Its been 4 months since I left the center and I’ve successfully maintained my practice but to do so I’ve withdrawn from society. While I know this path is right, it’s still very different from everyone around me. To get established in this practice, I found that I needed to pull back and look inward, but now I believe I need to engage the world more. I’m intimidated and scared to put myself out there because I’m not exactly sure who I am now. Thriving in the social world requires confidence in my identity, so what is my identity?
Everyone likes to ask, “What do you do for a living?” That’s what determines our identity here in the states. I kind of fumble around this question because I’ve done so many different things and don’t really define myself by my occupation. Next time I’m asked this, I hope I have the courage to answer, “The most defining activity I have is my meditation practice. It challenges me to focus on the important things in life.” Right now, that’s my identity.
It’s scary to share myself because this answer doesn’t fit into the typical mold. People ask about your occupation because they’re sizing you up and evaluating you. By not responding with my occupation, I’m refusing to be evaluated or at least to fit into the typical mold. In some ways, I’m protesting this entire social construct of hierarchy. I believe that a healthy society needs to learn how to evaluate people beyond the superficial measuring sticks. We are all much more than the job we hold, the building we live in, and the clothes we wear. We should be measured by our ability to love and contribute to the world. Maybe soon I’ll have the confidence to live every day by this value. Time to go meditate.