Am I One Or Many?
Our multiple identities.
It’s raining outside. Misty and cold. I sit here in the studio of a friend, wondering what to write. Should I write? Or should I just sit quietly? Listen to the gentle music. Experience the warmth of the shawl wrapped around my legs.
As I close my eyes, I notice my thoughts. Like floating clouds, coming and going. Each thought carries with it an identity.
“No one turned up for class today.” The Unfulfilled Teacher
“I should have spoken to that person at the cafe” The Lonely Child
“Is it okay for me to be sitting here with my eyes closed” The Sensitive Friend
Every thought evokes a new identity.
Often we do not realise how many of us exist. Each identity with its desires, fears and aspirations. Multiple personalities, existing within the same person. Many voices crowding our mind. Like small children, wanting to be heard, acknowledged and validated.
With so many versions of us — mother, daughter, friend, teacher, businessman, lonely, anxious, inspired, sad — which one is the real me?
“I am different at different times. All these are different parts of me” one may say.
What if all these identities are taken away, would we still exist? If yes, what would we exist as?
Before we delve into that question, let’s explore where all these identities come from?
The source for all our identities is thought. Every identity needs a thought to exist. Without thought no identity would take shape. Embedded in every thought is the identity related to that thought.
The thought of the child, creates the mother.
The thought of drawing, creates the artist.
The thought “I am lonely”, creates the lonely person.
No thought. No person.
What happens when there is no person?
There is Presence.
Without words and images.
Without language to create meaning. Without labels to create identities. Without words to create a story.
Who would we be without our story?
Nothing to remember. Nothing to imagine. Nothing to think. Nothing to talk about.
Just this Moment.
In the Presence of the present moment all our identities collapse. What remains is Awareness. We go back to the source. We feel complete. We feel whole. We experience peace.
In the Silent Stillness of our Being all happens. Without effort. Flowing, spontaneous, intuitive.
I get up. Walk towards the window. Gaze at the misty hillside. I see some birds perched on the stone roof of the house below.
“It’s lovely. Wouldn’t it be nice to stay here. I must look for a good place to stay.” thinks the mind.
Out of the stillness an identity has appeared, seduced by the scenery outside. The Seeker. Wanting, desiring, wishing. The silence is disrupted. The attention has shifted from this moment. Pure witnessing has transformed into desiring.
Awareness of the disruption, reclaims the silence. Like a small child that has lost its way, I bring my attention back to the present moment. In the land of timeless reality without identities.
Without the burden of an identity it feels light. Life is experienced without the filter of thoughts.
Moment to moment.