Identity, the Self and Finding Your Higher Purpose

Too many things nowadays are outsourced—you are outsourcing maybe your happiness to outside circumstances.

Once you spend time with yourself, investigating, the inside (Self) comes.

Shi Heng Yi

Some people go their entire lives without satisfying their fulfilling, true purpose. While they may reach contentment, it may be they have become complacent, and settled for comfort—a life they convinced themself they want because it fills a commendable social role.

Though in some way, deep in their soul, the know they are lacking, and use distractions as a coping mechanism to avoid examining the issue head-on.

This post is the last in a three-part series on becoming refined (soul ascension) and how that provides you insight into your Devine-inspired true calling. It is also an excerpt from my upcoming e-Book, Conscious Consumption.

When you can tap into the Self, Devine inspiration will come. And when you follow and channel it, you will be fulfilled. You just need to surrender and assoil yourself of your afflictions, whatever they may be. Let go of (self) concepts, ideals and worldly attachments (obsessions), and judgement altogether.

(Self) Identification

More than anything else, self-identity – and being misaligned with it – is what had fucked me up in the past. Yes, I would get depressed because I wasn’t taking the actions I needed to bring myself into congruence with who I saw myself as. But therein laid the problem—conceptions of the self in the first place.

I view identifying with a self-concept to begin with as the real issue. Your heart knows who you are and what it is that fulfills you, but the role you convince yourself you must fill is a manifestation of the mind.

All the daily tasks you tell yourself you must accomplish to fulfill your ‘duty,’ deemed by the mind and likely also society, may be off-putting and unexciting because this identity is not a construct of your soul.

For example, there was a years-long stretch in which is told myself I wanted to be an electronic music producer. I can still remember the video that sparked that inspiration in me because it send chills throughout my being—it was a video of pop artist Mike Posner producing and singing over a cover versions of Beyonce’s ‘Halo.’

However, though for years I tried my hand at digital music production – and did indeed improve my skills – I never really found the drive to go full force and relentlessly pursue it.

Despite the inspiration I received when I first saw that video, that resonated on a core level (music has always been my true calling), a lot of my motivations were actually ego-driven instead of for the benefit of society—i.e., I wanted to “make it” and be a household name, rather than be of service to the world.

Even though I knew I would use whatever influence I was able to garner to spread positivity and compassion.

I think that’s why I would procrastinate and put off the measures I needed to align with – what I believed to be – my role or self-identity. However, though the soul had insight into what I actually needed to feel whole, it was the mind that made me discontented, depressed, and thus made me fixate on worldly, sensory stimulation to derive pleasure.

I just wasn’t on the right path, and these obsessions were preventing me from achieving mental clarity, and finding it.

When you can detach your spirit and consciousness from the thoughts and impulses of the mind, the true Self can be content, at peace with just being in any environment. And that’s when insight comes, or when you can really get to work examining.

Sitting with the Self

If you want to see what the quality of your life actually is, put down the drink, put down the computer, put down the smartphone, put down the book, put down the headphones, and just sit by yourself doing nothing.

Then you will know what the quality of your life actually is, because that’s what you’re always running away from—that’s why people when they try to meditate to sit down like, “I hate it, I can’t sit still.”

Why? Because your mind is eating you alive. Your life is unexamined, your mind is running in loops over things that it has not resolved, desires you have that have gone unmet, contradictions you’re living, or ways which you feel trapped.

Naval Ravikant

When I was in the worst throes of my addiction, sitting like this was almost something inconceivable. Sure, I was doing multiple hour-plus-long qigong sessions each day, but those practices mostly relied on at least some minimal movement, not absolute stillness.

There had been times in the past when I regularly practiced a 20-minute seated heartfulness meditation, but didn’t stick with. I remember feeling the benefits, and how it seemed to make my soul and body lighter, but I think my “unexamined mind” running in loops during the practice prevented me from achieving all of the substantial conscious mind-refinement.

However, when I started practicing zhan zhuang is when all that changed. Besides just the physical benefits I’ve discussed before on the blog – like bringing your awareness to areas in the body you hold tension – the impact on my awareness was profound.

Though not a seated meditation, the practice is stationary. It’s rough translation in english is “standing like a tree,” in which you ground your “roots” or feet and legs to the earth, with arms outstretched, as if embracing a tree trunk.

It’s widely-recommended to practice for at least 20 minutes at a time, but the less time you tell your mind you will practice, the less it will be likely to wander. I started with a five-minute session, which at first even was challenging.

Despite daily habitual qigong practice for nearly two years, just staying stationary while focusing the mind in the body was difficult—it wouldn’t be more than a minute before I would catch my mind drifting.

But as always, I used the breath to bring my focus back to the body. Deep, abdominal breathing, focusing on the in and out-breath brought my attention to the dan tian, or gravity center. Which in turn gave me insights into where blockages were within my body.

Physiological awareness brings self-awareness. By being conscious of the sensations occurring in the body, the mind becomes attuned to the here and now, rather than occupied by past or future occurrences or other abstractions disconnected with the present.

Balance, Recognition and Moderation

Your biases and your preferences and your emotional reactions will never lead you to a place of finding meaning in life. Only to a place of defending the development of the sense of self and avoiding any kind of higher purpose whatsoever.

But if you have free will and you can separate yourselves from the biases, the preferences and emotional reactions, you will gradually start to find some kind of purpose, because you will gravitate towards that which is more correct for you.

Damo Mitchell

Mind traffic means all sorts of thoughts and impulses. Whether material obsessions, expectations (hopes or worries) about the future, or regret or longing for the past, it’s any mental complexity that undermines your conscious presence.

Again, the mental inventory exercise outlined above is the best way I’ve found to detach from cognitive, emotive loops. It helps transform your subconscious intentions into your conscious intention, where these ruminations, instincts, impulses can then be worked with and brought to your attention—and finally, removed.

When disturbing thoughts and images come from your subconscious intention into your awareness (or conscious intention), it’s important not to bludgeon them and suppress them back into the subconscious—that’s what you’ve been doing in all instances in waking life.

Instead, become conscious of them, investigate them briefly, and let them pass freely. Pure attention is more about stepping back from your mind, using this kind of detached observing, than it is about focusing it. Thoughts, ideals and roles that you identify with can then be conjured into your awareness, and expelled, if you so wish.

You don’t have to kill them entirely; what you should seek is non-attachment. As quoted, just bringing them into your periphery will loosen the grip they have, and you can dissociate yourself from the things and ideals you currently identify and are infatuated with.

When you become aware of the thoughts and impulses swirling in your mind, you also become conscious of your future expectations and (pre)conceptions.

Freedom from identification and learned concepts also means liberation from expectations. And when you can forget about the future, aren’t shrouded by impulses 24/7, and just be open to the present experience, things and roles will fall into your lap. And they will be that much more fulfilling because they came naturally from the Devine above.

Then, it’s just a matter of recognizing the signs.

Channeling the Devine to Find Your Path

When you begin to live from the realization that you’ve been given the gift of giving the gifts you’ve been given, you can step into your role as a divine conduit. Then, all things are presented to you and you present them out, totally in harmony and engaged with heaven.

So, if the beyond calls you to do [it], you have to obey. And we don’t know why, we don’t need to know why exactly, we just need to know that it feels honest, and true, and that it fulfills us.

Deng Ming Dao

There are several ways to find what is true to you, and what will be most fulfilling.

First, you can try sitting alone with your thoughts, examining your mind – as described earlier – and see what comes about. Even if at first it’s not revealed to you, this practice will offer you other benefits.

Another method, which has served me well in the past, is to put your trust in signs from the Almighty.

For example, several years ago while laying in bed before dozing off, I was watching a YouTube video demonstrating Hoy Chi, a hands-on body-healing treatment vaguely similar to chiropractic adjustment and loosely-related to acupressure that opens up energy (Qi) blockages and thus improves physical health and vitality.

I was watching several videos on practice around that time because I had become attracted to holistic medicine, and was considering pursuit of a role as a holistic healer, i.e., physical therapist, body worker, herbalist, etc.

While the video was playing, the light bulbs on my ceiling fan flickered several times, something that had never happened before, and didn’t occur thereafter.

Sure, I could have chalked it up to mere coincidence, but that fact that I was strongly considering dedicating myself to alternative medicine at that point, I read it as more than happenstance—in my mind, there’s no doubt it was Devine intervention.

A similar incident happened years later, when I was awoke in the middle of the night. I typically wake up at least once in the early hours of the morning to relieve myself, but this time, audio was playing via the YouTube streaming app on my cell.

Though I often listen to lectures or audiobooks on it before drifting asleep, this time, instead of playback stopping at the end of the video, the player was shuffling randomly through my ‘favorites’ playlist.

This video that was playing when I woke was a tutorial on the basics of cranio-sacral therapy I had saved but not yet watched, another holistic healing modality I was intrigued by after first reading about it.

I probably wouldn’t have looked too far into this instance in itself, but considered what had occurred a few years prior with the hoy chi video, and the shared subject matter, in my mind, it was confirmation—my life’s purpose was to help heal.

You don’t need to believe in ‘God’ in the traditional sense in order to receive and heed signs from the universe.

When you know your soul’s purpose, your emotional attachments and linear behaviors fall by the wayside. When you are on the right path, it becomes easy to not fall victim to these impulses and things that don’t serve you.

However, the irony is that you must strip them away one-by-one in order to arrive at your Devine calling.

Stop distracting yourself, look around right where you are, and see what needs to be done. Not what do I want to do, but what is the work that needs to be done? It’s like, “what can I do today that would be of service?”

Look at the life [and opportunities] you were given, look at the people around you, look at the jobs, that present themselves to you and do that job simply and honorably, one day at a time, with a kind of humility.

And then finding that, of trying to be of service, and not really going for recognition, can sometimes lead to what people call success, although that wasn’t what you were aiming for—and it’s all the more beautiful when it’s not what you’re aiming for.

Dr. Anna Lembke

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