Perhaps the journey to understanding ourselves is made easier as we get older simply because it is a process of subtraction. While I don't claim to have "arrived" in full self-awareness, I have made progress with the passing of time as I realize who I am not.
In youth we identify with our bodies; how we look and feel physically, and our ability to move and respond in physical ways with few limitations. We find ourselves in relationship to our friends, and peers, and the music that validates and articulates our inner thoughts and feelings. I can also remember how important having the right car was for me in my early twenties. In romantic relationships, I saw myself reflected in my current partner. How I perceived my significant other was intertwined in my self-image. Later in life, as I moved from entry-level employment into positions of significant responsibility, I began to see myself as inseparable from my work and career.
While a pattern of identifying with the people, places, and things that made up my life shifted over time, it didn't evolve. The way I saw myself only changed form and shape, as each external definition assumed a greater or lesser role in defining me.
While career, relationships, and our physical bodies are all aspects of who we are in the world, there is a price to pay when these aspects become major support beams in our life. When a job, or a relationship or state of health has become a foundation of our self-image, our whole world can come crashing down when one of these is damaged, diminished or lost. Undoubtedly many of you have experienced this sobering reality first hand.
Our spiritual quest calls these superficial assumptions of our identity into scrutiny so that we can see through the ephemeral faces of our self-image. As we peer deeply into what constitutes who and what we truly are, we come to identify with the changeless spiritual reality that is our true self, and the more gracefully we can navigate the world that is in constant motion beneath our feet.
Join us Sunday as we continue our series on Evolving Consciously, with the 2nd part, "A Case of Mistaken Identity."
Peace and blessings,