Thought of the Day: On Societal Roles

I recalled a day I was sitting in a classroom at a community college. The class was called Intro to Sociology, SOC 101. In the class we were going through the different roles we play in society. In an activity set up by the teacher we all wrote our different roles to see how many roles we played in society. A lot of us played many roles from being brothers, fathers (not me fortunately!), artists, musicians, cousin of others, worker of such and such place (profession), and the list went on. The teacher used the activity to show us how our society is set up. What he did not tell us was the negative connotations that it has in our society when everyone starts to identify themselves as such role players. 

When we attach ourselves to these roles we attach to the identity of what society defines us to be. We, as ego, have the ability to choose what role we can play at any given moment depending on what we are trying to portray. If we are trying to portray ourselves as something powerful, our role would not include that of being a son/daughter. It would instead coincide with the role that makes the most money, and therefore is portrayed as having the “most” power. We then identify with our personal status, profession, the success or lack of success we have become according to society’s standards, simply describing who our ego is. When we start to identify as the ego (that lives within the body which has a beginning and an end, therefore not ever-lasting), we distract ourselves from identifying who we are as spirit (which is something that always was, and everlasting). If we identify as the ego, we will never be free from suffering from earthly matters that do not matter.

Take for instance Gandhi’s experience when he was physically picked up and thrown into prison for sitting in the train cabin that was only supposed to hold South African whites. After this happened, he was enraged and retaliated because his ego was bruised from such an event. While in prison, he instinctively knew that this was not the appropriate response that he gave. Instead he deepened his inner spiritual practices so that he could no longer feel any hate against his opponent no matter what his opponent did. Had he not done this, Gandhi’s work would have never gotten as far as he had gotten in the world, and he would not be famous as he is now.  

Instead of identifying with our role that we play in society, we need to identify with who we are as spirit so we can reach into higher consciousness. When we reach such state with practice, we will free ourselves from what enslaves us in our society: fear. Fortunate for us, it is something that everyone can accomplish, if and only if we practice this daily moment by moment. Once we reach this state of consciousness we being to be what we only can be as spirit, truth and love.

A practice that everyone (including me) can do is to make a list of qualities that you consider as being your higher self that you would like to cultivate. Such things would be for example qualities of having no judgement, no attachments, meeting people where they are, etc. These qualities are the same thing as your intentions. After you make this list, make a list of the qualities that prohibit you to obtain these qualities, which come from the ego. After this, create an affirmation, self-talk, or prayer that you are going to be aligned with all qualities that come from your higher self.