2 Life-Changing Words
Many of us form strong attachments to the people, places and things around us. We craft our identities out of what we do, how we do, who we know, where we’ve been and are expected to go. We create identities for all the other characters in our stories, too. Labeling is easy. Categorizing is automatic. Attachments make us feel safe- but they keep us limited.
Identities, attachments, judgments and labels all have one thing in common: limitation on freedom of the self. When we see ourselves and the world around us through black and white lenses, we feed an addiction to analyzing, processing and categorizing our world. This may make us feel comfortable and protected, but it also has a counter-effect: it keeps us in the cycle of egoic suffering- of feeling as if we never have enough, do enough and are being enough.
The ego says I have, I want, I am this and that. It says you and I are different and what separates us is categories. The higher self- consciousness or essence – doesn’t need to identify with the body, with roles, with time or much else really. It doesn’t see the difference between you and I, because it’s unified, connected and part of the greater whole. It just IS. If ego is attachment, consciousness is freedom from attachment.
How do you describe yourself to friends and family? The words that follow the phrase ‘I am’ hold clues about how you view yourself and what you identify with as a human being on earth, during this time. Do you see yourself as a worker, healer, parent, lover, taxpayer? Are you attached to certain aspects of your self-created identity? Or, do you see yourself as a combination of all that you are: a human being and a human doing? If you’re able to adapt the latter perspective, you can see yourself as one who exists for the sake of existence and experience, as well as one who accomplishes much by action, inaction and creation- by doing. You are a human who is and does.
When we remove all the labels and identities we normally put after the phrase ‘I am,’ all we’re left with is well, just that. I AM. I exist. Descartes said, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ But, what if it were, ‘I am, therefore I am.’ I exist, therefore I have meaning, purpose and value.
When I meditate on that phrase- I AM- I acknowledge my ego’s desire to connect with form (identity-I) and simultaneously awaken the formless and potentiality that lies within consciousness (the higher self or essence).
Whenever we become overly obsessed and distressed by our roles and the demands of the past and future, also know as living in ego, we can remember one true and powerful fact: I am. You are. We are. To be is enough- all the rest is extra. If our essential nature is to fully embrace our beings, to live and love limitlessly, we can step powerfully into the present moment- the place where joy and peace reside. We can breathe deeply and remember our true purpose is to live. And just for today, that is enough.
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