Identity

Our identity, or who we think we are, makes up a huge part of how we treat the world. How we perceive ourselves determines how we react to our everyday experiences. Take a moment to think of who you think you are. If someone asked you “what do you do?”, how would you respond? Here’s how I see part of my identity:

5% Minnesotan
60% Artist/Creator
15% Gay
5% Book-snob
5% Gamer
10% Traveler

This is just a rough look at how I identify with my environment. I consider myself Minnesotan, and I act out of that identity. I say things like “uffda”, and talk about the cold too much. A huge part of my identity is about being an artist and creating content. I spend a lot of my free time creating, thinking about creating, or talking to others about creating. It’s a huge part of my life.

The difficulty with these identities that we take on is that they are not our own. When I say I’m a gamer, I’m saying that I relate to gamers. My identity is derived from the group, not myself. I generalize who I am for the same of being part of the group. By saying that I’m an artist, I take part of my identity from other people who call themselves artists.

What I’m trying to get at is that you when you take your identity from a group, you lose yourself. You simplify who you are. In reality, you’re indescribable. To put words to who you are would be to limit you. You are so much more than that. Don’t label yourself. Just do what you do. Don’t try to be an artist, you’ll try to be like other people who take on that title. Just be as you are and do what you love.

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Unfortunately tonight I lack an order to the words that are flowing through my head. I wish I could write more but I haven’t digested my thoughts yet. Days like today feel chaotic because I have so much emotion but I don’t have a way of letting it out. I’m not short on feelings but I can’t bring them to a line of text. There isn’t that organization to box how I feel right now. Waiting until I figure this all out will have to suffice. Don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m just trying to find myself and make sense of my life.

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No-Mind Language

No mind is the condition when thoughts pass through your head but you don’t place any attention on them. Eventually it’s as if there are no thoughts because what you are taking in through your senses at the moment are more important than your thoughts about it.

Think about a Hawaiian sunset, how catching it is and how beautiful. When you see something very beautiful like that, it’s as if everything else vanishes from your life except what is in front of you. It’s as if your life has peripherals and you spend more time staring at the peripherals than what’s directly in the moment.

Basically no mind is this condition of the absence of thought. It’s like a clearing where you can direct your attention and make thoughts arise as needed. You can act more efficiently and get more out of life.

Much of no mind comes from removing your desire to label everything. This coffee is cold or the palm trees are beautiful. While neither assertion is incorrect or bad, we spend too much of our time labeling things that don’t need to be labeled.

Ponder this for a moment; why do we need to say something is hot or cold inside our heads. We can just accept that our drink is what it is without labeling it. We can look at the sunset without the desire to try to make it tangible. We can walk across the sand and feel the sand without the need to call it soft or hot. We can just leave things at their experience or sensation.

Much of this leans into language. For example, we make action more tangible when we explain what we’re doing. I can go through the process of walking over and picking up a glass of water without thinking about walking over and picking the glass up. We have a fixation on words.

Like I wrote before, there is nothing inherently wrong with words. However, we passively label everything in our lives. This is too hot, too artificial, interesting, boring, great, horrible. We don’t spend enough time without these words.

As I’ve started to study Danish, I learn by labeling the things in my life. For example my friend turns into min ven. After learning many words to describe the objects around my dormitory I realized that I do this in the English language as well. My mind constantly speaks to my body. “Let’s go for a walk”, “I’m hungry”. Rather than making these expressions tangible I could just do them.

It’s difficult to explain but I think by labeling everything, we remove so much of the experience. By saying the sunset is beautiful, we reduce it to a word that is too generic to describe the experience of that sunset. Extravagant, or unique cannot do it justice.

These things which are conversations in our head “wow, that sunset is beautiful” are going nowhere. We are literally thinking them to ourselves. Because we are only thinking them and not communicating with somebody else, we mental reduce our experiences to generic words. We reduce them to much less than the experience of it.

Instead of labeling things, we should just feel them. The sensation of them and what it’s like to experience it. If someone asks, reduce it into language. But if you’re trying to remember something in your head, remember it for it’s sensation and not it’s descriptors.

Experience things as they are, don’t label everything.

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