Peeling back layers of identity, roles and your reasons for living can be painful, and leave you feeling vulnerable. You gently hold onto the parts of you that feel like your very being. Rest in what is unchanging, trust and then let them go.
Identity. What forms your concept of identity? Is it your personality?, what you do for a living? your role in society? When you begin peeling back the layers, who are you underneath it all? The concept of who you are is woven through the fabric of your experiences. Each interaction with yourself and others informing and solidifying a previously held idea of yourself or a reflection seen by another. If everything is just an experience, a perspective of the truth, how do you know what is real, and how do you decide what to hold onto and what to discard as being the truth about who you are?
Roles. It’s comforting having an identity and a role to play. It gives you a sense of belonging and meaning that you are contributing to something bigger than yourself. Although roles provide a sense of purpose, they too shift and change over time and depending on who you are with or the circumstances. In your family you might be the son or the daughter, or the mother of your own children; at work, you can be both a manager and an employee. You can be all of these things all at once and none of these things at the same time. Your roles can change over time and are not really who you are either.
Vulnerability. Once you start to realise that your identity is just a construct it can create a sense of immense vulnerability. If you aren’t who you thought you are, then who are you? When you start to observe the ebb and flow of identity, roles and experience you start to realise there is a duality in each moment. There are elements that change and a part of you that is unchanging, observing it all as it plays out. This is who you really are.
Unchanging. It’s challenging to notice who you are when it’s unchanging, still and silent, the vessel that contains all experience. Constantly distracted by what is happening around you and your thoughts it can be challenging to connect with something that isn’t demanding your attention and wanting to be seen. You have to look for it. Once you find it, you start to notice it more and more and it becomes a relief, a resting place where you no longer need to hold onto the ideas of who you are. You can let go, trust and just be.