Your life is taken from you the moment it is “given” to you.
To understand this statement is to understand the mask you are wearing in this very moment. The mask that tells you, “you are you”, or “this is you”. Your identity. One which has been crafted subtly and precisely by the world around you. While convincing you that you created it, that you own it, that it is yours, that it is you.
People think their voice is theirs. But I challenge that by saying the world is talking through you. The world has taken over your voice, since the moment you were given life. You Are Life. Life is not meant to be given or taken.
How could life be given to life? Only with words. It can be made to look that way — simply by crafting language that puts you in debt from the moment you are born. And you are made to pay this crucial debt throughout your “life” through the mechanisms of fear, shame, and guilt.
Giving you a name and a personality, in other words, giving you a character or role to play in life, is a way to erase the real you. To cancel you. The real causes of anxiety and depression are unknown because the people trying to figure out the answer have no idea who they are in reality. The scientists, doctors, and therapists themselves are just character scripts that have been defined by family and culture, institutions that tell them who they are and what they are supposed to be doing, thinking, and feeling, at all times. The real roots of depression and anxiety come from suppressing our authentic selves.
Being authentic is not just a trend. Nor is it just a thought. It is not something you can program and hypnotize yourself into. It is not something you can just believe and make real. Nor can it be found by copying what others are doing on social media. Or declaring it on social media. That is the Michael Scott version of enlightenment and authenticity 👇
Saying it doesn’t make it so. And that applies especially to authenticity. A lot of people just declare it as a decision. “I will be authentic from today”. “I will do my best to be authentic”. It’s not about what you decide, and it’s not about doing your best. To be authentic you have to know who you are. And knowing yourself is to go beyond the idea of yourself.
You are just an idea of “you”. Only when you get out of that idea you have a chance to realize “you” are just an idea. The real you is something entirely different.
The idea of you is a very heavy set of scripts that keep you hypnotized throughout life. Even if you break out of a few, there are 100s of layers of unconscious programming you are running all the time, from your movements to the way you eat, speak, think, and feel. Clearing out these layers needs time, determination, will, and a lot of help from others who can reflect your programming to you.
This is called Shadow work, and it is a type of self work that is fundamental and essential, and cannot be done without others, it cannot be done by yourself. It cannot be done by sitting on the couch and reflecting/thinking about yourself. Also, it is not an overnight or a time-limited task. There is no end to the shadow because it keeps changing and growing as we grow and change. All we can do is to keep discovering ourselves beyond this eternal force.
The Virtue of Serving Others
There are numerous ways in which we are trapped into our personalities. We are enslaved with some ingenious tricks, the best of which are “Virtues”. Since virtue-signalling is a hot-topic and a trend right now, it should be understood that being virtuous is not a good thing, it is a mark of your slavery. You are enslaved by an idea. So yes, go on showing off your branding, show everyone how you are a superior slave to them.
Cultural narratives enslave us with “should’s”: You should be grateful for the life given to you. You should be grateful for your privilege (I am a brown middle-class guy, not that privileged to be defending privilege). You should be grateful your life is not as miserable as that person. You should be respectful to others. You should give your life in service to your family, your nation, the underprivileged.
Serving others has been proclaimed as a virtue, for some it is even the highest virtue. Slavery is also a service to others. The difference is whether or not you volunteer your service. And the other difference is your awareness of being enslaved. By making it a virtue, you don’t even need to be convinced or consciously restrained. The virtue enslaves you by rewarding you with external and eternal gratification. Making yourself feel good because you are virtuous is your payment for being a good slave.
Why don’t we ever pause to consider that virtue is nothing more than a cultural narrative that constricts us by defining who we are supposed to be? Why are we obligated to be a certain way? How have we not realized that it doesn’t make society any less miserable? Virtue-signalling and righteousness are amongst the most provocative behaviors one can exhibit, no?
And saying all this is not a justification for selfishness. There is a difference in being righteous / virtuous / morally superior on one side, and on the other side you are just being natural. It’s no longer about the story you tell yourself and others. You are not serving others to feel good. It’s not about you. Unlike today where most “service to others” is all about oneself.
I believe only when we have fulfilled our own needs we are truly capable of doing something for another in a wholehearted genuine guilt-free way that has no need for validation. The rest is pretense. What most people virtue-signal as service to others is just a drama to feed the hungry ghosts that hold their leashes.
It is a drama that is crafted by the world to keep you entertained. To keep you away from the real you, your real voice. It is rare for people to be taught to use their original voice — unfiltered, uncensored. Our reality is one of censorship. Even before we are born we are taught what is appropriate and what is inappropriate — not as in objective fact, but a completely subjective opinion. This pre-birth censorship comes through our DNA, our genetics. Our parents are not to blame, they too are victims of the same programming. The origins: unknown (yet highly speculated).
In my opinion the origin is irrelevant, yet another search designed to waste energy. I believe life was not meant to be figured out, life is meant to be lived. And if you spend all of life trying to figure it out, you may have missed the point. If you are looking for some goal, some destination, an answer that will give you peace — just take drugs, because that is exactly what you are doing. A question can be a drug, because anything can be a drug. Humans can use and treat anything as a drug — a question, a person, a belief, a philosophy, and of course the most obvious: a substance. But a question is a substance too, made of thought matter.
It is your relationship to a substance that makes it a drug, not the substance itself
Which brings me back to the original topic, the most addictive drug is your personality, the role you play every moment of every day. Playing your character is an all-consuming act, if it is not balanced. But how could it be balanced when you don’t know how to do anything other than play your character?
The answer is the real you. When you start figuring out your voice is not your own, you start the journey of discovering your authentic voice, which has been buried under heaps of layers of cultural beliefs. There are many ways this journey can play out. You can make it serious and tense. You can make it a war with society and blaming others for plaguing your authenticity. Or you can make it a playful adventure. It will depend only on your attitude — which can be trained with help from others who have gone through this journey.
This journey is meant to be taken with others on the same path. Seeing others gain their voice is the way we awaken ours. Seeing how others have been repressed gives us insight into how we are all trapped in similar archetypal patterns. It is easy to get lost in the endless chaos of voices that have been given to us, and it may seem impossible to figure out which of those is your own. I would venture to say that none of them are yours. Because you have been silenced. You have been cancelled. Since birth.
I don’t believe it is done for a sinister reason, although very few will agree with me on this. Most will want to blame someone, the world, the family, the culture, etc.
You chose to be silenced. Because the journey of rediscovering your authentic voice is the best adventure in this game. Finding yourself is the best trip available.
I believe we volunteer to lose ourselves. And losing yourself in this world is one of the most exotic challenges available because of the level of chaos and madness. A world full of entertainment and distractions. And by entertainment I do not mean the media in all its forms. Media is a tiny slice of the entertainment this world provides. The much greater entertainment is that of the circumstantial drama that floods our life, in every moment and every day. The drama of being a human with an identity.
Creating Your Self
All form is empty. We are all empty vessels waiting to be filled with soul. Soul doesn’t belong to the forms of this world. It has to be brought in. To assume you have a soul is misleading, what you have is a belief. Soul is entirely different, it is a substance far greater than the mind that can define. The mind is just one tool for the soul to express itself, but if we get trapped in the definitions of the mind, we disconnect from soul.
To pour soul into something is to give it an authentic voice. Until then it is just an empty vessel echoing what it has heard before, adding to the noise that exists. I used to be one of those people until recently, and I still regress into that often. But even a glimpse of the authentic is enough for me to put the effort to embody it further. I started this journey 8 years ago, that is when I saw the first glimmer. But it was only last month, exactly 8 years since I started, when I was able to release the censorship I had embodied my whole life. The voice you read today is my soul singing.
A soul that I worked tirelessly to bring into this world. I don’t believe we can be given a soul. Handouts are cheap mimicry. They may look real, but you can easily tell the difference when you have the real thing. Like what they say about a Gucci bag.
The question arises why one must be given a soul. Isn’t it kind of contradictory? Your uniqueness should be cultivated and crafted by you. How can it be given to you? How can you really say it is yours if it has been given to you. Even if you were to pay the price for it, that voice is bought, so it is just a possession, it is not your original voice. It is not truly authentic. And when you have gone deep enough you realize the price of the handout is insurmountable, you can never repay it. That handout is meant to be an unpayable debt to keep you eternally enslaved. But you can return it, surrender it, let it go, slowly, over time.
When you can release this handout and enter into the darkness to create your own light, you find an infinite source of power that needs no payment. But the price is heavy. Letting go the handout is the most challenging task one can undertake. One that is doomed for failure. For resignation. It is rare for someone to even get mid-way through this journey, let alone complete it. The discouragement is necessary, because you will be tempted to blame anyone who leads you to this path. Now I can at least say I gave you a very clear warning, and you take complete responsibility of embarking on this journey. Ignorance can give you a great amount of artificial bliss which may be much more preferable to the suffering that comes along the journey of self-discovery.
But if you do take the journey, the real bliss is incomparable. The power to use your words to convey what you really feel. Not what someone expects you to say, not what you think others want to hear. What do you really have to say? This is one of the highest forms of self-love: the ability to express your individuality, especially in a world where “the real” is mostly lost and replaced by pathetic mimicry.
It can be helpful to start with another name when you start expressing your voice. Giving yourself a name of your choosing is one of the most powerful self-defining acts. One that frees us from the shackles our name carries. But just changing your name will not free you. There are plenty more shackles holding you to your personality other than your name. And if you are not watchful, it can contaminate your new identity too. And also watch for others who want to give you a name. They may look well-intentioned, like the yoga community, but they are just giving you another character that has it’s own problems and it’s own traps.
Changing your name doesn’t make you a new person. It is just an opportunity to become a new person. But becoming a new person, your own person, cultivating your own soul, requires a lot of effort. It is not for the weak-minded, weak-hearted, and weak-bodied. This will take everything you’ve got, and more. Your best is not enough for this, by a long shot. You have to do way better than your best if you are going to get through this. And it is completely possible. A good teacher will show you how, using your own power, not by giving you a handout and doing the work for you. I say all this from my experience with my teacher, and now with my students.
You may be the one who thinks you will do it on your own. “I don’t need anyone else!” I used to be the same. And I am infinitely glad to have not listened to that voice that compelled me to be a solo rebel. Turns out, that voice was never my own. That rebellion was also programmed into me to keep me a slave. A desperate program arising from a wound where we found ourselves helpless and abandoned. And that fake independence may have taken us very far, but that only works on some paths which are generally meaningless. Reality is interdependent. Not independent or codependent, not helpless and powerless, but it is interdependent. Symbiotic. Receiving help while staying empowered takes strength.
Defining yourself as a unique drop in an ocean is one of the greatest challenges one can undertake.