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?
The speed by which identities and beliefs arise can be startling. Some people look at a person or group of people, and within moments and with a great deal of certainty, can have a complete set of beliefs about these individuals. The accuracy of these identities and beliefs is seldom called into question. They simply exist as if they are always real and correct. Likewise, an individual, without question, may also lead with his or her chosen identities, trusting in the expected beliefs associated with this identity.
Some of these identities are, of course, physical, while others are simply created by mental projections. Regardless of what underlies the identity, and its accompanying belief, it is important to understand where and how these beliefs and identities arise.
Think about the identities and beliefs you hold about yourself. From where did these beliefs and identities arise? From within you? From somewhere else?
Think about the identities and beliefs you hold about a person or a group of people. From where did these beliefs and identities arise?
Do our beliefs and identities about self and others simply exist or are they the result of our creations?
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?
Gratitude is an act of Transcendence. Something new is created when we exchange our gifts with one another, both as giver and receiver.
When you are a teacher, you are a gift to others. In giving of yourself, you provide the possibility for the development and transformation of others that extends far beyond you. Within your teaching experience, you free to manifest the transformative steps of the Arc of Transcendence in sharing the following:
May your Choices, Presence, Awareness, Ascendance and Transcendence reflect the teacher you long to be.
Relative to your teaching experiences, for what are you most grateful?
The Presence you bring to your teaching has the power to transform your experience.
If Choice creates the opportunities for certain experiences in our classroom, Presence, the second step along the Arc of Transcendence, solidifies this experience. Presence is how we “show up” to do the work of teaching, and all the steps this entails, both inside and outside the classroom. You can make the best Choices as a teacher, but if you do not back these Choices with the power of your Presence, you will fail.
How would you define the primary state of Presence you bring to your teaching activities?
Do you consider your primary state of Presence to be a benefit to your students or a detriment? How does your answer make you feel?
Live in a way that shows you have given everything to life and
have nothing left to take with you in death.
Both life and death are transcendent by nature, each influencing the other. We like to separate life and death, believing as we do, in a linear progression between these states. But, as we know, life is multi-dimensional and so is death. Transcendent aspects exist in both. The decision then comes to us whether we want to engage or ignore these transcendent qualities.
How are you planning to change your life through understanding the transcendent nature of death and dying?
We may think of our lives being bordered by two transcendent events, birth and death. The energy of transformation is so apparent within these states. We may think of these events as one time occurrences in our lives. In some ways, this perspective is correct, but in other ways it ignores the transcendent energy we experience throughout our lives.
What does death teach us about the transcendent nature of life?
Can you think of a time that death (in any form) occurred in your life and this death provided the opportunity for something new to begin?
Transcendence is a state of transformation. We can see the physical transformations, of course, as life and living transition to death and dying. Within this transformation, old states are left behind. The states left behind are not only physical, though. In death and dying, relationships are transformed within the self and amongst others. The transformative power of death and dying touches us on all levels.
With death and dying, what states are transformed?
Do we recognize the transcendent nature of death or do we long to hold onto life as it was?
We often think of death as a single, physical experience. Yet, we can all suffer many small “deaths” throughout our lives and the lives of others. These small deaths may actually propel our ascendance and evolution. As we learn to understand and respond to these “small deaths”, we come to a greater understanding of the transformative nature of death. We move beyond this moment in time into the possible.
With death and dying, what possibilities are present in this moment and beyond?
How can we ascend “small deaths” in order to come to a new understanding of the significant deaths we all experience in life?