Following on from the article on blaming, I would like to present another perspective on why letting of going of our story is helpful for us.
The only part of us that is looking for an identity is what Echart Tolle clearly describes as the ego. It is only the ego’s need to exist by having a sense of identity that drives us (usually unconsciously) to attach ourselves to ideas, stories, feelings and objects so we can ‘find ourselves’. It is the movement of this very ego within us that creates our suffering.
The common yet limiting belief is that somehow who we are has a connection to our life history, where we define ourselves as the person today because of the things we have experienced. Self-image definitions could include I am a man, I am 35 years old, married and an engineer.
Certainly we have functions and roles in our lives, such as being born in a male body, once being a student and now working as an engineer. However the deeper truth is that no story, life experience or function can ever define who we are. Who we are in essence is timeless, unbound and unknowable. For who we are now is who we were before we were born and who we are when our body dies. Any attempt to define our ourselves is in effect erroneous and limiting.
“An identity is ego”
As such, any attempt to define ourselves is the ego’s assertion to survive by creating a sense of self, based on the objects around us and not based on our true self.
For example, if we were to say with the fullest belief that I am something, for example, an engineer, and only know ourselves through the story of my life as an engineer, then we are trapped in our story, which is to say we are trapped in ego. That is, we are identified with our story and miss the deeper connection with consciousness.
By letting go of our story, letting go of our need to define ourselves through our story, clears our way to be our true essence. That is, we are allowing ourselves to live life as an expression of consciousness and not as a limited expression of ego, thereby allowing us to fully enjoy life as we no longer generate suffering. I would like to point out that letting go of our story does not mean we should forget or deny our personal experience, nor should we ignore the lessons or wisdom we have gained through it.
“A Self Image gives our personal power away”
Another way of understanding why holding onto our story is unhelpful is because identification with a story is like blaming. In my last article on blaming I wrote how we give our power away and tend to remain fixed in our points of views when blaming. Holding onto our story, for example, that I am an engineer, is very much like blaming because we deny our true powerful expression, limiting ourselves to our ideas based on our life’s story. That is, we give our power away of our true self. And just like blaming we hold firmly onto our idea that I am this engineer, sometimes only because some words on a piece of paper from an institution says so.
So what I like to inspire you with this article, is to explore how holding onto ideas of yourself based on your life story is giving your own power away as well as creating a fixed identity of yourself, that is less able to flex with life’s movement.
“Who would I be without my story?”
Helpful questions to ask yourself are:
Allow yourself to be quiet when you ask yourself these questions and notice how the mind is often still with no answer to these self-directed questions. Noticing this stillness, the quality and depth of it, is allowing you to be your truest self in the most direct experience. Letting go of our self-image, dropping our definition of ourselves based on our story allows the magic of life to reveal itself through us even more, bringing with it greater happiness from the depths within.
Published: June 2014