“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Jack Kornfield
We all come into this world with names given to us by our families. Traditionally, names were used to extend the family lineage, through the reuse of various family members names and the continual usage of the paternal last name. However, in this day and age, there is more freedom of lateral movement against the traditional practices of the past. We have more freedom to work with our own identity, finding greater use of self expression through what feels right to each one of us.
Of course, many people lack the awareness or consciousness to actually question the ‘identity’ assigned to them through their families and society. Most people feel much safer abiding very closely by the norms of society and the traditional practices of the family. However, in this way life can be an endless expression of conditioning, with very little true authenticity of real freedom to have the awareness to make choices that are based on real knowledge. Most, if not all of us are caught in this massive and hegemonic pull of fitting into a homogenized sense of ‘norm’, that is actually very disturbing, as it benefits many institutional bodies, far more than us as individuals.In my own experience of life, I understand the necessity of abiding by certain cultural and social norms, yet I also see a strong benefit in living my life as the person I feel myself to be. Perhaps, this can be seen as egocentric and selfish, yet identity for me is something that I feel on a very deep inner level. One example is how we use our name as our means of prime identity. In my own life, I never ever resonated with my birth name, it meant nothing to me, it felt odd and hollow, yet I used it until I became more engrossed in spirituality and realized I could use a spiritual name. I could not wait to change my name to something that resonated with who I felt myself to be.
In the last five years, I received a name that deeply resonated with me and began using it exclusively. Many people, mostly in my own family thought that I was using another name to be someone else. The truth of the matter is that the birth name that I used most of my life was not me, while my spiritual name resonated so deeply, it is my true name. I have even had many dreams where I am explaining to others how when I first received my name, it was like I finally had my real name in this life. This is something that is very difficult to explain to others, as it must be directly experienced, rather than theoretically discussed. The feeling was as though I finally had my own name, a name that expressed who I am on an inner level, who I have always been.
Through this experience I recently had a job, where they called me by my birth name as it’s my ‘legal’ name. I felt a deep emptiness and only registered to that name because I know it used to be what I was previous called. After one year, I realized that I can no longer go by my birth name, it means nothing to me, I have no connection to it, in any way. Thus, I am changing my name legally to what resonates with me, as the person who I am in this life.
In my life, I feel I have the autonomy and freedom to make such choices for myself and I will continue to make many similar choices regarding how I wish to live my life, as my life belongs to me and me alone.
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