Who can deny the moments when we have looked at the sum total of our lives with its experiences, hopes, loves, fears, disillusionments and seeming accomplishments, and asked the question, Is this it? Is this what I am here on Earth for? Having days filled with activity that when distilled to its essence, seems hardly worth the trouble, one can, in the midst of the ensuing mental and physical exhaustion, hear the still small voice saying...”There IS more to Life than this.” How many of us have felt that we were sometimes just playing a role, a character in someone else’s play. It seems that so many people have expectations upon our lives, that we are forced into their concepts of our role, and if we do not fulfill it to their expectations, we incur the just reward of our indolence…judgment and rejection. When does the role playing begin and how does it so insidiously encroach upon our lives in the form of responsibilities and expectations, ending in lives deprived of their natural creativity and vitality? After many years of playing the roles cast for us by parents, friends, religion, society, husbands, wives, employers, governments, is it any wonder that so many emerge from this quagmire disillusioned with life and unable to answers the most fundamental questions vital to inner peace, and that is “WHO AM I and WHY AM I HERE?” Why is it that only after many attempts at trying to “find ourselves” within the various roles we play, we finally begin to understand that we will never discover who we are by playing the role. Only when the role is once and for all identified and just that “a role” and we become willing to lay it aside as the identity we have come to know as “me, can we then begin to live from the place of true identity. It’s amazing to see, but the wonderful side of all the futile activity and endless role-playing is that it all ends in the same place….the realization that our true identity is not in any of the things we could see with our eyes or discern with our natural senses. It was not in being a good father or mother, or a respected social activist, or skilled surgeon. Our identity was not to be found in what we possessed or who knew us. It was only to be discovered in the midst of the failure of all these things to lastingly satisfy the thirst for tranquility…the peace only found in the heart of a child who knows who and whose it is.
Just how is it that we arrive at the present concept we have of ourselves. When asked who we are, do we not rely upon those things which would really describe what we have done and now find ourselves doing. We are a Doctor or a business man, a hairdresser or housewife. Identity, it seems, is linked to some sort of role we have come to find ourselves in, whether purposefully or accidentally. Isn’t amazing that a child begins at an early age trying to find itself in modeling the activity of those in its world...whether it be family or fictional television characters. The need to know who we are or “find oneself” is so primal that the immediate environment becomes the predominant source of information in attempting to answer the sub-conscious question of identity. By the time a child reaches the teen years the quest for self-identity has shifted away from family in favor of friends, acquaintances and societal “role models” as presented by the media, religion, business, and a conglomeration of sensory input that attempts to place a value upon a particular appearance, body shape, hair color, facial feature, attitude etc. It’s as though a world system has been created to attempt to answer the question of who I am by having me compare myself to those that system declares to be “perfect”. If I dress and act like Madonna, then I am close to what the world finds acceptable and of value. Ah, but society is fickle in its judgments, and today’s standard of success is tomorrows standard of failure. Do any of these things really answer the questions of identity, or do they ultimately exacerbate the mis-identification insanity to the point of total and complete rejection of worldly, sense-dominated standards. Is it any wonder that so many of our young people want nothing to do with the world system and its attempt to force them to accepts its definition of who they are. Is not the same true of the religious systems of the world, who first convince you of your identity as a sinner separated from God and then chastise you for living out what they’ve just convinced you that you are.
It seems every worldly institution is invested in the idea of identifying people as one thing or another based upon some conclusion that can be drawn from the sense realm. What would happen if we took our children, and instead of keeping them in ignorance to who they really are, and encouraging them to “find themselves” in careers, occupations and endeavors, we told them that their true identity is the very essence of God. What if we told them that doing things and playing roles is great fun, as long as you don’t become the role. Wouldn’t we think it strange if “Arnold” really thought he was the “Terminator”. He would be locked up! Well how different is that from what we do all the time. We play a role and become it, forgetting or maybe never knowing who we really are. As such, we take on all the quirks, nature, and limitations of that character, believing it to be ourselves. Well the truth is that You are really an image of God who is here on this earth to be what God is being as you. If you know that, you are free indeed, free even to engage in roles as husbands and wives, doctors and lawyers, all performed with creativity and joy as part of the omni-activity of God in the earth. If you do not know that you are the image of God being, your role has become your silent prison. It holds you in a world of expectations and sense-ruled judgments until the anguish of its lifelessness breaks through the role-induced charade of mis-identification to reveal that you are not, and never were the role you were playing. When that breakthrough happens, don’t expect the world system that creates and perpetuates such roles to stand up and applaud your new found discovery of True Identity. Those who are themselves identified by the same World Identity System, need to have you performing your role in order for them to perpetuate the believability of their role. Society and religion go hand in hand forming a powerful conforming mold in which heat and pressure supply the necessary psychological catalyst for the acceptance of the Role Identity. But it seems that when the lights go on, there is no turning them off again. Once you get the glimpse of who you really are, then “the role” you have been playing becomes much too noticeable to ignore. Once Arnold realizes that “the terminator” is just a character and not his true identity, he is one step closer to Self-Realization and ultimate tranquility.