A True and a False Identity
Here and now, in this physical world, we are human beings. The term ‘human being’ is made of two parts, which reflect our two identities: the human and the Being. One might say we have a false and a true identity. And both are needed in this play which we call life. Mastery of life is a matter of finding balance between our human and our true inner being.
All the roles that we play – mother, father, brother, daughter or son or friend – belong to the human dimension. They have their place: they’re needed to balance our karmic account, but in themselves they’re not enough to make our life feel meaningful or fulfilled. This is where the other identity, Being, needs to come to the fore. And this is to be found in the still, alert presence of consciousness itself, the consciousness that we are. To truly live up to our full potential, we need to get in touch with our inner being, our soul, a drop of God.
Eckhart Tolle writes in his book A New Earth:
Once there is a certain degree of Presence, of still and alert attention in human beings’ perceptions, and we start sensing the divine life essence or soul in every creature, every life form, we will recognize it as one with our own essence and start loving all creatures as part of ourselves. Until this happens, most humans see only the outer forms, unaware of the inner essence, just as they are unaware of their own essence and identify only with their own physical and psychological form.
Mystics often tell us that this human form is the biggest gift that God can give to the soul. It is something rare and precious because only in this human form can we come to know the essence of our true being and become reunited with our source. In the teachings of the Shabd Masters we learn that there are 8,400,000 different species of life forms on this planet alone, all going through the cycle of birth and death and rebirth. Each and every living being is given life through that drop of indwelling consciousness or soul.
On her downward journey from her source Soul, our true being, adopted mind when she entered the causal region. This region belongs to the three worlds that are driven by the law of karma. Without the mind soul cannot function on these lower levels of consciousness. In the beginning when soul and mind became joined, mind was still pure and clean. But as it travelled downward, it started losing touch with its purer state of consciousness. And mind soon got a will of its own, called Ego.
Eckhart Tolle describes our predicament:
The word “I” embodies the greatest error and the deepest truth, depending on how it is used. In conventional usage, it is not only one of the most frequently used words in the language (together with the related words: me, my, mine and myself) but also one of the most misleading. In normal everyday usage, “I” embodies the primordial error, a misperception of who you are, an illusory sense of identity. This is the Ego.… That illusory self then becomes the basis for all further interpretations, or rather misinterpretations of reality, all thought processes, interactions, and relationships. Your reality becomes a reflection of the original illusion.
But the good news, Tolle goes on to say, is that if we can recognize the illusion as illusion, it dissolves. Its survival depends on our mistaking it for reality.
Who can help us to dissolve this false conception of who we are? In order to get in touch with our true being we need to conquer this ego that pretends to be our true self. How to do that we wouldn’t really know, but luckily we know of Beings that are fully aware of that pure godly drop inside every living creature. These are the living Masters. And so, our next big gift in life is meeting such a perfect living saint, a God-realized soul, and getting initiated by him. By following the instructions of this spiritual guide, we can be freed from the bondage of body and mind. After eventually conquering the ego, the soul will recognize its true identity and merge back into universal love and consciousness.
Our soul, having incarnated into various bodies, has had the opportunity to experience many different forms of life. But now she starts feeling trapped in her relationship with the mind. By this time Soul is getting progressively restless and unhappy. She has finally had enough of Ego and all its dramas, and feels an inner pull to go within and become truly peaceful and happy. Let’s imagine that in her earnest wish to become free, Soul writes Ego a letter:
I am breaking up with you. No more circular discussions and endless distractions – we are through. This is not an emotional decision. It actually doesn’t feel like a decision at all. We’ve been drifting apart for some time now, and whatever once kept us together isn’t there anymore.
It won’t do you any good to turn on your charm. Don’t bother trying to fill my head with thoughts about how great we are together or how lost I’d be without you. It took me a long time to figure you out. Like so many unhappy couples, I know we drifted into our own little worlds and for the longest time I mistook it for reality. But now I vaguely remember what life was like before I met you. Actually it’s more a feeling than a memory, a feeling of freedom. It’s a sense of spaciousness, the kind children must feel, before their heads become filled with worldly nonsense, before their sense of wonder disappears, before they begin to imitate the behaviour of the troubled souls around them.
I don’t expect any of this makes sense to you. It never has before. You always have to define things, slot them into categories. But this is something that is not easily explained. It’s beyond words. I know, I know, you hate it when I talk like this, when I challenge your rigid view of things.
Please pack your things and leave the keys on the table. When I come home later, all I want to hear is the sound of you being gone. I’m going to lose myself in the spacious silence, forget where I begin and where I end. You said something to me once. You said I’d be nothing without you. Remember? Well, I want to end this on a positive note and tell you that you were right. Without you I am nothing. Nothing at all. If it weren’t for all the hell I went through because of you, I would have never arrived at this momentous conclusion. So thank you – even if you have no clue about what I’ve just said.
In truth though, what the soul needs is for the mind (which gave birth to Ego) to be on her side, to become her friend. This will happen only through the practice of the teachings of the Masters, when mind itself becomes pure and enlightened – when the nature of the mind reverts from lower to higher mind and it travels with the soul back to its home in the second spiritual region. This is when the soul will become free to be her true self, her spiritual self. And this will become possible only if we practise going within through our Shabd meditation, guided by a true living Master. Becoming one with our inner Master will finally make us free.