Identity and consciousness

I am, and I am not.

If I declare “I am”, then I am also declaring “I am not” at the same time.

If I say that I am something, then I am also saying that I am not something else. This is duality as I understand it. But there is also non-duality. I would like to propose that there is a tension and balance between duality and non-duality.

For example, from a dualistic perspective, I can choose to say that I am a Chinese by race, which is one of the artificial social constructs we often use in a societal system to label ourselves and others. So, if I say I am a Chinese, that means I am also saying that I am not a non-Chinese; that is, I am not Malay, Indian, and so on. Similarly, from the same perspective, if I say that I am a male, by virtue of the fact that I am born with masculine characteristics, I am also saying that I am not a female, or androgynous for that matter, if I were to subscribe to cis-genderism. For some reasons, I was born in this human body that is considered “male” and recognised by the society as “Chinese”, which I have no control over. Whether this social identity is considered “privileged” depends on whether I was born into a society that is patriarchal, or a society that is dominated by a certain majority race, and so on.

At the same time, from a non-dualistic perspective, I can say that I am neither this nor that. That is to say, I am – in essence – neither Chinese nor non-Chinese, and I am neither male nor female. This is because before I came into existence as a human being on planet earth in this time and space, I am that which is raceless, genderless, timeless and formless, who came from an unknown, mysterious realm.

I suppose the challenge for me is: how do I balance between the two “polarities” as I try to make sense of my existence on this earthly realm? How do I consciously use my multifaceted identities to effect change and make the world a better, more humane and more equitable place?

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Awakening to our real identity

eckhart tolle quote - a new earth

Yes, awakening is a process, so it is natural and understandable that we no longer are driven by what drives the world, such as status, achievements, and so on, as we embark on an ongoing journey of discovering our outer purpose. I decided to google to find out what he meant by inner and outer purpose, and I learnt from this article that our inner purpose is Being whereas our outer purpose is Doing, and I agree somewhat with this statement: “Outer purpose can change over time and is unique for every person. Inner purpose can shed light on your outer purpose”.

I believe our part is to focus on and rest in our inner purpose of being who we really are – the eternal, authentic, timeless, magnificent divine self – and embrace and love ourselves for who we really are, and we will naturally be living and aligning ourselves with our outer purpose in the here and now. For some reasons, this adage somehow came to mind – “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Maybe it sums up the primary purpose of life – to live in the present moment with wide open wonder and awake to and relish the everyday miracles of breathing the fresh air, enjoying the trees and flowers, and the rest are secondary.

“So many of us are trying to be somebody, accomplish something…. But sometimes we get to a point where we give up on all of that… because achieving and obtaining things… feels kind of pointless after a while.

So we start letting go of things we don’t even like… people who don’t totally love us… stuff we just don’t care about…. Then we end up creating space for ourself… space to feel… and be… whatever we want….

And that’s when we wake up. We wake up to this blissful, tranquil, higher consciousness… which is really just our self…. our real, honest, perfectly imperfect self…. And we find out we were there all along….

When we reconnect with our honest self, then we automatically feel so much love for life and everyone…. Because we’re not miserable anymore. We realize how miserable it was to live a fake life… and that’s something we can’t ever go back to.”

– Elizabeth Dahl Kingery

Yes, the societal notions of “somebody” and “accomplish something” are based on subjective opinions of other people regarding what they deem as important in life, but we are all here to live our soul purpose and create our own meaning, and so we can choose not to subscribe to societal expectations of us. Indeed, achieving and obtaining things feels pointless after a while because the statuses, titles, material possessions and so on are impermanent and are subject to change or decay over time, and do not add to or define who we are in our true essence.  Thus, it is truly liberating to see through the illusion of material success, artificial identities, social constructs and separateness to realise our “real, honest, perfectly imperfect self” is there within us all along, and realise that regardless of what we do in life, where we were born, and which gender we are considered to belong to, and so on, we are all equal and we are all one.