I listened to a podcast with two actors from a 90s TV-series. One of them seems consistely reflected and mature, and talks about his character as “he” or by name. He keeps a healthy differentiation between himself and the character he played. The other seems a bit less mature, and talks about his character as “I”. He seems more identified with the role.
I have noticed this in general. The more reflected actors differentiate between themselves and the characters they play. And the less reflected seem to more often identify with their roles.
And that’s how it is for all of us. It’s typically more healthy to differentiate between the roles we play in life and who and what we more fundamentally are.
DIFFERENTIATING THROUGH LANGUAGE
We can start by differentiating in our language. For instance, we can say: As a husband, I see it this way. As a father, this is how I experience it. As a Norwegian, it looks this way. As a Muslim, I see it a certain way. As a human, it looks like this. And so on.
All of this helps remind us that these are roles we play in life, and that each role has a certain perspective.
ROLES AND WHO AND WHAT WE ARE
Who are we without any of the roles? Can I find my value independent of any role? Can I find who I am without any role?
Many of our roles come and go. And although some may be more lasting, like gender and species, those too are roles.
The roles don’t define all of who or what we are. All they define is our role in the world while we are in those roles.
WHO WE ARE WHEN STRIPPED OF MANY OF OUR HUMAN ROLES
We can find who we are independent of most of those roles. As a human being, we are someone even if we are not in a particular role in terms of work, relationships, and so on.
Some of us experience losing many of these roles, for instance through illness. And life invites us to find our inherent value and who we are even when we don’t play those particular roles.
THE WORLD IS MY MIRROR
Beyond this, everything I see in the world reflects parts of who I am. Whatever story i have about someone or something in the world, I can turn it back to myself and find genuine examples of where is true. Here, I discover I am as rich as the world.
This is an ongoing process and we can explore it through working with projections in any way we find interesting and helpful.
For me, inquiry like The Work of Byron Katie is an effective and direct way to explore this, and find in myself – in a genuine and visceral way – what I see in the world.
WHAT WE ARE
And none of this is what I more fundamentally am. When I look, I find I am capacity for it all – this human self, the roles, the wider world. I am what it all happens within and as.
THE LAYERS OF WHO AND WHAT WE ARE
Who and what we are has layers, from passing roles (relationships, work, age) to more lasting ones (gender, nationality, species), to the more universal ones where we find the world as a mirror and our nature as what the world to us happens within and as.
A small synchronicity: Kings of Convenience singing “don’t let them tell you what you are”.