Thursday, March 8, 2012

Recognizing the Being in ourselves and others

Pedestrian bridge
What is your perceived identity?  A mother, father, son, sister, plumber, preacher or teacher?  It likely also revolves around nationality, race, religion, gender and possessions. Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth: Awakening your life's purpose suggests that these are all just thoughts and mental constructs of what he defines as the "egoic self".  By identifying with these things and roles we appropriate them to ourselves and consequently are consumed with working to strengthen these identities. So we feel an illusion of strengthening ourselves through our jobs, the clothes we wear, cars we drive, and even the people with whom we associate. This longing for identity outside of ourselves feeds a consumer society. Our egoic self drives us to consume more, seeks to gain popularity and rise up the ranks in society.

Hennepin Avenue Bridge
Eckhart Tolle contrasts the egoic self to our core state of Being.  When we are able to move our focus to our Being, we are no longer bound by identification.  It is this state of Being to which Jesus claims identity; simply defined as "I Am".  When we are focused on Being, we listen for the still small voice of God, rather than the incessant chatter that often occupies our minds.

As we calm the chatter of our minds, then we are more fully recognize others for who they are as equally valid and important.  We need not be in competition, believing one of us is right and the other wrong.  As Father James Boyle with Homeboy Industries likes to observe, there is no "us and them", there is only "us".  We are all kin, whatever our color, age, gender or creed.

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