Questioning Identity Is Practical, Not Necessarily Spiritual
By Scott Kiloby
Some who come to this page and who do not have a background in the spiritual teachings that question the sense of self might be confused as to what this is all about. Maybe you think this is a spiritual or religious message or that the Living Inquiries are only for spiritual seekers. Maybe you think that it’s all a bit “woo woo.” It would be unfortunate for you to wholly dismiss what is being said here, without investigating a little further. You might find the help you need here. My work is about relieving human suffering. That has a practical value for everyone. Anyone can get on board with it. Let me explain . . . .
Christians might question their identity through the encouraging words of Jesus, “Die to the self.”
Buddhists might question it from Buddha’s teaching of no self.
Other religions have similar encouragements around identity questioning.
But it doesn’t have to be a spiritual or religious undertaking.
A business person might question an identity that is creating stress and conflict with colleagues or question the belief in a self that is lacking and creating a dire sense of “not enough yet” or “I’m not worthy of success.”
A scientist might question self because he is already learning through scientific research that the self is a product of the brain, not an inherent entity. He would simply be bringing into his experience what his discipline is discovering through scientific methods. He might even question the grasping after scientific concepts that come with the belief in a self who is a scientist.
Even an atheist can question self precisely because the questioning does not have to be seen as religious or spiritual. There can be practical reasons. For example, being an atheist does not necessarily relieve one of suffering. And most suffering comes from the belief in a “me” that identifies with thoughts, even atheist thoughts.
Someone who feels “not good enough” because of posts from others on facebook or a lack of “likes” to their post can question the identity that lies underneath that.
A mother might question identity as her children leave the nest and she realizes that “mother” is not who she really is anymore and clinging to that identity just creates a deep sense of grief or loss.
Someone dying of cancer can question identity just to relieve the fear of death of the person.
Someone who is co-dependent towards an addicted person in his life might question the identity that underlies all that stress and anxiety. It’s not just about the addicted person you know….
Adyashanti, a spiritual teacher, said at the Science and Nonduality conference a few years back that spirituality is being divorced from religion, that many people who are not religious are coming to spiritual teachings because they suffer.
I say relieving suffering can be just a practical undertaking. It doesn’t have to even be married to spirituality. Anyone can undertake the questioning of identity that causes suffering.