Identity: (1) The character or personality of an individual: unity and continuity of personality; (2) one’s perception of the sameness and persistence of one’s own individual personality: sense of self. (Merriam-Webster)
Before you begin reading this post, please Google the phrase “the search for identity”. You will be shown links to almost 43 million pages that approach the issue.
It would seem that identity, and the search for it, is the heart and soul of being human. If that’s the case, how can it be that such a critical component of being human is considered to be such a mystery by so many? What is identity, after all? Where is it to be found?
Keep in mind that Google, as powerful a search engine as it is, can only show that which is already present on the internet, and that would mean that the actual mass of humans suffering from the misery of searching for a sense of identity is immense.
It would seem almost reasonable to assume that the lack of a sense of identity and the confusion and misery that lack creates is the natural state of human beings, and those who are seated in their true identity must be as drops of water in an ocean of misery.
There seems to be some unfixable wrong, a flaw at the core of the human mind that causes our true identity to elude us. Or maybe looking for identity in the mind is actually a false track, perhaps because that’s not where identity is to be found.
The actual you that is your identity is minuscule. It causes no trouble and it provides no solution to trouble. The actual experience of you is barely noticeable, although it may be sweet when touched by your attention. Perhaps your actual identity is that small pearl of you resting in the peace of pure existence. And if you see that, you can rid yourself of the sense that you have no identity, that you must find and understand your true identity.
The simple, ancient practice of Self-Inquiry will reveal your true identity to you, and you will be able to rest easy in that knowing. But not as you may imagine.
Once seen through the lens of Self-Inquiry, the misery of the search for identity is revealed to be caused not by anything you have done or failed to do. That misery is located solely in the mind, which for most of us is filled with the existential fear that established itself as the foundation of the mind when we were born.
Having come to know my true identity, I can tell you this: what you are is that still, small voice that silently whispers in your mind, All is well.