Most of us don’t realize the degree to which who we think we are comes from how others see us — through the lenses of their multiplex perceptual filters. So we often don’t know who we really are. For instance, if Mom did some regrettable things in her younger years that she feels really guilty about, but has never faced and dealt with, and consequently externalizes her guilt as blame on those around her; and if you were one of those she often blamed; then you may have grown up knowing you were the cause of all the problems all around you. And you may not have been responsible for any of them. And then multiply this filter-based identity-distortion by your other parent, grandparents, siblings, other relatives, school teachers, clergy, friends, etc.; and see the filtered view you think is you. It’s not you at all. It’s a composite of them. So who the heck are you anyway? Good question, right? So let’s see if we can figure out how to answer it.
We may be able to rationally zoom in and find the facts about ourselves, when focusing on a specific situation or comment — but beliefs about things like our value, worth, preferences, interests, etc. may be deeply embedded in our subconscious and therefore invisible to us when we take a look inside.
Us and Them
We are usually drawn, cut, and colored by others based more on their life experiences and ego issues than anything related to who we are. And an interesting thing is that, much of what we believe about ourselves — even after trying to separate ourselves from them — still comes from them. The things we’ve heard about ourselves over the years, or from important people in our lives, sticks — and may become seemingly inseparable from what we think is our independent self assessment. This can apply to personality traits, likes & dislikes, values, goals, hobbies & interests, materialism, objectification, spiritual orientation, and virtually anything related to what we’re like and what we do. For example, do we really like playing football that much, or has our Dad just always told us we do, so he can try to fulfill his own fantasies by living through us? Are you really that stuck on looking pretty and sexy all the time, or is this just a way your Mom can get more attention when seen with her hot daughter? At what point do we lose sight of where these things are really coming from, and start believing this is who we are? And, for some, the messages about who or what we are are delivered so aggressively or intensely that it doesn’t even seem safe to resist — so we let fear force us into a strangely foreign mold, do our best to fit into it, and eventually may begin believing that this is who we are (from the fear-based repetition and conditioning).
As children, it is normal for us to largely base what we believe about ourselves on what important others show and tell us. At some point, usually during our adolescence, we begin forming some of what we believe are our own opinions — but are they? Not usually. We may swing as far from our parents perspectives as we must in order to see ourselves differently than they do, and then believe this identity-by-contrast, often looking like rebellion, is helping us figure out who we are — separate from the views of our parents — but this too is our parents — as it is the backswing of their view, not our own. And during this period we’re usually highly vulnerable to the opinions of our peers and those adults we really value (whether we admit it or not). So our perceived identity is still mostly based on the perceptions of our parents, our peers, and valued others.
Which One of Us Are We?
But even when we ARE able to separate ourselves from the views of others, we will see who we think is us through the lenses of our mind or our spirit, and each will portray a distinctly different “us.” And, to complicate and confuse things even further, from the perspective of the mind’s stress response or relaxation response we are also completely different. And these perceived identities can be situational — fluctuating by person, place, or context based on the level of stress contained within them. So who the heck are we anyway? Are we who our mind tells us we are? And if so, which part of our mind? Which version of us is more accurate — the one we see while in the mind’s stress response or its relaxation response? Well, at least this answer is easy — relaxation response. But, even though this is objectively closer to who we are, we lose sight of it while in the stress response. So it seems to us like we (and/or others) are different, and much more limited. And how many people even know when they switch in and out of stress and relaxation responses? But our true identity comes from spirit anyway, not the mind. So how do we identify our spirit? I believe it is our non-material consciousness — the etheric part of us that has the potential to interact with both our human consciousness and the conscious universe.
Identifying Our Spirit
The key to discovering our spirit is love. It might be helpful to think of our mind’s stress response as a survival struggle, our mind’s relaxation response as safety and confidence, and our spirit’s love response as our awareness of our oneness with the Universe. Each exists at a very different vibration, and the way we see ourselves and the world is quite different when viewed from each of them. For example, if we are faced with a hard decision — like whether or not to stay in an unfulfilling relationship — and we approach it from fear (stress response), then we will probably end up making a different decision than if we approach it from a position of truthful acceptance (love response). Fear may prompt us to stay, while truthful acceptance may give us the courage, strength, and perspective to break away. So if we identify our spirit, and realize that this is who we really are; then we will live a very different life than if we don’t.
From the perspective of the chakra system, the Fourth Chakra (heart chakra), the source of real love, is the first of the spiritual chakras, and connects the higher spiritual chakras with the lower physical chakras. It is through love that our spiritual self connects with our physical self, our human being. So through it we can bring the wisdom of the Universe into our conscious mind, and use this awareness to shine its light and love into the world. Love will help us discover who we are, and then make it possible for us to share who we really are with others as we strive untiringly to fulfill our natural purpose.
I believe that most people live their entire lives without ever discovering who they really are. Without finding themselves, they cannot find or fulfill their true purpose, live in spirit, or share real love. I believe it’s worth it, no matter how challenging the self realization process, to discover who we are and why we’re here — and then to use this realization to change the world!
Some of you may have noticed that I wrote an article called “Love Is Everything,” and a book entitled “Consciousness Is Everything. Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. But here’s how I see it. When it comes to value, love is everything; when it comes to existence, consciousness is everything. Following are some articles and books that could shine more light on just who the heck we are.