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  • Samantha Patschke

I don’t identify. I am. May 23, 2023

Identity is the sense of self that often guides your judgement. It can influence your mood and your behavior. A description of your identity defines who and what you are. Sounds good right?

Lets look at three reasons that we should consider before doing so.

1. It puts you in a box. When you identify it cements a way of thinking in your mind on a subconscious level. The loyalty and ties you have to that identity will ultimately influence how and when you would like to change. What at the beginning is freeing ends up being a jail to break free from.

2. You don’t owe any thing to anyone. You have no need to identify because you have no need to explain yourself. Everyone you choose to share your life with should respect and care about you enough to understand that. You could choose to be a vegetarian today, part of the LGBTQ community tomorrow. This is your life. You live it. Most people will only ever understand you from their point of view anyway.

3. Identification separates you from the world you are in. From your identification you begin to judge those that identify differently and now you have created a them and us. This dynamic of classification and judgement bring deep hurt into a world needing healing.

4.In life, everything is inevitably changing. Even life itself is temporary and changing. Everything at your fingertips, everything you see and touch, everything you think is right/wrong, is going to change. Adaptability to these changes is key to success. When you bog down your flexibility with identity you ultimately make it harder on yourself.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali pinpoints asmita (sometimes translated as ego) as a disturbance of the mind. Asmita happens when you identify with parts of yourself that will change, whether you like it or not. Your marriage will change. Your body will change. Your children will change. Your financial situation will change. Your sexuality will change. You will change. He motivates us to instead find the quiet place within us that does not change. This unchanging part of ourselves is known as the seer. When you reach to place an identity upon the seer you imprison him/her thus causing the disturbance. Free from this disturbance you can stay true to purusa (the Self, the unchanging ). In the Christian faith, in the book of Exodus, Moses flees to the countryside. He gets married and has an entire life built. When he is called to action by God, he is doubtful. As with what he identifies is ripped away, he has to take on a new character. He goes from husband and son-in-law to freer of slaves in Egypt. He struggles with the change. He questions and rebels against God. He doubts himself and his capacity. He doubts God and His power. He asks God a question: When I am in front of my bothers and sisters in Egypt and I call on them in Your name to follow me and to be freed from their oppression, they will ask me for your name, what should I respond? 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14). I am is whom needs no identity because He is the unchanging and the everlasting. When our only attachment is to the unchanging, we can ebb and flow with the transformations that our creator is asking of us. We are free to focus on our purpose, free from bondage.

Ask yourself: Who am I?

Answer: I am a mother.

Ask yourself: Was there ever a time I was not a mother?

Ask yourself: Who am I?

Answer: I am a daughter.

Ask yourself: Will there be a time I am not a daughter?

Ask yourself: Who am I?

Answer: I am a teacher.

Ask yourself: Will I always be a teacher?

As we eliminate the fleeting, short-lived identities we are left with only one identity that never changes. I am.

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