oneness with the Divine at the other. Attention, intention, and the act of choosing offer the most accessible paths toward understanding ourselves as will. Being is not who we are, but the will-to-be is. The difference is both subtle and great.

For this week, notice what you take as your identity. Notice how this changes and its recurring themes. See that you are no thing, thought, emotion, memory, process, event, energy, or being. It does matter, because those who are truly themselves can serve the sacred directly. Act yourself.


     

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