Posted by: Sarah Lidsey | November 20, 2009

The Life and Death of the Identity

If you have been reading my posts you may have guessed that a major driver for me has been awakening.  I have enthusiastically followed a path that has moved me to ever deepening levels of understanding about the true nature of being, consistently opening up and dropping into places within me that now hold no identity, where the personal is totally unimportant, and the impulse of pure, unrestricted creation is able to shine out.  As I have shed the structures that have held my identity, I have come across some interesting challenges in relating to others and in relating to all those things to which our culture in the West gives value.    

I have been looking at my experiences as my relationship to the ego and identity – prime structures of separation – have changed and how that relates to my movement through life back towards the pulse of Creation….. It starts for us all around the time of birth when we come into form, into Life, and create an I-dentity.

The ego-identity is part of the personality structure that develops throughout life.  As a young child we are loved, nurtured, fed, held….or not.  Out of these experiences we individuate into the people that we bring into our relationships both with ourselves and with others. We individuate from our parents but also from the pure impulse of Life, learning ways that hold us apart from the true nature of our beings as unfettered expressions of all creation. We move from a state of universal union in which the heart freely resonates with everything, without fear, to one that sees itself as a unique thing, separate, special, quantifiable, defended, and we develop a personality with defenses formed by fears related to perceived threats to our survival.  These defenses create protective armoring not only in our musculature – affecting how we hold our bodies – but in how we express our energy through our emotional and mental responses to specific situations. With the fleshing out of our defenses, the ego is fully formed and with it a sense of ‘I’ – the I-dentity is born.  And the bulk of this happens before our 7th birthdays!! 

None of us, unless Avataric, are spared this process of separation from the Mystery that is the Divine Creator.  As we incarnate numerous veils of separation are created with the strength and resistance of Teflon, yet so thin as to be almost undetectable to microscopic ethereal examination.  They are part of the spiritual skeleton of our beings. The presence of these veils makes any evolutionary move back into the unified field of pure creation impossible.  You cannot awaken with them in place, and your unique life challenges and dramas will continue to repeat themselves for as long as you identify with the places of forgetting that they support.  Unless spiritual evolution is one of your drivers they are unlikely to go, and you are equally unlikely to be interested in what might be the deeper truth behind your identity.  But if it is, and when they do go, the ego can no longer hold onto its position as the leading character in the play that is your life, and so you lose your identity.

The persona that we identify with is reinforced throughout our lives, firstly by our parents who name us and generally instill in us certain values, beliefs, and prejudices that create the foundations of our realities.  Then the reflection of our friends, acquaintances, and life experiences are added to the pot, and all these elements are embraced by our egos.  Our identity, unique and separate, is then constantly reinforced by whoever we come into contact with.  It happens on many levels but the first one is likely to be on meeting someone, when the questions we ask help form an impression of ‘self’ and ‘other’ in our minds. These ‘I am’s….’ that we exchange with each other help us to relate and each question asked builds an instantaneous picture, giving a sense of identity, interests and lifestyle.  For example:

What do you do?                        ‘I am an art consultant/I am an energy therapist’

Where do you come from?         ‘I am English, and I live in New York’

You can change your identity superficially by leaving your job without having the security of another to go to, or selling your home without any plans to find another, as I did. Either will most likely send a tremor of anxiety through your community of family and friends, and you may find that they attempt to lure you back by sending out tendrils of fear unconsciously designed to scare you back into the fold.  You will be breaking the accepted mold, leaving behind the identity that defines you to them, and which they have helped you forge.  You will probably find that you need to make adjustments as you create new relationships that reflect the movements in the axis of your existence. 

Evolutionary levels of transformation and the human response to it, will occur when you move from merely swopping or adding identities to undermining core positions and beliefs, and the supports that hold them in place. When you do this the ego will be seriously threatened and the nature of the ego-identity has to adapt or die.  Surface changes, like the ones mentioned above, can be the forerunners of the seismic movements that are going on in the inner planes of your being as you start dissolving the structures of your existence, and so too your I-dentity.  A signature of significant change is the dropping away of things, habits, and people whose presence in your life no longer resonate with you or serve you.  In relationships, if you can’t bridge the divides that can form as you change – and the onus falls on you to do this – then you will find that gradually your worlds drift apart.

As you embrace a new direction and challenge the nature of reality your extremely resilient ego is dented, but it takes on the changes as if it was going to gain from the direction you are taking.  It embraces this change from an intellectual place and creates a new identity as you embark on your search for the truth.  My ego-identity took on the identity of a spiritual path AND the spiritual seeker alongside the existing identities and the defended personality structures it already ruled.  It was happy!  It was behind this new venture!  Everything was under control, and all was well in its new world.  My interest in returning to Source had become something that my I-dentity, my ego, embraced as being fruitful to its long term wellbeing as an individual, even though it was not.  It didn’t recognize that it had everything to lose – that for it the perception of gain was just another illusion. 

Personally speaking, my journey is not unique.  Like many, I created a fabulous and strong ego that allowed me to successfully navigate the challenges that I met on my life’s path.  The impulse to awaken to the true nature of my being was not apparent to me and it didn’t start to emerge until I was in my 30s and I started to feel some dissatisfaction with what I was creating in my life. Whether we know it consciously or not, there is generally a subliminal pull that leads us, by hook or by crook, forward towards a reunion with Self. Until that point the ego, and its many masks, rules.  In my case it was never asked to step aside and allow what was behind the mask of identity to come through, because there was no awareness that there was anything other to relate with.  My identity until that time, had shifted, morphed, been knocked a little, but remained clear.  Looking back, I can chart how I, as an adult, moved through life and how I got to where I am today.  My true nature remained quietly hidden, waiting until I got fed up with the play that I had created. It has gone something like this:

  • I lived a materially successful and socially active life – I conformed with the accepted standards of my peers to a large degree.
  • I started to get panic attacks when some of the most painful relational woundings of my childhood began to appear in my adult relationships.  My passion for my work into which I had put 100% of my being was seriously compromised and I turned to the healing arts for help, through therapy and hands-on healing.
  • I connected, with the help of my healer, to parts of me that I never realized existed before or had forgotten – I experienced expanded states of being and became fascinated with quantum theories and realities.
  • I started to read about, train in, and experience other levels of existence. My awareness and my energetic container expanded enormously.
  • I found teachers who reflected to me the true nature of being and encouraged me as I stepped into the stream of the awakening path.  Their awake and aware consciousness helped me to evolve.
  • I stopped planning, dropped structure, and went with the flow of Life.   I sold my apartment and put all my belongings with the exception of a suitcase of clothes into storage and I traveled to places around the world that I felt called to visit. 
  • I lost my sense of the personal; my sense of being in any way special; my identity with a spiritual or any other path; my templates for existence, and my identity.

It wasn’t until the supports that maintained the drama of my existence began to crumble that the ego’s throttle-hold on my life weakened, and so did my sense of identity.  But it wasn’t until the core veils went that held me in separation from Self, that the nature of my journey shifted.  I had had transcendent experiences, tastes of bliss or emptiness that felt like they must be what enlightenment is all about, but until the structures of separation disappeared, I didn’t recognize that these were little more than expanded states, amazing experiences that have very little to do with true awakening.  My I-dentity remained intact until the intellectual understanding dropped from my head and traveled right through my heart into the core of existence.  Often, for this to happen, you are called to face your greatest fear – the one that holds your deepest life-long wounding – and this is what happened for me too.  Only by surrendering did the structures that I had thought were there to protect me reveal themselves to be keeping me from my heart’s desire for reunion with the Beloved, the Creator of All that Is, and with this awareness they dissolved.  When this happens there is no choice but to wake up from your dream to the reality that there is ‘no one’ there. 

Firstly, and most importantly, you wake up to the knowledge that there is no personal I-dentity with who you were.  When you actively hunt for it in the corridors and rooms of your existence there is no ‘I’.  I was then aware that I am nothing but an expression of the pulse of creation. This knowing was slim at the beginning, but as I started to live life from this place, embodying it as fully as I could, each aspect of identity that had built up over the course of my life started to crumble.  For me it was two years from a point where I recognized that the Identity had gone to a point where I had embodied this awareness to a place of real understanding.  Like me, you may feel echoes of your identity through the conditioned responses that still trigger you – and language demands that you refer to it all the time – but the seeker, the do-er, the sense of personal, they go, along with other aspects of your being.  For me, one amazing part of this was in finding commonality with beautiful or mundane lifeforms around me, and really seeing that with the ‘death’ of my ego-identity I was just another essence expressed in Life, no different from any other, and part of the whole.

This life is a journey, that’s for sure! The death of the identity is not The End.  It is one step deeper into The Mystery!

©2009 Sarah Lidsey. All rights reserved.


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