My last blog talked about identity transformation, a universal life experience in which we choose to alter who we are and how we express ourselves in the outer world; that is, we change our being not just our behaviour.
Identity has been foremost on my mind as I recently attended my 40th high school reunion where I witnessed both outer and inner identity change in several of my former classmates. Incredibly these ‘being’ changes on a class scale brought us all closer together. Certainly, old friendships were easily renewed. But just as pleasant were the new discoveries made with those whom I barely knew in high school. I became most conscious of the inclusiveness of the entire group. No more did the ‘peer hierarchy’ exist where arbitrary classifications like popularity or physical beauty or athleticism cast the die of group belonging.
As Canadians, we are privileged to live within a relatively class-free society, but we delude ourselves if we think class barriers do not exist within our national boundaries. However, I was deeply touched by everyone’s warm welcomes and grateful to experience the equality I have fought for since childhood. In order for my classmates to embrace such group openness, each in his or her way has undergone considerable identity change. It was my privilege to hear their transformative stories, and like my own, they echoed challenge, success and suffering. Even more importantly, they echoed a loving kindness, which necessitated the relinquishing of ego’s need for control, approval and judgment.
If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the
internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control,
the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three
things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware
of them every time they come up. Deepak Chopra
I am heartened to once again discover I am not alone on this journey to joy, and doubly reminded that all external barriers such as social or economic class are merely outer reflections of our ego’s insecurity. When we are able to shed our fears, the payback is immeasurable.
Once I measured success
by the size of my bank account,
the number of friends and clients I counted,
how often the phone rang, the accolades I accrued.
Somewhere along the passing years,
these hollow markers gave way,
crumbling into ashes.
Who remained standing was not the same.
The old cloak of status no longer fit the new frame.
Fame and fortune were discarded for freedom.
How do I measure this immeasurable?
With loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, joy.
As the Beatles so aptly sang, “All we need is love” and, I would add, diligence in thwarting each attempt of the ego to move us off our path to joy.
What one action can you take today to release your need for control and instead accept Life’s offerings? To drop your approval-seeking? To eradicate your judgment of others?