“What I believe makes me who I am.”
– Deepak Chopra*
How many times have you found yourself in a setting where there were lots of people, some of whom you knew and perhaps many more that you did not? The leader/instructor/trainer begins by asking that each person introduce him/herself by answering the question, “Who are you?” More often the questions are, “What is your name?” and “What do you do?”
When asked any or all of these, we typically reach for a role. “I am a ___” and we dutifully, automatically fill in that blank with mother/father, executive/manager/analyst, teacher, writer…and the list is vast. Many of us wear many hats in the course of a day.
Who we are, however, is none of these roles. The roles are what we DO. Who we are at the core of the doing is the answer to the question, “Who are YOU?”
Who are YOU in your DOING?
I have wrestled with this question from time to time, as my automatic response had always been that I was something to someone or some group as I put on a particular role for a specific setting. I also recall feeling completely lost at various points in my life and completely bereft of any understanding or rationale for why I felt that way. Have you heard the rumor that you cannot be all things to all people? Well, it’s not a rumor. It IS a profound truth.
Yet, we squirm and resist, and rail against what we are told we are supposed to do, to be or how we are supposed to act. Interestingly, some of this resistance is more visible in individuals or groups, while others quietly suffer and end up with diseases or an illness that is seemingly unexplainable. “How did I get this?”, “Why is this happening to me?”
I wonder what would happen if each of us followed that internal feeling; that impulse to be who WE really are, and do what WE wish to do, rather than what we are told we MUST do or be.
Projection of our discomfort, pain or resistance shows up in many ways. The political stage and unfolding Presidential election process in the United States these days is a perfect example of this how this is done in very visible ways in a group or collective. There are individuals who represent that which is completely unconscious – to them and to those who are following them. (Fear)
There are some who exemplify the conscious beliefs of others. (Love) And there are many who fall, to some degree, in-between those two seemingly opposite poles of beliefs. What we believe about ourselves influences ALL of our thoughts, decisions, choices, actions. The unconscious beliefs are the most dangerous – for us as individuals and for the collective.
Now, more than ever, we must pause to consider who we are. One of the most powerful ways to do this – to begin this all important, and challenging journey – is to ask ourselves what we believe, about ourselves and then moving beyond that to other aspects of our experience, and examining those beliefs and how they are expressed in the roles that we play.
Having recently faced a challenge that opened this to me in a very profound way, I offer this as a way in: Observe what happens the very next time you are faced with a challenge – of any kind. It matters not the relative size or significance of the challenge. Anything that elicits a re-action will do. (reaction – “perform again”)
In each of us, there is some degree of instinctive reaction to a stimulus of some type. An instinctive reaction is grounded in a belief that we have – about ourselves. If we successfully practice and develop our observation skills, we are better positioned to respond, if a response is called for. (response – answer)
Who are YOU?
What do you believe?
The answers to the second question will reveal the answers to the first question. This is an ongoing healing process, that continues as we meet new challenges.
Do the work.
The collective needs us all – conscious, aware and loving – to heal our planet and the conditions we have created.
Blessings to all.
*This quote taken from Day Two; Oprah and Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Series: “Become What you Believe: Uncover the Power of Your Deepest Beliefs to Become the Author of Your Own Life”