“Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.” -B. R. Ambedkar
I just finished watching one of the most interesting and poignant performances on Hulu titled In & Of Itself. Check out the trailer here
Its part magic show, part performance art, part monologue. But to me, it’s a commentary on identity.
I like to think of myself as a father, friend, entrepreneur, son, colleague and leader. But the truth is I’m less than those labels and more than those labels. The truth is there is no “me”. It’s an illusion that my mind makes for me. Not to get to woo woo on you I can prove it.
Close your eyes. Now, in a split second, open your eyes and look for the one who is looking. Is there anything to find? Are you behind your eyes? Are you in the middle of your head? Or, are you no different than any object in the universe? It feels like we’re separate, but when you look is there anything to see? Simply stated, we’re the observer or the experiencer of everything.
For those that have been using the Waking Up
app from Sam Harris he uses this “pointing technique” as one of many techniques to help you see the illusion of self.
Of course, we have a physical self out in the world, but our minds are simply constantly commenting, judging, analyzing each moment. We can’t shut it off, but we can lose our attachment to the thoughts. Essentially, freedom can be glimpsed when we realize we are not our thoughts.
I’m finding more and more freedom each day as I get older losing my sense of and attachment to my false identity. There was a time when I was younger, I was a basketball player. Now I’m not. There was a time when I was an investment banker. Now I’m not. You get the point.
I used to be so scared of public speaking and the thought of running a Bootcamp for 2.5 days was absolutely terrifying. Will the audience judge me? What if they think I’m not smart, or just boring? What if they ask me a legal question I can’t answer. Will they think I’m a fraud? These thoughts kept me up literally all night before my first Bootcamp in Las Vegas several years ago.
Now, I remind myself (the one I observe), there is no self… I’m no different than my audience and the only way to “fail” is just not to show up.
If you’re wrapped up in a false identity and it’s holding you back I encourage you to start watching those thoughts like a sociologist observing a group. Just sit with yourself without any judgment and see how long you can watch your thoughts before getting caught up in them. Then when you notice you were lost in your thought, go back to observing. This takes time, but eventually, the mind will wear itself out and you’ll start seeing glimpses of the illusion.
This is the beginning of total freedom from the mind.
Once you solve your money problems and your time problems with land investing you’ll soon see you’re left with your mind. No, where you go there you are. So, you might as well start working towards total freedom not just externally, but internally.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”-Dr. Seuss