7 minute read
Yes, I know your biggest fear. Does that trigger your interest? Do you know what your biggest fear is? Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. I promise you that it will be clear by the end of this blog.
But before I drop the curtain and disclose this, we first need to dive into another question. This question is: Who am I? It’s the question about the very nature of our identity.
So let’s give it a spin. Who am I?
“I am Jeroen Beekman”
Ok, Jeroen Beekman. That is my name. But when I look at these 13 characters written down on this page, I don’t feel like they cover the full extent of who I am. Surely, I am more than some letters on a piece of paper or a sound in the air, only to disappear when nobody speaks my name. So let’s give it another try.
“Ok, you are right. Jeroen Beekman is my name. But who I really am is the son of my parents, a reliable friend, a writer and a programmer.”
Aha. So what about when I lose my friends or betray their trust, would I stop being? Would I stop being if I would not write anymore? Or what about when I would be fired from my job?
“Hmm, let me try again. I am 1.82m and I weigh 80kg. I have long hair and brown eyes. I have four limbs.”
Again this sounds problematic. Do I lose my identity when I go on a diet? When I wear coloured lenses or go to a barber shop. Or when I would lose a leg in a traffic accident? And what about when I was younger and was only 1.10m and 28kg? Was I not the same person?
Maybe we should rephrase the question. For starters, I know that I cannot be the things that are around me. When I look at something, I cannot be the thing I am looking at. When I hear a sound, I cannot be the sound. This is a basic object-subject relationship. The thing and the sound are the object, and I am the subject. So the question becomes: Who sees when I see, who hears when I hear, and who dreams when I dream?
“I do! It’s me. I am the one who can be aware of all these things, and nobody else can do that for me. Me, me, me!”
Aha, that sounds about right! And so we arrive at the only answer we can give to the question. “I am me!”. It does not get any more refined than that. I am the consciousness that experiences my life.
The Indian Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi stated that “The question, ‘who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer, the question ‘who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.” It is to realise that in fact, we are none of the many things we tend to identify with. We are not our car, house, profession or the partner to our spouse. We are not our possessions, relationships or even our very own body. We are simply ourselves, and nothing more than that.
And this dissolving of our identity brings with it its very own super power. It does not only dissolve our sense of identification with what is outside of us. It also dissolves any limitations on who we can become!
When we accept that our identity boils down to, well, nothing more than our conscious experience of being. Then we accept that we have complete and utter freedom in how we show up to the world around us. From day to day. From week to week. From year to year. Our past shaped us into the person we are today, but it does not define who will be from now onwards. Every day we have the opportunity to show up more genuine, honest, vulnerable and loving than the day before. Every day we have the opportunity to shape our lives in the most meaningful way we can imagine.
And with this comes responsibility.
We are not limited by our past. We can be as big as we want to be. There is an infinite greatness inside all of us that is just waiting to be woken up. Do you know anybody who wrote a book? That means you can write a book! Do you know anybody who donated thousands of euros to charity? That means you can donate thousands of euros to charity! Do you know anybody who has many amazing dates and who you envy? That means you could experience dates like that as well! It’s all just a matter of choosing to accept the full responsibility for anything that happens in your life. Accepting this responsibility 100%. There is nothing holding you back. And there is nothing honorable about holding back. It is never too late to allow yourself that which you envy in other’s lives. Don’t let your past sense of identity hold you back. Let your identity dissolve and take back the responsibility of your own life.
Don’t worry, this does not mean you have to do everything on your own either. You will find most people are delighted to help you with their experience. Even if you hardly know them, or you simply bump into them on the street. But you need to ask them. Invite yourself into whatever support circle you need to make yourself blossom. You have to take 100% responsibility for asking other people for the help you need. And in doing so, you have to accept that you are worthy of receiving help. (Oof. That’s a big one!)
And accepting this responsibility is inherently scary. Sure, it can be scary to approach a stranger. It can be scary to ask for help when there could be a “no thank you” coming back. It can be scary to spend money on charities when you don’t know what challenges the future might hold for you, personally. But the true fear, the true inherent scariness, will only come out after you overcome all of that.
The true fear that we all carry with us is the fear of realising our own greatness. To go beyond our wildest dreams and say to yourself: “You know what? I am worthy of anything I desire. And I am worthy of asking others to help get me there”. When we accept how powerful we can be. When we truly accept to take responsibility for everything in our lives. Then that means that we are also taking full responsibility for any area in which we are not living up to our dreams. We will be giving ourselves the biggest promotion we possibly can, and implicitly trusting ourselves to be able to handle just that. And that is fucking scary.
As Marianne Williamson said in her book A Return to Love: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure“.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness That most frightens us. "We ask ourselves Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. "You playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking So that other people won’t feel insecure around you. "We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest The glory of God that is within us. "It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”