Not only are you not your problems, you are not your to do list, you are not your accomplishments, you are not your possessions, you are not all the things you think you will do. Who you really are is not defined by your outer life or your ego attachment to it.
We tend to define ourselves by all of our “doing” in the material world because it demands so much of our focus — it is right there in our physical faces day in and day out, but that is not our true self.
Years of personal development and deep soul searching on my hidden beliefs led me years ago to the realization that I had the tendency to define my value as a person based on the things I had accomplished or the possessions I owned. I had to continuously keep my plate full of activities because if I was not doing something, then I silently felt like I did not have worth. Totally wrong thinking, but it still can show up no matter how much I think I have worked on it.
This topic came up for me again recently as I am reading a new book by spiritual teacher Loch Kelly. The book is entitled Shift Into Freedom — The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness and I am going through it in preparation for an upcoming interview with him on my online radio show. I recommend it (both the book and the program!).
The book is a good mixture of spiritual theory and spiritual practice. He has exercises at the end of each chapter to highlight the spiritual experience he is discussing. One of the early exercises calls for one to close their eyes and reflect on the question “what is here now if there is no problem to solve?”
Well, what is? True reflection upon the question points to the fact that there is a personal identification with our actions, our doing-ness, our problems. If we take these away, then we are left with our no longer linking our self with our story in this life. What then? Who is left at that point? Your true identity transcends your name, your history, your interactions in this world. Who you really are is an eternal spiritual being that is not tied to this life.
To some, that might sound crazy or scary. But the reality is that it is really freeing. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need to release all of your obligations and responsibilities in life, but it does mean that it gives you greater clarity about your real role in all of that aspect of your life. You may find that the drive for material stuff may lessen, that enormous problems may not be really that big a deal. You may find that you desire to take on actions to assist others and the world with a sense of ease and freedom. Knowing your true self is part of your evolutionary path.
So remember to stop each day and remind yourself, you are not your problems.