Your state of Presence in life must extend beyond any limitations imposed
by identities and beliefs.
Presence, the second step on the Arc of Transcendence, is how we show up for our Lives. The problem with beliefs and identities, though, is that they consume and define our Presence. Rather than living in freedom of Choice, we will expend an inordinate amount of effort using our Presence to fulfill our identities and associated beliefs, whether the identities are assigned by ourselves or by others. Beliefs and identities are like fires constantly looking for more fuel. The will require greater and greater energy, including the energy of creating and choosing a certain Presence, to be maintained.
How much of your Presence in Life is consumed by fulfilling the identities and beliefs you hold about yourself?
Within your interactions with others, how much freedom do you provide for them for them to show up with their full Presence? How much do you limit their Presence with your beliefs and identities?
One of the issues that can evolve from our beliefs and identities is that we use them to hide our Presence. In a sense we decide to not be present, not because it is in our human nature to not show up, but rather our beliefs and identities tell us that we should remain hidden on some level or another.
The problem is that life and living require our Presence. So, this shutting down, the hiding of one’s Presence does not work while we try to live full lives. We only harm ourselves, and we deny the life around us, by removing our Presence from it. Without our full Presence, we feel lost and disconnected. Often, we will misidentify this source of discomfort, blaming external factors, when, in actuality, we are suffering from our own limited Presence. Life will always require our feel engagement and Presence, not the hiding behind our beliefs and identities.
Is it Life that is limiting you or is it your identities and beliefs that are limiting you?
Think of a particular person or group of people. Are they limited by Life or by the beliefs and identities others hold of them?
The state of human nature is the ability to express our almost limitless potential. Yet, we choose to limit this potential with our beliefs and identities. As soon as we identify ourselves in one way, we, often by default, eliminate other possibilities of our potential. Every time we have an identity we are also, often, identifying what we are not.
Rather than embracing our potential and its limitlessness, we try to fit ourselves and others into prescribed roles and identities. We wonder why we are anxious, yet, so much of our anxiety has to do with working against our own nature. We continue to deal with boundaries and limitations that do not touch upon our human-ness, and then wonder why we do not know how to show up with an integrated sense of Presence.
How do the limitations of your beliefs and identities play into uncertainty and anxiety about your Presence in Life?
How do the limitations of your beliefs and identities about others play a role in their uncertainty and anxiety about their state of Presence in life?
Our identities and beliefs play a profound role in our Presence, or how we show up, for life.
Presence is the second step on the Arc of Transcendence. Choice, the first step shows us that we have possibilities from which to select. Our state of Presence, the way in which we show up, is one such Choice we make. Our state of Presence is highly influenced by the identities we hold within ourselves, and those that we project onto others. We show up in certain ways that are often defined and delineated by the beliefs attached to our identities. Likewise, the state of Presence we allow others is often attached to the beliefs and identities we hold about them.
How is your Presence, your state of Being, influenced by the beliefs and identities your hold about yourself, or the beliefs and identities others hold about you?
Do you project a certain state of Presence upon others based on the beliefs and identities you hold about them?
Our lives result from the Choices we make. Our identities and beliefs, however, may prevent us from seeing all the possible Choices available to us.
Identities and beliefs, about ourselves and others, can end up making us feel as if life is not unlimited, but instead, very restricted. The reason this happens is that identities and beliefs take what is unknown, the possibilities of human potential, and constrain it. Identities and beliefs are enacted as if they are the known and determined entities informing us that “things must be this way”, and “you are this way” with no possibility of being anything else.
Because of the beliefs and identities, you hold about yourself, what pathways in life are unavailable to you?
What pathways do you feel are not open to others, because of the identities and beliefs you hold about this person or group of people?
In many ways, our beliefs and identities are windows into how we think and engage with the world, and often, how the world perceives and engages with us. Some of these manifestations are under our control, others are not.
But, if we do not understand that Choices exist around these identities and beliefs, we are setting ourselves up for an existence curtailed by the borders established by limiting identities and beliefs. The number one Choice we can make is to understand our unlimited potential as a human being. Never should we make Choices that are solely based on identities and beliefs which cut short our available experience of existence.
Are the identities and beliefs about yourself your Choice? If so, how do you feel about this Choice? If not, who has made this Choice for you?
Are the identities and beliefs you hold about others your Choice? If not, who has made these Choices for you?
Identity and belief influence our perceived choices, and thus, our perceived power.
The first step on the Arc of Transcendence is Choice, and it is within this first step that we begin to exert our power. Our sense of power is often linked to the options available to us. Some people are viewed as having greater power than others, simply because the number and extent of choices before them seem more extensive. Identities and beliefs often establish the parameters of the Choices available to us and/or the Choices we allow ourselves, or others, to make.
How do the beliefs and identities you hold about yourself limit or expand your Choices?
How do the beliefs and identities you hold about others limit or expand the Choices available to them?
We all have identities and beliefs about ourselves and others. These identities and beliefs permeate our lives on a level that most of us are unaware. We use the identities and beliefs in such way, though, to address two needs. We want to be a part of something beyond ourselves, as we long for a sense of community. At the same time, we want to be separate and unique. Our identities, for ourselves and others, are designed to address both of these aspects. To be human is to deal with these seemingly discordant needs.
This is the path of what it is to be human. At the most basic of levels, we are all crafted from the same materials and driven by the same signals, yet, expressed in a strikingly unique pattern singular to each of us. Our identities and beliefs have not created our uniqueness, as the human potential is much too broad to be so defined.
If you were to give up your identities and beliefs about you, how would this change how you understand yourself?
If you were to give up the identities and beliefs you hold about others, how would this change how you understand them?
Clarity about the beliefs and identities we carry within our lives is needed, as these identities, and the beliefs associated, permeate all aspects of our lives.
With a single identity (whatever that may be), we believe we know everything about a particular person or group of people. We think we know how they are physically, how they relate to others, how their sense of self is derived, how they love and so on. The same occurs within ourselves. The identities we have, or are given to us, can begin to define all aspects of our lives. The power of being a human being, a unique individual, is thrown out the window with these simplistic associations.
Think about one identity and belief you have about yourself. What part of your life is not affected by this identity and its associated beliefs?
Think about one identity and belief you have about a particular person or group of people. What part of your understanding of this particular person or group of people is untouched by this identity and its associated beliefs?
The cycle between belief and identity and self and others is a continuous one. We identify each other and ourselves in a myriad of ways, and then we enact an entire system of behaviors, thoughts, and actions based on the beliefs associated with these identities. So engrossed are we in these identities and their associated beliefs, we do not even stop to note how they are linked, nor do we reflect on whether or not any truth is apparent in these associations.
What are some identities you have created for yourself or others have assigned to you? How many beliefs are associated with each of these identities?
Now, choose a person or a group of people and list one identity associated with this person or group. Next list all the beliefs associated with this identity.
How much truth exists in the association between these beliefs and identities? How do you know?