Human identity and the meaning of life

How can I describe a human being?

Imagine pure white light. Now imagine that you take a filter and place it in front of the light, changing its colour and giving it a certain quality. It is no longer infinite, containing all possible colours, but rather has been limited, defined, shaped into something specific. That is how what we call ‘identity’ is formed. There are many filters which make up our identity. The most basic filter is the human filter: we perceive our world through human senses interpreted by a human brain. Next, we add the filter of sex, which limits us to male or female. This also affects our perception and understanding of the world. From there, we add the filters of biology, ethnicity, race, religion, culture, nationality, age, class, political orientation, personal type (Enneagram, numerology, Myers-Briggs, etc.), personal history (childhood and family relations), eventually going into such minute details as job, home, possessions, tastes and preferences, mood, and so on. By this point the light has taken on a very colourful, very unique shade, still beautiful but far removed from its original state. None of these labels describe our true identity, yet they help us tell a story about who we are.

In truth, the ‘I’ that is reading this sentence, having this experience, is infinite consciousness, an ever-burning fire and light, and all human beings originate from this same light. We could also say a human is a pattern, a channel, an interface, a point of transformation. Enlightenment means removing the filters, one by one, until we return to the source of pure light. Disidentifying with the stories and filters is like inviting a great wind to blow away the clouds of consciousness, presenting us the full radiance of the original light.

Each individual person could be seen as a narrow band on the spectrum of consciousness, a very specific colour in a vast rainbow of human life. Our desires in life mostly come from a drive to unite with/consume/absorb and include other parts of the spectrum based on the filters which we are missing. This is why we search out a mate who appears to give us the qualities we feel that we lack. The sex filter is the most primary of all filters, which is why the drive to unite with the complementary sexual energy is so strong. The most basic fear is that another part of the spectrum will consume or overwhelm us, or that our particular ray of light will not be recognized and be allowed to shine through. All fear comes from ignorance – of the other points on the spectrum, and of our true identity. All fears and desires are unnecessary, and are dissolved by wisdom and understanding.

The better you understand your own individual pattern/filter/interface, the more fully you can fulfill your evolutionary purpose in this lifetime. The filter is not fixed or static; it can be changed, shaped and moulded, retooled and cleaned up through inner work and life experience. In fact, it is always undergoing changes whether we make them consciously or not. It is affected by contextual factors – by our environment in the broadest sense, by interactions with other people, by joyful and painful experiences, and by reflection, introspection and self work.

Identity requires definition, and to define means to limit. The more defined we are as individual persons – i.e. the more we have developed our ego – the more limited we are and the more we exclude other parts of the spectrum. Yet it seems that, as Jung noted, we must first understand the personal unconscious before we can transcend it and explore the collective unconscious. We must first know our personal self, and see it for what it is: a mask, as if worn by a character in a play, before we can go beyond it to the higher Self. Some people have had their patterns scattered, attacked, discounted or threatened in childhood. They carry this negative energy with them and they either pass it onto others, suffer in silence, complain, or deny and repress it. Others spend their days wandering around lost, never really understanding their full pattern.

There is an energy flow between the Spirit world and the human world, and as human beings we are an energy exchange interface standing on the threshold of both worlds. Through human consiousness, each one of is a gateway to Spirit, a unique interface existing in the human realm (the outer world) but originating in the Spirit realm (the inner world). Energy flows both ways: everything that happens in the outer world has a corresponding effect in the inner world, and vice versa. Sensory information is picked up in the outer world and sent to the inner, while intuition, inspiration and creativity is received from the inner and given expression in the outer. I suspect that altered states of consciousness such as sleep and deep meditation may play a part in this energy exchange. Ultimately, there is nothing strange, foreign or threatening ‘out there’ that does not also exist ‘in here’. This is why it is so vitally important to do inner work, to learn and understand oneself and become as comfortable as possible with one’s inner life, so that one can effectively respond to all the demands of outer life.

The most potent form of energy available to human beings is conscious attention. Paying attention to something, in either the inner or outer world, is a form of giving energy to it. Some people, for example, are able to attract a lot of attention from others and they feed off this energy. We call them celebrities, stars, big shots. Others are neglected and overlooked and they struggle to get the psychic attention they need to feel loved. We call them the downtrodden, the poor and helpless. All beings in the manifest world deserve energy and attention, and everything that comes into our conscious awareness is something that we are meant to pay attention to. There are no accidents; every experience is an opportunity for evolution, deepening and growth. Many times we refuse the offer, preferring to stay within the confines of our comfort zone, but in order to evolve and fully realize our destiny we must take on challenges that test our skills and push us outside our normal comfort zone to achieve something new and re-integrate it into ourselves, and thus the higher, universal Self. I believe this is the heroic journey that Joseph Campbell speaks about. On a grander scale, all of history in the expanding universe is a grand heroic journey to discover and realize the full potential of life and creation. As individual humans, we don’t need to take or even understand the full magnitude of this grand heroic journey. We only need to accept and life our own personal heroic journey.

So what is our purpose in life?

Our purpose is to figure out, based on our specific individual life circumstances (i.e. our filter) what it is that we are here to pay attention to and experience. We are all storytellers, each contributing a few verses to be woven together in the great story of the universe. Life is not a random series of meaningless events, but a purposeful and specific sequence of experiences whose purpose is to invite us to evolve, learn and grow so that we may play our part in the telling of the story.

The universe is using us for its own purposes – to better understand itself through our consciousness and our senses, and to bring about its unfolding. We are the sense organs of creation. At the same time, it invigorates us and gives us the spiritual energy needed to take the journey. This can be a hard bargain at times, when what we feel and perceive is painful and difficult. We owe it to ourselves to take care of bodies and minds, so that we can receive the information in digestible doses while looking after our own essential needs. When our journey is over, the pattern dissolves, all filters are removed, and we reunite with the light from whence we came.

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~ by spiritualseeker1 on January 13, 2012.

2 Responses to “Human identity and the meaning of life”

  1. I knew it! I knew I sensed Joseph Campbell in your writing. πŸ™‚

  2. It’s amazing how all spiritual and wisdom traditions traditions of the world arrive at the same truth. There’s nothing more to know. Identity is a mask that our awareness wears. To understand identity better, here’s a psychological perspective
    http://www.psychmechanics.com/2014/11/who-am-i-concept-of-psychological.html

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