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  • Foto del escritorDiego Palma

There is No Need to Define Yourselves

Actualizado: 6 jul 2018

We grow up into a society that influences us with the idea that we need to become someone. We learn to self-define ourselves using labels, positive and negative labels. We do not perceive the self limitation aspect of adopting labels into our sense of identity.

However you define yourself is how you create your false self. You use labels to define your career, family roles and relationships, nationality, racial identity, gender, status as financial entity, religion, physical condition, appearance, education, hobbies, beliefs, opinions, thought, feelings, everything.

As adults this becomes a solid idea, in the name shown on our business card. Years ago, I worked as an IT specialist in a big company, with my suit and tie. When someone asked me, "Who are you?", I immediately handed over my business card. This is who I am. My sense of identity was based on my profession and the company that had hired me. Internally I was filled with fear. I was carrying all the fear of losing my job and losing my identity. It's really painful when they ask you who you are and you think you need to have an answer.

Give up defining yourself

The truth is that there is no need to self-define ourselves. And the reason is because you can’t define who you “are”. You can't tell who you are. The definition of who you are is beyond concepts, beyond language and this dual reality. You can't know who you are because language is something static and unable to define something intangible and in constant motion and change.

Defining yourself through thought and word is limiting yourself. Life is a process, it's constantly changing. The only truth you can hold with language is "I am." "I am" is a direct and personal experience. Any adjective you add after "I am" is a statement about yourself made in static language, like a limiting casket.

“Gnana Yoga” is the path of unlearning.

Anything you think you are, you’re not.

Take out anything besides the I am...

Stay in the I am, let go everything else.

Give-up the tendency to define yourself.

- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj -

The two realms

On one hand there is the realm of being and in the other the realm of doing. On the realm of being, "I am" is the only truth for everyone, while on the realm of doing you can choose to do whatever you want and define what you are doing. You can define your behavior because it doesn’t represent who you are, but rather what you feel like doing, what you are doing.

People ask me, "Diego, are you a shaman?" I answer them, “What that means for you? I love serving medicine, I know how to do it. That doesn't define who I am. Who I am is beyond definition. Serving medicine is the experience I'm having, not who I am.”

So remember, there is the realm of being, in which "I am" is the only truth that you can hold, and there is the realm of doing, where you can "do" many things and define them for what they are, behaviors. But don't mix them up, don't confuse them. Dwell in the I am, enjoy not knowing who you are because you do not need to know, you cannot know. Just stay present, undefined. Therefore, stay in the "I am". Give up the idea of defining yourself or others.

There's nothing to defend

Can you stop looking for definitions to give yourself a sense of identity? Can it be possible to live your life without defining yourself? Can it be possible to travel the world without projecting some kind of identity except I Am? It's completely doable, and fully rewarding. If there is no character to project then there is absolutely nothing to defend. You stay in the realm of being. You are free to abide in the present moment and just be and do whatever you want.

So, who are we really? “Who we really are is what remains when we relax any attempt to define ourselves.” When you relax your tendency to define yourself, the lifeforce you are not using to project a false self is now available for much more fun and interesting purposes.

Pretending to project a fictional character is like trying to inflate a balloon that has an air leak. You can't stop blowing and you'll never get to inflate it, and it will consume all your life force as long as you keep trying.

Think of all the time and effort and energy you invest into projecting yourself into the world, into playing your role, into being you. Then, once you have some appreciation for what’s involved, imagine not doing it anymore. Imagine if you could stop being you and just be. How would your life be different if you didn’t have to keep conjuring yourself into existence every moment and just existed?

And, on the other side of this coin, there’s your obligation to reflect others back to them as they reflect you back to you. What if you broke this social compact of mutual ego-assurance? What if you could just drop these two all-consuming activities? What if you remove all energy from the fictional character you play? And now, what if everyone did it?

“By remaining internally undefined,

we become nothing,

but at the same time potentially everything.

It is like being the sky instead of a cloud,

being the ocean instead of a wave.“

- Arjuna Ardagh -

Get rid of all belief systems, question them all the time. Remember, “A belief is an unnecessary overlay on top of simple reality," so get in touch with simple reality, stay there, feeling the kindness in the flow of life, the beauty of silence, simply becoming the witness.

If you want to find inner space, become conscious of being conscious. Say or think “I Am’ and add nothing to it. Be aware of the stillness that follows the I Am.

The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am that, but I Am.

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