Reframing Our Identity

  Who are we?  Some of us identify ourselves as Americans.  We have a particular skin tone.  We have an area of expertise that enables us to earn a living.  We are male or female.  We have a genetic makeup that has determined the authentic color of our eyes, hair and, to some extent, the length of our life.  We have been born into a particular socio-economic level of society.

     We have a certain self-image.  Our environmental teachers have imprinted us with values, habits, disciplines and characteristics of our sub-culture.  Others have an image of us that may vary widely in content depending on the predispositions and objectivity of those doing the analysis.  The list of tributaries to our river of consciousness is lengthy and frequently beyond our capacity to trace.  Still the question has remained throughout time, who are we?   From whence have we come?

     We have heard the arguments supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution as well as those who support the notion of “Intelligent Design,” but little can be gained by either thesis.  Pinpointing the accurate source of the genesis of human life will not motivate people to develop wholesome attitudes and healthy lifestyles.

     According to some theologians, Jesus was born of a virgin whose egg was fertilized by God.  Regardless of the issues involved with the DNA of Jesus, did his origin really matter to his reasoning processes or the growth of his identity?  Had his consciousness not awakened – an experience that had nothing to do with the origin of his biological body – would he have remained a carpenter?  For that matter, had his mother been a prostitute, would Jesus have had less of an impact on humanity?  We must remember that who Jesus was came not only from his self-understanding, but also from the way his followers perceived him.

     We can develop our tales and mythologies, even shrouding them with sacred references of our divine origin, but they may only supply a source for framing our perspective of who we are.  What have we been wired or designed to accomplish?  For example, will we be the one to suggest that many of our genes appear dormant because they are timed to awaken when our species is in a more advanced stage of evolution?  Will we be the creator of the transducer technology that will enable human beings to convert thought transmissions into matter?

     Our imaginations produce the fertile soil that provides guidance for realizing our human potential.  Think back over the last 10,000 years when hunter-gathers slowly evolved their cultures and societies.  As millenniums passed there were no rivals to the cultural supremacy of Athens.  Who would have imagined that the small Italian city of Rome would rule the world for centuries?  When we add to these considerations people walking on the moon, our endless search of the universe through the eyes of Hubble and the budding applications of nano-technology, we realize that humanity has only scratched the surface of the potential that waits.

     Alongside the dynamic, dramatic and fragile material world is a reality we cannot see.  This invisible world lies hidden beyond our senses.  From this source of creativity humanity expresses itself through music, art and literature.  We can grow communities and develop institutions where learning and diversity are welcomed and treasured.  Yet, we are also the creators of computer viruses, pornography, particle beams, stealth weapons and dark desires that  can limit our striving to the confines of the material world.  This is the matrix, the world of Yin and Yang, the environment where carnal choices may arrive without warning and destroy us.

     Reframing the issue of identity may not be as difficult as it first appears.  We have both worlds within us, the invisible world of spirit and the very visible world of solid forms.  The gurus, teachers and sages of every generation have paved the way to spiritual evolution by their insights and observations.

     We are spirit beings who are infinite.  Understanding this unique orientation or framework is not essential for it to be true.  Each time we make a selection from the menu of our potential opportunities, we are choosing what will mold our values and create the habits that will liberate us or hold us as prisoners in the world of form.

     Every sin found in sacred writ has been accompanied by dire warnings against cultivating such appetites.  The reasons are self-evident.  They will confine our energy patterns to the world of form.  Socrates, Plato and Aristotle taught this. Jesus instructed his listeners that a person would achieve nothing even if he or she gained control over the entire world. (Matthew 16:26)

     When Jesus confided that he had overcome the world, this was not an insight inspired by the divinity many of his followers ascribed to him.  He had unraveled the mystery of the physical world.  He had reframed it and in reframing it, Jesus learned that the material world, where everything changes, offers us nothing of permanence.  He was telling his followers what would later be retold in fairytale form, “The emperor has no clothes.”  He invited humankind to awaken and see the world for what it is, a temporary environment to sharpen our timeless skills of spirit.

     Reframing our identities enables us to realize that the spirit of doing the humblest of tasks is as important as faithfully managing the holdings of giant corporations.  Jesus taught, “Be careful that you do not remain attracted to the things of this world that moth and rust will eventually destroy.  Remember that where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also.  You cannot serve two masters.  Seek first what is not of this world and everything you desire will be yours as well.”

     The life patterns for thousands of years have documented the lives and memories of those who tried to master the world of form.  Only the wise have seen the irony of such a pursuit.  Even now, more wannabes are lined up, believing that if they can ascend the heights of beauty, fame, power and fortune, they will have achieved life’s ultimate goal.  Yet, what skills of spirit have they developed that will serve them when they transition from this world?

     When we reframe our identities as spirit beings living in a material world of form, our pursuits, our treasure, our dreams and our levels of skill will be filled with timeless symbols of compassion and kindness rather than the symbols of economic freedom.  As we sow, i.e., as our loving energy flows away from us, so shall we reap.  The material context where we extend our loving energy will not matter.  While still living in a very primitive state, this is who we are.