Your spirituality will serve either to help free you from your mistaken self-concepts or it will subtly reinforce them by deepening the notion that you must ‘become’ perfect through endless prayers, meditations and practices. The intention you give your spirituality will determine where it takes you. Direct your spirituality not to becoming something different, but to unwinding what you have assimilated that is false.
You do not need to work to create the perfect self. It exists already as the Boundless Love within you. You cannot top that. Focus instead on letting go of everything else. Look to your defences. If you were to let go of the strategies you think you need to keep safe, what do you fear would be exposed? In letting your fears of who you are come up for air, you will realize that in truth they are nothing.
In the second year of Interfaith Seminary training, we guide participants through a powerful exercise in pairs to recover a truer sense of identity. Sitting opposite one another, one person asks the other the question, ‘Who are you?’ over and over again for 30 minutes. The questioner says nothing else. Initially, participants grapple with their self-concepts, trying to answer the question logically. Eventually, they let go of their own answers and come to a place of not knowing. The attempt to even to speak falls away. Still being asked ‘Who are you?’, they drop into a deeper knowing of the truth of their being, often accompanied by gentle laughter and tender tears of release.
Recover a truer sense of identity: a meditation
I suggest you do this meditation either with a friend you trust, by looking at your own reflecting in the mirror or by simply reflecting in silence. Decide on how long you will meditate (at lease 10 minutes) and commit to this length of time.
- Firstly, set your intention. Sit with the prayer, ‘Take me into a truer experience of my Self’, until you feel sincere in your request.
- When ready, begin asking yourself gently, ‘Who am I?’ (If working with a friend, have them begin gently asking, ‘Who are you?’
- Keep asking the question, or having it asked of you. Let it take you beyond your self-concepts into something truer. Let the question take you into a place of pure being.