IDENTITY (M. Sager, 2021. Mixed media on canvas, 50 x 70 cm)

Identity: Who are you?

Identity: Who are you?

Identity: Who are you?

What a significant purpose of life: Life isn’t about learning to fit in somewhere; it is about creating somebody new.

Socio-cultural identities

Of course, you may want to stay social and cooperative with people in your life. However, with time, the nature of these relationships might transform as your awareness regenerates. Separation from yourself and others means, in a psycho-spiritual way, that you let go of your identity, which is based on social conformity and cultural beliefs that would be misbeliefs in a different culture. You also must let go of attachment to others’ judgments, which are opinions only and have little if anything to do with truth. By distancing yourself from the idealized role you have learned to assume during all the years of education, socialization, and enculturation, you begin to see who you really are.

Don’t waste your thoughts on interpreting equipment, façade styles, and fashions. They are not relevant to our true selves, and they go as fast as they came. We are not our social personalities. Clinging to our social identity and old ways of thinking about ourselves makes us, in any case, matter less than we deserve. Artificial rules that protect selfish interests are not natural laws of life. So don’t take them so seriously!

Children are dependent on the care received from their parents and other adults in the culture they are born into. For them, inter-psychological learning, the influence of other people is unavoidable. Their survival depends on following their caregivers. Such dependencies should not exist anymore later in life, though. An adult person can re-build their own identity intra-psychologically. There is a possibility, even a necessity to recognize your socio-cultural independence. It is a trap to let others’ opinions and beliefs define one. Therefore, such an awareness allows you to free yourself from backward-related definitions of your person by others.

Losing one’s identity

When I moved abroad and ended up being on myself in a completely different culture, there was nobody and nothing anymore that would have supported and validated my identity at that time. For my new environment far away from my former social networks, jobs, and possessions that had defined me to a significant extent for a long time, too, I then was left to be just an unknown foreigner. Therefore, I could not and did not have to live up to any story anymore. What an opportunity. I’ve realized how foolish it had been to build one’s personality too much on the unstable ground of externals.

Meanwhile, having left most of the external things and values behind, there has remained one true identity-giving source: The inner self that connects all of us on a deeper human level. I’ve found this true self when mentalizing back to before I had grown into an adult body, before I was associated with a particular social status and related privileges, and before I started to hold on to a variety of achievements and acquisitions. Then, literally as an alien in a foreign country, I became aware of what was left, what will always be left, and I mentally returned to the core of whom I am: The consciousness that is all and my origin of life. For all my life, I was looking for happiness. Then I found meaning. And when I accepted meaning, happiness became meaningless. That’s when I started to really enjoy life again; joy through the effort to create awareness-intelligently an identity instead of blindly assuming one that’s tried to be assigned to me. That’s also when I better understood what it means to be an artist.

When you experience meaninglessness, low motivation, and urges to give up, it is helpful to check the extra-future element and probe its awaring, for example, as follows. Ask yourself: Am I creating in line with life, the life that continues in all human evolution beyond my family, my party, my nation, my race, etc., or do I identify with such social constructs on which can’t be hold on to in the perishable physical world? If it is the latter, feelings of meaninglessness could stem from such a misidentification. One might feel that clearly when losing somebody close when having lost a job, or being rejected from a social group. We must die to our ego during a lifetime voluntarily. As we shift from socio-cultural group identity to a universally valid life membership, we will have found our purpose in life as well. The ego cannot be overcome by disabling the mind (as sometimes advertised in meditation classes). Selflessness is achieved by thinking awareness-intelligently about the egoless self, through non-transactionality in meeting others and focusing on a mutually beneficial future in all humanity’s interest.

Achieving a symmetrical, congruent (awareness-intelligent) identity

We can clearly feel that we separate mental awareness from bodily sensations and instead picture the wholeness and infinity of life. We can change our way of thinking. The most profound, impactful, and sustainable way to change is to change the layer from where thought arises: awareness. The human condition is no longer dependent on social identity alone. It learns to integrate the three modes of the intra-past, the inter-present, and the extra-future into increased and undivided awareness (for the detailed explanation, see https://www.mathias-sager.com/tag/awareness-intelligence/). As our thoughts and actions become more symmetrical (and our business and private cards more congruent), life will never feel like a lie again.

Becoming a genuine leader is founded on mastering self-leadership and being at peace with oneself and the world. To serve as a role model, one must be ready to give up their title and position. Too dissonant can a professional identity become with the aware self. How could one ever enjoy people who admire rather their title-based authority and social status rather than knowing about their creativity, vulnerability, and loving character in the first place?

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