I’ve been studying Taoism with my teacher Kyle Henry. Taoism is a philosophy that forms the underpinnings of both Yin Yoga and Katonah Yoga, two styles of yoga that are prominent in my personal practice.
Simplifying things a lot, one of the core aspects of Taoism is that it seeks to answer three big esoteric questions:
- Origin: Who are you?
- Destination: Where are you going?
- Control: Who is in charge?
These are lifetime questions.
In a recent training, my breakout group discussed the complications of answering “who are you?”
“Who are you” is complicated because it raises the question of “who are you” versus “who do you think you are.”
We may also confuse “who are you” with “who do you think you need to be?”
And we often confuse “who are you” with the roles we play in life.
The first things we learn about who we are come from other people. Specifically, other people who often have a vested interest or an emotional attachment to who we become and how we are perceived in the world.
We learn how we need to show up to receive love and what type of people are accepted in the worlds we inhabit.
Eventually we learn to define ourselves by the roles we play in life — whether job titles or relationship descriptions.
None of these answers the question “who are you?”
The answer to “who are you” comes after we dissolve all of the layers of conditioning of what people told us about who we are. This is a process of discovery, not merely an answer to a question.
The first step to discovering “who are you” is recognizing that you’re in control of your own narrative.