What’s in a name?

Posted: February 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Whole Life Advice | No Comments »

Some people think their name is very important. In fact, some people are so attached to their name that they actually think they are their name. So, what’s in a name? What is a name, really?

Your name was given to you after you were born. Even though you existed in your mother’s womb prior to birth, no one referred to you by name until after you were born. So, who were you before you were born? What were you before you were born?

Regardless of your opinion of ‘when life begins,’ almost everyone will agree that a child who has been living in the womb for 7 or 8 months is in fact a complete human being, entitled to all the protections and rights of a new born baby. Question: is the unborn child ‘incomplete?’ Is the unborn child just a ‘partial’ human being because the child has no name? Of course not.

When my first son was born, we did not give him a name for several months. We just called him ‘beautiful soul.’ That’s all. We did this intentionally because we didn’t want our relatives (or ourselves) to begin treating him like ‘a person.’

You see, we are so much more than just a person. Our ‘personhood’ begins when we get caught up in our name and form. The truth is, in essence, we are neither our name nor our form. Names and forms are always changing. Your body undergoes change every minute of every day of your life. It is never the same. Though your name doesn’t change as often as your form, or may not even change at all during your life, it is certainly not unusual for a person’s name to change. For example, in many cultures it is customary for a woman to change her name when she is married. It is also not unusual for a person to change their name for career purposes; for example, entertainers, writers, and others sometimes change their names.

Although our body (and sometimes our name) changes, there is ‘something’ about each one of us which is not subject to change or alteration. That ‘something’ is who and what you really are. What you really are cannot be superimposed upon, cannot be defined (put in a box), or even imagined. You are indivisible, invisible, invincible Divine Spirit.

Now, I know some people will object to this phrase ‘Divine Spirit,’ so let me clarify what I mean. The ‘spirit’ is simply the energy, or life force, which empowers the mind to think and gives the body the power to act. This energy-field is indestructible and is beyond both mind and matter, which is why it is called ‘divine.’ ‘Divine’ simply means that which is beyond mind and matter—and what is that?—that is Consciousness.

The life force is the energy that emanates from Consciousness. This is called PRANA. Prana is the inherent force of Consciousness. In essence, you are Consciousness, I am Consciousness, everyone is Consciousness, and that Consciousness is indestructible. You are eternal, I am eternal, everyone is eternal. We are not temporarily eternal—that makes no sense. You and I are eternal and we are also unique—one of a kind; hence, each and every one of us can also be called one-without-a-second. We did not become unique, or one-of-a-kind at some point in time. No—we have always existed and will always exist (though not in the same form) as eternal conscious beings. Although each and every one of us is eternal, there is ‘Something’ greater than you and greater than I, which is also eternal, and is also One-Without-a-Second, and THAT is the Supreme Absolute Consciousness. Some call that Ultimate Reality the Supreme Being, some say GOD, others say Paramatma (Supreme Soul), and there are so many other names too.

GOD’s names are His qualities. For example, Mitra: Friend; Dayalu: Compassionate One; Atiti: Indestructible;–the names (qualities) of God are innumerable and unalterable, and describe God’s qualities. To put it another way: names are descriptors which describe or define qualities.

Our names should also describe our qualities. A name is not a number. Numbers can be used for reference and record keeping, and sometimes names are used in this way too, but a name is more than a number. Our name should describe the quality of our essence, our character—it should tell something about who and what we really are. Our name should remind us (and others) of our real nature.

When the mind is reminded over and over again of our real nature, our mind begins to look more and more like who we really are. In other words, the mind begins to resemble the Self. Then we are no longer confused about who we are.

The mind needs to be ‘washed’ (purified, clarified) with correct conceptions in order to have right perception. In other words, the ‘brainwashing’ must be washed away, otherwise the misconceptions will lead to misperception and misunderstanding, which in turn lead to self-deceit, self-defeat, and self-destruction.

This is why it is so important to put the right thoughts into your mind, because then the mind will reflect on those good thoughts, and the mind will become better and better. In other words, it will become a better reflector of who you are—your mind will not present a distorted image of your self. Instead, you will see (with the mind) who you really are and you will be your Self. ‘Being yourself’ means being true to your Real Self; it means doing actions which are in harmony with your real nature.

There is not much in a name unless it is backed up with action. In other words, ‘name’ (quality, form) and ‘function’ are inseparable. Form and function are intertwined and both express the essence of the ‘being’ or ‘thing’ denoted. However, whether expressed or unexpressed, the essence or essential character remains unaltered. The alteration comes about in the expression which is either free or repressed. The uninhibited expression of the Self is the experience of pure Love (the union of the Self and the Supreme Self). Anything less than this is the result of the adulteration of the mind due to misuse and abuse.

Don’t be so attached to your birth name—the name arbitrarily assigned to you at birth—especially if it is not a good reminder of who you really are. In fact, regardless of your name (whether it’s a good descriptor or not) you should not be attached to it. Remember: a name is only a reminder. Once you know who you really are you don’t need to remember it—but if you don’t practice being your self (if you don’t put self-knowledge into action), you will definitely forget who you really are even if you repeat your name like a parrot.

So, what’s in a name? Well, it really depends on what you put into it. Put your self (energy) into it and practice being who you really are. That’s what really matters. (It doesn’t really matter what your name is.) Practice good qualities. Detach your self from your name and wear it like an ornament. People may recognize you by your name, but you will recognize your Self only when you look into the mirror of the mind which has been purified with the Wisdom of Consciousness.

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