Any new identity that you find on your lifeís journey is going to morph into another identity as you continue along. All these identities can be healthy, yet itís undeniable that to grow from one identity to the next involves destruction. The habits of the old self must give way to the habits of the new.
Nature manages this act of destruction with as little pain as possible. If we can imagine what happens as a two-year-old turns into a 3-year-old, we will be looking at the most natural and painless way of transformation. What does nature do? Think back to yourself as a growing child. The process is so subtle that hardly anyone notices.
Nature let you be who you are. It didnít burden you with projecting prematurely into the future. It didnít hold you back in the past. It gave you new desires. These new desires led you in the right direction.
If you can evolve spiritually in just this way, you have found the truest path, regardless of the teacher or belief system you choose.
As parents we stand back and marvel at this metamorphosis, yet we donít apply it to ourselves. Instead we concoct a scheme for forced change, motivated by hating the ugly parts of ourselves, feeling insecure and inadequate, wanting anything but whatever is right before us.
Your true identity has remained untouched. You have never sinned against it or affected it in any way except to lose touch with it. The prevailing problem for each person is separation and nothing else.
So any path that wants you to change yourself must keep in mind that there is no self to change. There are only masks that we wear for a moment and then discard. If you can cherish yourself even as you discard your current favorite mask, you are living perfectly in the way of peace.
Adapted from Peace Is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2005).