During my journey, I have come across two distinctly different definitions of what it means to be conscious in the world. The first encompasses an understanding of what it means to be aware of my African history as an African-American of the diaspora. I understand that this awareness or consciousness should motivate African-Americans to assume his or her responsibility as a builder and rejoice as a celebrant of African culture using it as a compass for their lives. The appreciation of the contributions of our ancestors toward the construction of this world should cause “the conscious” to stand with pride as we receive the inheritance from African pioneers, at the center of the historical narratives, rather than one who stands as a beggar at the perimeter as a Johnny-come-lately, as revisionist historians would have it to be.
The second definition of consciousness is more about embracing an identity without navigating our way through the world without the explicit rudder of culture. In fact, in the May issue of the Oracle 20/20 Magazine, Patrick Paul Garlinger states in his article Consciousness Without Identity,
“that efforts at defining ourselves as an identity are never sufficient to the task of understanding who we are. Our identities are always partial claims to the fullness of our being. The truth of who we are—the infinite self, or divine being, occupying a human body in this world—is not dependent on these identities.” Further, he says “because our egos believe our identities are necessary to our survival, we tend to cling to our identities and defend them constantly. Our sense of identity becomes a mechanism of defending our existence, and our claim to belonging in this world. In that way, our identity is always being scrutinized for where it is being undermined or disrespected, where boundaries are being crossed, where we are not being seen in and through that identity as we have constructed it. Identities place us in a constant state of vigilance, looking to where we are not seen and therefore do not exist, which is why there is a constant outrage of our identities…In an enlightened world, the ego operates in separation and that seeks to eliminate difference would no longer be the dominant consciousness. All differences—not just the categories we currently recognize and hold onto –would be respected. And if we were living in an enlightened state, we would regard other people’s differences as equally valid expressions of the infinite possibilities that a human form can take. For as you awaken and let go of the survivalist mentality that characterizes most of humanity, then other’s differences are no longer threatening to you and yours are not threatening to them. But if you were validated already, and you were not seen for your identity, but because however, you express your own humanity was recognized as a valid expression of the divine, then there would be no need for defense.”
As I read the article several questions went through my mind. My truth is I have more questions than answers at this stage of my journey.
(1) I do not know his personal history. However, as a man with European features is it easier for him to talk about separating from identity when it is probable that he was never robbed of his identity or longed to now it fully? Some in the conscious community would even argue that as a European his own culture is not genuine but one created by borrowing from the culture of others. However, that argument has some obvious holes in it.
2) As an oppressed African-American in this country colonization destroyed the identity of culture that I could never fully embrace in this country. As I awakened, I did so through knowledge of self and that pathway for me led back to Kemet a few years back. Nonetheless, recently I heard a leading conscious teacher state that people often refer to Kemet as the apex of Africa in civilization but Kemet was actually at its decline then. So, as the first humans in the Earth, direct descendants of God, there was no need for the same identities used today especially before African exploration and eventual European colonization. (Africans were the only ones here and according to the facts existed in a higher state of human form demonstrating greater abilities). Therefore, what was identity like for African people before Kemet as direct descendants of The Creator?
3) Is it possible to exist successfully in today’s society without adhering to certain identities? If so what does that look like in practice? If not, what are acceptable boundaries and expectations in respect to these identities? What guidelines determine how these boundaries are created? Who’s right? Who’s wrong and why?
4) How does respect for identities affect our practice and understanding of the universal law of oneness? The law of oneness says everything that exists seen and unseen are connected to each other, inseparable from each other to a field of divine oneness. Divine all-knowing, the matrix, pure consciousness or universal mind energy, sometimes also known as Life Force or God. Everything is one.
5) If we respectfully regard other people’s differences as equally valid expressions of the infinite possibilities that a human form can take regardless of what they are, does that lead to unity or chaos especially when we consider the societal foundations that are already in place? Further, has the time come to redefine identities and labels in today’s society so that personal evolution as a society is more accessible?
Perhaps consciousness can be defined not as totally one or the other but is inclusive in some way of both definitions.
Garlinger closes that article by stating,
“We do not live in an enlightened world…consider this call to hold them more gently. As we progress on the spiritual path, as we deepen our relationship to the Divine, we come to worry less about self-preservation. The natural result of that shift in our minds is that our grip on our identities loosens and softens. As we awaken to our true nature, as utterly perfect and divine creations capable of living in unity with the rest of the world, we can regard our identities as a kind of stepping stone, as a way of claiming our place in the world until we realize that we no longer need to claim it in that way. We do not need to claim them as a life raft…see them as temporary expressions of who we are right now, recognizing that bound or limited by those identities…we belong in this world, we—and all of our many differences.”
I respectfully say to Garlinger thank you for writing the article and causing me to think Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to be a part of a meaningful conversation that leads to personal answers that satisfy my curiosity as well as gaining some personal growth. I honor Garlinger’s journey. Perhaps he feels the same about me.
Thank you for reading. I would truly enjoy reading about your truth on the topic. Please share your authentic truths with us if you have responses to the questions above, comments, more questions or concerns. Enlighten us.
Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.
In peace and light,