Sunday, March 4, 2012

knowing who you are

Working with very messy situations, I often take a look at my own self. This very thing happened to me this weekend. As I was discussing the challenges and the causes of change, a friend of mine made a reference to a book.
The book title is “Being Human” and the author is Jean Vanier. Mr. Vanier has built an organization that focuses on people with all sorts of disabilities. Within this book on page 105 actually, he begins to talk about the separation of the self. This separation is also known as “the ego and the id”.
What this issue deals with is the difference between who you are and who you think you are. Along those lines we talked about Krishnamurti and his thoughts on “the observer and the observed”. Then our conversation moved into the duality of self, ego/id, observer/observed and who we are versus who we think we are. With that, we came to realize that we are being two people at once, thus the challenges and the causes of conflict. That is the primary challenge of every person alive and the goal is to ensure that the two become one.
There are a great many works produced concerning this topic. I recall reading psychology books on “the many masks of identity”. People talk about their work life, social life, family life, personal life and of course there is the love life. Mix in who you have been, who you are, who you will be and then add the reality versus the perception of all those.
All of these elements factor in when a person is building themselves. Can you be honest about who you are and how others understand you?
To be ironic here, my work in peace leads me to project the above onto countries. At this moment we can look at all the countries that are in transition. For example, Burma, the government there is taking a drastic course of change. Burma is going from a secluded, brutal situation to one where openness and peace are going to be ushered in.
There will be huge amounts of corruption as the transition takes place. Who ever takes the lead position will have to deal with scandals as the old guard will still fight for their “glory days”. This the reality and challenge of who you were versus who you are and who you want to be.
As I have written in the past, peace is very much a state of understanding, learning and knowing. As soon as you know a reality you have to let it go so that you can be free to expand your understanding. Then again I could just be insane.

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