Identity

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. (John 14:10-17)

For Contemplation

Too often we identify ourselves with the things we do (work identity or career), the things we own (possessions), the power we have (political, economic, knowledge, intellect), or the people around us (our family, our tribe, our team, our country, our political party). Our ego likes to assume our identity and will do almost anything to protect the self- image that it controls. We tell our life story in ways that reinforce what we already believe about ourselves. Our memory functions in ways to protect what we believe about ourselves. Whatever happens to us in this world, if we are not careful, the ego and mind will appropriate that experience for its own use—even our spiritual experiences and knowledge. It takes heroic spiritual effort, primarily because it requires no effort, rather a certain kind of realization, to overcome the power of the ego. We have to learn how to recognize the ego and understand its function and place. The only way to do this is to observe and understand our true identity. Inside of us, knowing that God creates out of God’s own being, is God. All of our being, including the physical being, is a gift from God, but we contribute to the formation of our being. In order to live in a way that the power of God flows through us, we need to understand and be able to recognize the truth. This truth exists in us, just as we exist in God. We have the ability to rest in this power, but it must be understood in its proper context. We have to know the identity of the power we intend to function in as co-creators with God. When we understand that all things good and true come from God, then we unleash God’s power and it courses through us to become manifest in the world. If we mistake our identity for what has been constructed by the ego, all of the power granted to us is channeled into a system that is ruled by selfish motives and selfish desires. When we properly identify ourselves with the life that is given to us through God, all other things—work, career, material possessions, all forms of power—are given to God so that they are dedicated to and serve the highest good.

Prayer

Loving God, help us to recognize your sovereignty over all of existence. May everything we do reflect the knowledge that the source of our identity begins in acknowledging you inside of ourselves. We are your servant and we commit ourselves to the manifestation of your will and law, so we can seek your justice, love the kindness and compassion that are essential to your power, and walk humbly in your peace. May we look to the fruit of our work as the evidence of our trust in your power. Where we fall short, may we return with resolve and surrender again to your love so our effort is not in vain. Amen.

From The Readings

2013-93 (Why did I have so much anxiety in church this morning?) The body always reacts to your lived experience and you are reacting to all of the experiences that you’ve had and associated with church. It will take time and it always takes time for new experiences to displace or overcome long-held patterns and long-held perceptions of your church experience. You can deal with this by being proactive and also just by participating in non-church activities with church members. Once you are around people you know and trust, then when you are present with them in other situations you will feel more relaxed because they are there as part of your protection, just as you are there as part of their protection. It’s not unusual for you to have anxiety before you know enough about a person. Once you know about a person you usually know if they have potential for harm or are essentially harmless. You know to trust these feelings, so don’t discount your feelings, but at the same time be proactive in your response. You can have them but they don’t need to rule you. These feelings are much different from deep- rooted embodiment of your spiritual ideals. So we would teach you or ask you to consider understanding that difference, and stop confusing some feelings with what is much more deep-rooted and what is more in line with your character as a human being. Many of the feelings you experienced today are out of character for you as a human being. This is where the conflict comes to the surface for you. You have these feelings and wonder if they come from this deep reservoir of your true nature. But not all of them do. So you will learn how to overcome these feelings not by mental control, but through a deep calling within you that has access to this deep reservoir of your true character. It is from this place that you can discard feelings or transform them or understand them in relation to others. This is an area ripe for exploration for you as a psychologist. There are many people who have feelings and emotions, feelings and emotions that are part of a body memory, that they confuse with this deeper reservoir of character and identity. They do not know how to distinguish them and so when confronted by a strong intellect or a questioning individual, someone displaying cynicism, they can’t explain them. They feel flustered about what they want to say and sometimes this slides into a feeling of not being able to express who they are. But it is true that most people, when they are not facing pressure, are able to get in touch with this deeper understanding of who they are. It is a matter of developing this ability without fear.

2013-94 (Can you say more about why I’ve been feeling a lot of anger lately?) This is connected to the fear that some of your feelings and emotions come from this deep reservoir of your true character and identity. You fear that you are either not able to do something or that you’re still growing and not capable, or that there is some flaw that must be overcome before you can move ahead, or there is some obstacle external to you preventing you from moving on. All of these things, though they may contain some elements of truth, for the most part are rooted in illusion. Once you begin to recognize more of the illusion and you have begun this process, then your fear will subside and your anger will subside as well.