In the last few months I've been engaged in a process of dissolution. It is the dissolution of identity constructs that no longer serve me and have become burdens instead of liberators. Why I've done this is because holding on to those identities becomes a form of attachment, complete with tensions that keep a person bound in stasis.
My process for dissolution has involved a combination of meditation exercises and practical exercises where I've made changes in my life.
One such change, in relationship to Magical Experiments, has been the choice to stop teaching classes, because the classes and the effort in marketing distracted from what I would consider to be my primary calling: Experimentation with Magic.
So how do you dissolve your identity?
First you have to determine if the identities you've taken on are problematic or helpful. The answer will usually not be obvious because we take identities on to accomplish specific purposes. On the surface an identity can seem helpful, when its actually problematic. The only way you can really determine if a given identity is problematic is to simply look at the results in your life. Is this identity helping you achieve results that are beneficial or is it only providing the appearance of progress?
The appearance of progress shows up in doing work but not getting anywhere with it, yet telling yourself you are. It is self-delusion and it is the attachment to identity because to go without that identity seems more terrifying than clinging to something familiar if uncomfortable (I call this the comfortable discomfort).
When you become attached to an identity that identity defines every action you take and decision you make. It binds you to it and restricts your awareness. The only way to get out of that trap is to take the terrifying (yet also liberating) leap into the unknown. But facing the fear of unknown isn't easy and often involves some preparation and realizations which allow you to challenge that identity and unravel it.
For this kind of work, I've found that the Taoist Water meditation technique has proven to very useful because it allows you to do the dissolving work through your bodily awareness of the attachments and accompanying tensions that define the attachments. However this work can be done with any system that integrates bodily awareness into the work.
The reason bodily awareness is so important is because the body grounds the person in physical reality and communicates truly about a given identity or situation. We've learned to tune that communication out, but we can also learn how to tap into it again, if we choose to. When I do the Taoist meditation and work on dissolving internal tensions, I'm also attuning myself to my body and learning how to listen to it again.
When you do your own internal work, open yourself up to feel your body. I'm not just saying emotions, but really feel how your body responds to your internal work and pay attention to what comes to your awareness, because that can point you in the direction of further body work.
Beyond internal work
When you dissolve an identity, the meditation work is only the beginning of the process. You also need to make changes in your life that fit in alignment with letting go of the identity. Such changes are hard to do because it truly does mean letting go of something you know, in favor of the unknown.
For example, I recently closed my coaching business that I had been involved in for 9 years. It was an identity I was very attached to, but it no longer served me. Doing internal work helped me realize that the identity needed to go, but I also talked it over with my partner and then made the decision to announce it to the e-list of contacts I had, while also deleting the website.
Note that I didn't make the choice impulsively. I had the realization, discussed it with my partner and then took action based on her observations as well as my realizations. Doing this allowed me to dissolve the attachment without regrets because I took the time to do the internal work and then took the realization and got some perspective on it before taking action. Nonetheless I did take action and that helped me continue the process of dissolving the identity of being a business owner.
What happens after I dissolve an identity?
When you dissolve an identity you've held on to, you also open yourself to discovery. The attachment you had to that identity kept you from seeing the opportunities, but once its gone, there are possibilities that open to you. What you do with those possibilities is up to you, but I recommend being playful and allowing yourself time to explore as many as you want before settling on anything definitive.
And whatever you settle on, remember to give yourself the latitude to discover what it has to offer, while also paying attention to whether its truly serving you or just providing you another attachment to hide in. In my experience when an identity truly serves you, you don't just see results, you also experience opportunities for further growth and the joy such opportunities bring when you take them on and challenge what you know with what you can learn.
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