Role-Playing and the Eternal Riddle

Forget your name for a while. Let’s say that “Who am I?” is a real question now. Escaping name and form means finding out who you really are. Most of the time we experience ourselves through limitation. Playing a role is a limitation, yet every person slips in and out of roles all the time.

It is difficult for most children to accept the fact that mothers live lives that are not centered entirely around motherhood–such is the natural self-centeredness of all small children. But over time we learn to slip into our own roles by following the examples of our parents.

Taking on more roles seems like a way of expanding our experience. A woman who was only a mother would find her life suffocating. Being “complete” in our society means wearing as many hats as possible. But being complete really means being free from all roles. I am a free spirit reduced to the appearance of this little body.

Stepping out of the role playing is a tricky business, yet you cannot define yourself through the roles you play. So what is the experience of being entirely free from roles? It is actually quite simple. When you wake up in the morning, there is an instant before you start thinking about your day, a moment of just feeling awake without any particular thoughts on your mind. You are just yourself, in a simple state of awareness.

This experience of simplicity repeats itself off and on during the day, but few people notice it, because our habit is to identify with the thinking process. It too goes on throughout the day. In reality, however, you are not what you are thinking.

Roles come to an end, and one day each of us is faced with the riddle “Who am I?” which never got answered, no matter how well we played our roles.

Adapted from The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 1995).


Elisa F.
Elisa F2 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Maria Papastamatiou

Interesting food for thought.

Maria Papastamatiou


heather g.
heather g5 years ago

I immediately have to stop myself from reacting when anyone ascribes a role to me..... I will question their idea assertively - unless it is someone calling me a free spirit !

Mary B.
Mary B5 years ago

I think our true identity is source energy. Here, we are in a human body, running on the nervous system and pulling up pictures and experiences archived in our DNA to create an identity to 'be' and focus it thru a mechanism called 'the ego'. We are a living library.

Susan S.
Susan S5 years ago

Shakespeare would also convince us to believe that we are all actors in the stage of life. Thanks.

Uma Chernoff
Judith Shafer5 years ago

Yes Dot, ubiquitous, there is nothing special,different, or out of the ordinary, about God. There is no room in creation for anything but God; it is the source of ALL THAT IS, everywhere, occupying all space and time.

Dot Alexander
Dot A5 years ago

all goose bumpy !!! @both Uma C and Bob C
Your comments are wonderfully expressed and keep the inspiration sparked!!!

No-Thing! yes, Yes, YES!

God is No Thing. so try giving a disertation to our physical-material-aiming world on no-thing and we understand why many are weak in spirit! And yet, we still are spirit, no matter if weak! Our world is hearing the call of our spirits for freedom, fairness, compassion, pursuit of happiness, too!!! These pages connect our collective consciousness for strengthening the spirit. > The no-thing part of everything and everybody.

all goose bumpy*

Dot Alexander
Dot A5 years ago

Teresa Wlosowicz says
Feb 25, 2011 6:32 AM
Role-playing is often more important than sincerity.

Call this: Conscious manipulation. Our roles change - either for the yin, or the yan, and spirit will out. Sincerely,...

Uma Chernoff
Judith Shafer5 years ago

Thanks Max, you have the most delicious dry sense of humor.