Our Identity is What Makes Us Vulnerable

I see what makes us fragile as I watch the men in my life battle to hold onto these ideas they have of themselves.  There’s a reason it’s so common for men to soften as they get older, when they see the needlessness of gripping so tightly to what they thought they had to be.  When we have an idea of who we are, when there is a ‘box of identity’ around us, the boundaries of right and wrong, and how we should behave become our points of weakness, fragility.  When we have a black and white view of who we are, we have not  accounted for all possible variables.  No one can know how they would react or respond in any possible situation.  The more narrow our view of ourselves — the stricter our vision is — the more of reality we will have to reject over the course of our lives as our vision and idea of ourselves becomes threatened.  If you want to spend your life fighting, define who you are and believe in your own definition.

To truly be unshakeable, one must let their idea of themselves go, one must allow for the scenario that there is no such thing as You, as I.  Everything is always in process, becoming one thing from something else — even though you were still you at 3, at 19, at 45, You are not stagnant.  It’s futile to try to hold onto an idea of ourselves and call it The Truth.  As long as we are remaining open, letting emotions and discomfort pass through us, we are being altered.  When we stop allowing that (free movement of internal experiences) — when we get blocked, shut down, stop time and experience from changing us, that is when we draw lines around ourselves, believing that we are something concrete.  That NOW and NOW we are something, that HERE and HERE I exist.  There is freedom in letting go of who you believe yourself to be.  

This is the point that is always hardest for me in meditation.  The holding on, the believing that “I” need to be in control here, that “I” need to make something happen here; instead of realizing that in meditation, the “I” is the part standing in the way of something truly happening.  What my biggest measurable accomplishments have taught me is that as long as I believe that I am in control of something, nothing greater than my control can happen.  As long as I am holding tightly to the reigns of my experience, then my imagination is as far as I can go (and the bounds of my imagination are pretty limited as far as imaginations are concerned as well as as far as possibilities are concerned).

Freedom is found in the dismantling, the letting go, the seeing that the box was never really there, we just all agreed to pretend that it was (like we do with the economy or time).  You can make anything seem real if you get enough people to agree on its existence.  But there is a truth that exists whether anyone is willing to acknowledge it or not, there is space that is available to us regardless of how firmly we believe ourselves to be trapped.  There is expansion as soon as the belief that the box is necessary is let go of.  When it happens, it feels a little like, “Oh                  .”

Published by Pam Stewart

I am a writer living in Victoria, BC, Canada. I got my start in spoken word and am now a frequent contributor to Elephant Journal. My writing is the result of a deep dive into the world of self-help. I don't profess to know how others should do it, but am interested in having the conversation. I think there is real value in revealing our blindspots, our vulnerabilities and our fears; which is what I am trying to do through my essays on mindfulness, self-exploration, and living honestly. I have found God through writing, which is to say, I have found myself through writing. My book, I Really Thought It Would Be Easier Than This, is available now.

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