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  • Writer's pictureSona Parmar

Who Am I?

The Law of Attraction says that we bring to ourselves people just like us – and in the last few days, I seem to have encountered a number of people struggling with who they are. One was a widow, another the former CEO of a large company, one an exhausted mother of two, and finally a lawyer coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis.

As we talked, the story was the same: they were all having a crisis of identity.

We go through our lives with labels: mother, son, husband, CEO, yogi, lawyer. Is this who we really are? If we strip even one of the labels we have about ourselves away, does that make us any less? Of course it doesn’t, any more than gaining (or losing) weight is going to change the way people feel about us.

It goes much deeper and sometimes, we forget to recognise this. Our souls, our inner beings, don’t change, whether we are 6 or 60.

So, when everything changes, as it invariably does, it’s not about redefining ourselves, rather about getting back in touch with who we really are: our most authentic self. It is what is left when you are stripped of all your labels and preconceptions, and when you no longer wear a mask. In 12-step programmes, the word used is “recovery”, not because you’re getting better, but because you’re recovering that a lost part of yourself. I think it’s a lovely way at looking at things.

So are we? Who am I?

For me, the most beautiful definition comes from French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, {rather} we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

You see, we are not the sum of all our parts. We are merely experiencing them – and that’s all we’re meant to do. We can’t take any of our labels, or any of what we own, with us when we die. But I think that means we can, and should, truly enjoy them while we are alive.

It’s about not getting attached to the fact that I’m a mother, but deeply enjoying the moment when my youngest runs towards me, when I pick her up from kindergarten. Similarly, it’s being truly present to the wonderful sensations in my feet when I walk on freshly-cut grass, or the texture and taste of a piece of salmon sashimi. It’s this joy, this presence, that is the fullest expression of what it means to be human.

This is who I am.

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