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Role-Playing and the Eternal Riddle

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).

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.


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8:05AM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Thanks for the article.

8:51AM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Interesting food for thought.

8:50AM PST on Mar 3, 2011


3:05AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

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 !

8:33PM PST on Feb 25, 2011

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.

6:37PM PST on Feb 25, 2011

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

5:32PM PST on Feb 25, 2011

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.

12:03PM PST on Feb 25, 2011

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*

11:53AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

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,...

10:53AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

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

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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