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Identity gets in the way

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

*Consider this:

If philosophers cannot see the effect of their ideas, they are not happy.

If debaters cannot argue cogently, they are not happy.

If interrogators cannot find candidates for criticism, they are not happy.

All of these are restrained by such attitudes.

Those scholars who are noticed by their generation rise to power.

Those who win the affection of the people consider high office a reward.

Those with great strength enjoy a challenge.

Those who are brave and fearless revel in troubles.

Those skilled in sword and spear look for wars.

Those who are retiring, rest on their laurels of their fame.

Those who are lawyers want more power to legislate.

Those who perform rituals and ceremonies enjoy their status.

Those who like benevolence and righteousness like to be able to display them.

Farmers who cannot trade at the market or by the well is not satisfied.

The common folk like to have work to do from sunrise to sunset, as they keep each other going.

The various craftsmen like to be using their skills.

If his wealth does not grow, the greedy man is unhappy.

If he is not getting more powerful, the ambitious man is distressed.

* "Such people, driven by circumstance, are only happy when things are changing, and when an opportunity arises, they inevitably throw themselves into it. So they all proceed, like the changes of the seasons, unchanging even though others change. They drive their bodies and their innate nature and are overwhelmed by the forms of life, never turning themselves back, which is sad!"

[*Excerpt from p213, 214, The Book of Chuang Tzu, Penguin Books, 2006]

What do these words they mean to you? Have you been operating like an automaton and just following orders and instructions, or are you actually operating by your life's purpose? And if you're operating by your life's purpose, do you take time to yourself and give pause and thought to what you're actually doing? How immersed are you? Are you consumed by it? What habits are you creating?

Sometimes, you can identify so much to your role, to what you're doing that you become blind to other ways of doing and being. You program yourself to your routines and reactions staying in your comfort zone not knowing what you don't know which could give you a broader scope. And when you identify to something, you get attached. When you get attached, you limit yourself and put barriers between you and freedom.

More to come in the next meditation.

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