As we set out on the great adventure called 2021, many of us have lots of questions about what the year will bring. When will the pandemic end? Will I be able to return to my job, or will I have to reinvent myself? Will the kids be able to get out of the house? Will I be able go to a concert, travel, or visit my relatives? Can I hug people I love, or will everyone important to me be relegated to a little square image on my computer screen?
Yet behind all of these questions is one that will more fundamentally determine our experience: “Who will I be in the year to come?”
A webinar participant told me, “I was in Manhattan at the time of the 911 attack. After that incident I called myself a ‘911 Victim.’ After a few years, I got tired of defining myself as a victim, so I called myself a ‘911 Survivor.’ That eventually felt too heavy for me, so now I call myself a ‘911 Witness.’ Where do I go from here?”
“Now you become a ‘911 Student,”’ I told her. “Then you will graduate to become a ‘911 Master.’”
After the webinar, I told my partner Dee about the participant’s progression up the ladder of identity. Dee replied, “After she is done being a 911 Master, she will ask, ‘What’s 911?’” When you grow out of a limiting self-definition, you leave it behind like a snake sheds it skin and moves on to new territory.
Identity is not a fixed definition laid upon us by some external source. It is a version of reality we experience according to the vision we are using. If you feel limited by a painful identity, you can make a conscious choice to accept a more empowered self.
The best demonstration of experience by identity is Multiple Personality Disorder, more currently known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Some people with this disorder display physical diseases in one personality, but no trace of the ailment in another personality. One personality could be severely allergic to citrus, and break out in hives when eating an orange, while another personality could eat a basket of oranges with no side effects. One personality could be diabetic and require regular insulin injections, while in a disease-free personality the individual would be killed by the same insulin dose. One personality could show a cancer that is entirely absent in another personality. You might ask, “Who is that person really?” The answer is, “Whoever they identify with in a given moment.”
Ultimately, we are far more than any personality we claim. We are spiritual beings created in wholeness and perfection. Any identity we claim less than divine does not befit us. The spiritual path is one of ascending the ladder of identity, moving from denser and more painful identities to lighter and freer ones, until we discover there was never any ladder at all. Even while we moved through various imagined versions of ourself, we remain as God created us.
Moving into 2021, we may be tempted to define ourselves as Covid victims, survivors, or observers. To the worldly mind, those identities may seem the only alternatives, but there are more. We could just as easily see ourselves as Covid students or Covid masters, empowered by the spiritual lessons we have learned, and passing them on to others for their benefit. We can also rise entirely beyond Covid and choose an identity that has nothing to do with it.
Abraham-Hicks said, “When a disease is diagnosed, the patient usually experiences an exacerbation of the symptoms.” This is because the patient assumes the identity of someone with that disease. We can make the principle work in our favor and reverse the result. When we refuse to identify ourselves with a particular disease or limiting situation, the symptoms of that disease or situation tend to disappear.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” “Mansions” means many rooms or realms of consciousness. Even as you read these words, there are many different realities that human beings are experiencing. Some are horrible and some are ecstatic. We each walk in the atmosphere of our own believing.
Many people are glad to put 2020 behind us. It was a challenging year for most people. What if we chose to really put it behind us by not identifying with the symptoms blared on the news, but identifying with who God created us to be? What if we chose to leave old Covid ideas behind, and make space for a new and brighter version of who we are? When we hold steadfast to our true self, we are in the most empowered position to be healed and to heal, to be blessed and to bless. Healing is an identity shift from the body to spirit, from limitation to freedom, from fear to love. What seemed to happen does not have to have anything to do with what is happening or what will happen. It takes courage to accept and express our divinity. Finding and living that courage could be the greatest gift we bring to 2021.
© 2021 Alan Cohen Publications