I’m inspired to write to you today from a quote I had been reading to my classes last week:
“We live in illusion and the appearance of things. When we understand this, we see that we are nothing. And being nothing, we are everything. That is all.”– Kalu Rinpoche
What illusion, you might ask?
To understand the illusion, first of all we need to describe the ego. This is not the Freudian ego, or the arrogant ego, but ego as an identity or sense of self.
The ego is very fragile, so it tries to become more solid by looking externally to reference itself. A simple example would be to say that “I’m a yoga teacher.” My job has now become a part of my identity.
My ego can create identity with: my name, if I’m a parent (or not), marital status, family members who are dead or alive, where I grew up, my history, or even my age. These are all used in reference to others to give my ego a sense of context.
It can also go further to define me as: the size of my income, my education, my car, my appearance, how I spend my time, my interests, who I spend my time with, and anything else it can use to reference itself from.
You might also notice that all of these things have to do with comparing.
If my ego can compare itself to others, it can differentiate and solidify who it thinks it is.
Such as: I’m Tina Hnatiuk (married name). I am 36 years old. I am a yoga teacher and Soul Coach. I make $X per year. I have 3 pets and no children. I drive a Honda Civic. I am blonde with blue eyes. I meditate. I write regularly. Both of my parents are still alive. I am a vegetarian and gluten free.
Here’s the thing about the above statements:
They have nothing to do with who or what I am.
I, and you, are something much larger, simpler, and more meaningful than any of the above qualities listed above.
“To define is to limit.” – Oscar Wilde
These are just the ‘externals,’ as I like to call them, they are not who I am or who you really are.
All of the definitions above can be taken away from me, so what would be left? Would I still be me?
A big part of the illusion is that we think that if we get better definitions we will be happier, better, more worthy.
But all definitions are limiting by their nature. They can’t describe the full breadth of anything, just a piece of it.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”―Ralph Waldo Emerson
If we continue to chase after externals to create our identity and our worth, the chase won’t ever stop.
The irony is, that we’ve been sitting on the treasure all along.
Try this with me:
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Now, allow your thoughts to roll through your mind without engaging with them. You might even imagine that you can see your thoughts moving through your mind almost like subtitles in a movie. They will be there, but you don’t have to do anything about them.
Who’s noticing the thoughts?
What is aware when your thoughts are silent, and there’s no dialogue explain what’s happening, and there is just experience itself?
That is who you really are.
You are smarter, stronger, more beautiful, and bigger than you will ever know. You are source, spirit, soul, God, life force, or whatever words makes sense to you. But ultimately you are an expression of the infinite.
All possibility is within you and you are limitless, because you are potential itself.
This is where your freedom lies and the illusion dissolves. The externals start to lose their value and become meaningless. The chase can finally stop, and living with authenticity begins.
You can live aligned with your purpose, rather than be driven by external definitions.
“And being nothing, we are everything. That is all.”
Here’s a quick little exercise to help you on this road to freedom:
Take some time to sit quietly to reflect on each of the questions before answering. This is a nice thing to do with a cup of tea, or some other yummy beverage when you aren’t rushed.
- Who would you be if you didn’t believe that you were your history?
- Who would you be if you didn’t believe that you were your job?
- You’re income?
- Your stuff?
- Your marital or parental status, or your parents offspring?
- Your age, weight, or appearance?
Review your answers above, and then imagine that you are free of all of your previous definitions and beliefs around them.
- What would now be possible for you? Write down as much or as little as you need to describe this new possibility clearly.
- What are 2 small actions you can do towards creating this new possibility? Write them down with dates and times of when you are going to do them.
- Share your new possibility and your 2 actions in the comments below!
I love hearing from you, so feel free to email me with your thoughts or join me in the comments. If you found this post useful, please forward it to your friends, share it on Facebook, or Tweet it out loud! You never know who might need to read this today.