What Makes you, YOU?
Have you ever really thought about what contributed to you being you? How many different elements do you think you might find? And what would it add to your awareness and to your ability to raise your consciousness, if you knew more of that picture?
Over many years I have explored a huge range of influences on who I am. I started with the sciences, studying genetics during my university course. This was part of a “nature vs nurture” debate that continues in science even now. What percentage of who you are was laid down before you were born, because of what your genes dictated you would be?
I also studied some personality psychology. How much of who I am is some kind of predetermined type? I knew back then that I was an introvert rather than an extravert. Now I know my Myers-Briggs typology and my enneagram number. Are these who I am?
Perhaps you have done some personal work and discovered more about the way that your parents influenced who you have become – either in the choices that they encouraged and you accepted or in the ones that you rebelled against. What percentage of you now consists of choices that you made in compliance or contradiction to your mother and father?
And then there are the more esoteric possibilities. Do you believe in continuity of your spirit or soul being in some form? Have you experience of past lives, and how the energetic imprints of events before this life have contributed to how you are now? Perhaps you believe in karma, the debts that you owe to others or that they owe to you, or simply the need to atone for past mistakes in how you lead this life so that you can “get off the wheel”. Is all of that a component in who you are?
Do you still live in the place where you were born and raised? What is important to you about the place you grew up, or the places you have been since? How much of an influence on your being is it whether you lived in an inner-city high-rise or on a ranch with horizons in all directions. What does it make us be, whether we live in a warm or a cold climate. How different is your attitude to nature from living somewhere with poisonous snakes or spiders, or with none? What percentage of your being is inhabited by your relationship with place, ecology and landscape?
I am only about a quarter of the way through the list of influences that I recognise. Every single one of them has contributed to my unique mix. The more that you think about it, the more wonderfully rich the tapestry gets to be. Your favourite songs are not mine and the TV programs you remember are those that you resonated with. Even if you are an identical twin there will be millions of differences both in what has happened to you and in how you have interpreted those inputs. Did you know that it is very common among twins who share the same genes for one to be heterosexual and the other to be attracted to same-sex partners?
A lot of consciousness-raising is about recognising our oneness and finding the core of our spiritual being, feeling how we are lovingly embedded in the whole of creation. That is all to the good. Yet the mystery and the paradox are that we are simultaneously one and distinct. And since we are leading human lives that are rooted in that distinctness, being more conscious means that we are finding out what it takes to live from the essence of who we are. Are the choices that you made today in your life the ones that arise from that essence? To what degree is each of us choosing our life based on someone else’s conclusions, on cultural programs or on conclusions we made yesterday that may not be right today?
What are the things that inhibit or constrain our ability to experience oneness? More particularly, what stops us from always thinking, feeling and acting from that centeredness? Do you acknowledge that you have a part to play in the unfolding of creation? Is it real to you that what you choose in this moment and every moment that follows, makes a contribution to what your life will be and to what human life will become for us all?
I am hoping that we share that reality. My perspective on consciousness-raising is that the more aware we become, the greater the creative contribution we can make. That means that we have to be conscious of both our oneness and of all the elements that enter into our creative choices. So if you haven’t yet given much thought to what makes you, you, I encourage you to explore that. What would it contribute to your empowerment and effectiveness in creating your life for you to be aware of all the places where you have locked yourself into realities, beliefs, judgements and perceptions that keep you from full presence and complete awareness? And what would be possible if you could live free from all that, and if we all could?