Who are we? Are we our clothes? Our names? Our thoughts? Our emotions? Feelings in the body? You know it, we are none of that. Because we can shed all of those in one go as a crab can shed its shell or a snake can shed its skin. Are we our bodies?
You know who you are. You always know it. The one that writes honestly in a diary, the one that chooses to wear a certain pair of clothes. The one that secretly likes someone’s personality, but may not be able to express it. The one that has obscure feelings. The one that feels something amazing watching a baby lion and a baby chimp and a baby dog play together. Unfortunately, as time passes, this you gets tied to the shell, all around you. Most of us never really fully shed this shell. As time passes, your consciousness evolves, but the shell around you can remain.
Most of us never get to the point where we can even be aware of the shell. We are so lost in it, that we get in touch with the real us, only at the end of our lives or in moments where we are completely awestruck, and realize the beauty of something that gives us goosebumps. I have good news. It doesn’t have to be that way. But it takes work. You have to first get to the point where you can see the shell. Meditation. Any self awareness practice. Observing things from a place of non-judgement as they are. This will get you 99% of the way. You will see the shell. Not just that, you will have to do this over a period of time to be able to see that the shell is limiting you. And even more time to feel the pain that the shell is causing you. And a little more time to see, that you are sub-consciously holding onto the shell. Those tightening sensations, underneath those emotions, are your cues. When you can be aware of it, and let go of that pull from those invisible little threads in the different parts of your body where you feel it, holding you like a puppet, you can walk out of the shell — fresh and whole. It is like working with muscle memory, when you learn to skii, or learn a new sequence of body movements.
Just like a crab sheds it shell several times, so can you. There is no one all conquering moment. There is just a realization that the real you exists, and you can observe the shell, and shed it when you have reached the point of having outgrown your shell.