the roots of our identity
What are the roots of your reality? Where was your identity formed? From where do your thoughts originate?
These questions probe to the very depths of what it means to be a human being. We live in a cerebral time defined by the classic Descartes quote, “I think therefore I am.” However a more accurate statement might read; “I sense therefore I feel and think, therefore I am.”
Our reality is conditioned. If one is to examine one's total life with a still and quiet mind you will observe that your feelings and thoughts are secondary to your senses. We feel and think in reaction to sensations associated with pleasant and unpleasant experiences. What we call "me" is actually just a series of memory patterns based on the interaction between mind and body.
We are shackled to our constant search to prolong pleasure and avoid pain. In this we have constructed the great concepts of the “I” and the “me”. I like this. I don’t like that. Once created this thrusts us into the field of emotion the land of: worry, sadness, fear, anger, anxiety. We become quickly over-powered and instead of observing emotions for what they are we quickly begin to define them as we futilely try to establish control, suppression, or disconnection from them. We launch into blind reactions to sensation and call those our reality as we try to think our way through life. We identify ourselves with a fragmented portion of the truth and create permanent labels for ourselves: I am an anxious person, I am an angry person, I am a funny person. I am a smart person, I am a sad person, I am a fearful person … we self-prescribe our own prison sentence. Yet instead of understanding sensations and emotions as they are, we react to them and fragment them into our warped sense of self. Failing to let them rise and pass in peace. Through our fragmentation we now look at the world through the broken lens of loneliness, jealousy, envy, competitiveness, ambition, selfishness, greed, survival, insecurity…etc. This then becomes the birthplace of our reality and the roots of our existence and we wonder why we are in a constant state of misery and disaccord. Are these conflicts not the greatest source of our stress?
Our personality is conditional to the experiences of our senses, which lie beyond our control, yet our greatest suffering arises from the "I" and the "me", we suffer for an identity that is only a fantasy created by transitory impermanent sensual experiences.
We never see the whole continuum of emotions. Their origins - in our desires and aversions. Their establishment - through our creation of our persona. Their passing - through understanding the whole continuum of life. Instead we wrestle with a piece of the truth as if it was the whole and never find a way out. Through thought we objectify our emotions and then engage in a bloody war with them. We fight our emotions to become a better version of ourselves and fail to see that they are us, we are tied to them and the war we rage is at our own expense. Worry, angry, anxiety, sadness and fear are there, we must accept this and cease the endless reaction to it. Once the complete picture is realized the battle ceases to exist, because the objectification of our self has ended. Only through observation can the whole process be understood. We must simply get out of our own way to see things as they really are and not how we want them to be. To learn that the observer is the observed.
The path of our lazy, weak and habitual mind is to create fragmentations of our experiences and construct definitions and images of self and others that we then spend the rest or our lives trying to resolve, propagate or defend, never allowing ourselves to see the whole picture as it is. We have built our house on rotten ground. No matter how hard we try and “fix” ourselves, with this therapy or that therapy, we talk ourselves dizzy chasing the end of our own tail. We must remember: bitter roots will always give birth to bitter fruits.
Throughout the course of one’s life we will create thousands of these fragmented conflicts, failing to see that they all grow out of a single root. Our lives then become a management of these conflicts, jumping from branch to branch trying to prune the out of control growth and chaos, failing to address the core problem. This process is exhausting and in the course of time extracts from one’s very life source. If one is able to see the whole picture then they will find unlimited vital energy as the infinite number of conflicts resolves into one. We are only motivated by the continuity of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
We can’t change the fact that good and bad will occur, we can’t choose our sensations/feelings, and we can’t eradicate our root desire for pleasure. We can stop reacting to these inherent sensations of life and cease constructing these mental conflicts and fragmentations of our lives. Only through observation of the whole body-mind phenomena can we find understanding of the complete picture and from this we gain freedom from these conflicts we have created. I and me do not ceased to be, but now understanding their construction we can be less attached to, less trapped by, the cravings and of this ego. The mechanism of our suffering is the key to our liberation.
One must engage in total psychological revolution. The model we have been following has left our society and the individual in perpetual war. The internal wars of self mirror the wars of this world. We are the consciousness of our whole society throughout human history, the beautiful and the ugly. We no longer must we run in circles trying to resolve these conflicts as we now realizing that we are the architects of them. The minute we get lost in our thoughts and definitions we are lost in the past, in a never ending maze of our own self-delusion, spending our lives trying to resolve the past and control the future, never accepting the moment in which life itself dwells.