Underneath all the ways you identify yourself—your name, age, body, race, profession, attributes, and accomplishments—at your very core, who are you?
This is the question that we are exploring in depth today. The simple answer is: you are pure consciousness. And you have the power to elevate your consciousness, be more of who you truly are, and change how you experience every moment of your life.
You have the power to see the world, yourself, and other people in a way that is enlightening, empowering, and conscious—and I want to share a few powerful tools to help you tap into that power today.
- Why timeless, nameless, faceless consciousness exists underneath our name, race, age, political identity, and every other so-called descriptor that identifies who we are.
- The potential problems with identifying who you are based on superficial attributes.
- How to take a step back from your consciousness and liberate yourself from the emotions you’re feeling in any given moment.
- How to recognize the roles and differences that our ego and consciousness play when we’re forming our identity.
- What happens when we identify as our true self, stop defining ourselves by circumstances or achievements, and give ourselves the power to transcend our situations–no matter what they are.
- “When you identify as your consciousness, as who you truly are, you can transcend the drama and the problems and being offended.” – Hal Elrod
- “Every painful emotion you’ve ever experienced is self-created by our resistance to our reality.” – Hal Elrod
- “You can be at peace with all things you can’t change and proactively, consciously focus on all the things that are within your sphere of influence.” – Hal Elrod
- Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament by Michael Singer
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer
- The Surrender Experiment: My Journey Into Life’s Perfection by Michael Singer
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Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today we are going to ask the question, who are you? Picture me, right? I’m looking at you with just intensity. I’m squinting my eyes. I’m looking at you with a deep curiosity and empathetic stare. I’m giving you my full attention and I’m asking sincerely, who are you? And today we’re going to explore that question in-depth and in the context of consciousness, meaning that beneath your name and your age and your body and your race, ethnicity, your profession, your accomplishments, the different roles that you play in life, so on and so forth, all the different ways that we typically identify who are you really. Who are you at your core at the most fundamental level? What is the most fundamental truth when it comes to answering that question? And the answer that I’m inviting you to consider, spoiler alert, is that you are pure consciousness, also known as conscious awareness.
You are the consciousness that’s aware that you have a name and aware that you have a body, and aware of your thoughts, aware of your emotions, aware of your physical sensations. You are pure consciousness. And today we’re going to explore the implications of adopting that paradigm in your life. And towards the end of the episode, I’m going to share with you how to elevate your consciousness so that you can be more of who you truly are and the benefits it will give you in how you experience every moment of your life. And I will tell you, I really enjoyed today’s episode, by the way. It was one of those where I actually kind of started with a few loose notes and I just hit record. I had like I was inspired and I’m like, “We’ll see where this goes,” and in full transparency, probably, at least half the time when I do that, I get like 17 minutes in and I’m like, “I don’t know where I’m going with this.” And then I have to go back to the drawing board and like do a lot of research and planning and outlining.
Today was one, though, where I just started, and it didn’t stop. I just kept flowing. And I will tell you, there’s probably about three-fourths of the way through, I think there was about 5 minutes or so where I did get a little bit repetitive, I think, and I kind of noticed that. But if you can make it through that, make it until the end, I think you’ll be glad because I finished it with just some powerful considerations for us all to adopt into our way of thinking and way of being. So, I think today turned out pretty well.
Now, before we dive into the podcast, of course, I have two sponsors that I want to acknowledge and I want to thank for making the show possible. They bring you the show every week. The first is our newest sponsor, CURED Nutrition. And I have to tell you, the last few episodes I’ve been talking about the first-ever product I discovered from CURED Nutrition, which is called Rise. I take it first thing in the morning. You know, the name, Rise, you probably figured that out but it helps sharpen my cognitive ability, helps me knock out my to-do list, and just focus better. It’s called Rise. However, this last week I just started taking their CBN Nighttime Oil. CBN is like it’s a derivative of hemp like CBD but CBN nighttime oil, and according to CURED, it’s the most potent sleep product on the market. And I wouldn’t disagree. I take it 2 hours before bedtime and, oh my gosh, I have been sleeping so deep, literally.
Actually, I first decided to take it when I was going out of town to Monterrey last week and going to stay in a hotel, because that’s usually when, you know, I don’t know about you but you stay in a hotel, my sleep is the worst. I’m not in my own bed. Maybe you can relate. But this time I took the CBN and I slept like a baby and I took it again. You know, I’m home now. I took it last night. Same thing. So, if you could use help with your sleep, I highly recommend checking out CURED Nutrition’s CBN Oil and, of course, if you want help with your mental clarity and focus, I recommend checking out the Rise product. Just head over to CUREDNutrition.com/Hal and you’ll get 20% off your entire order and I hope you find something there that enhances your life.
And last but not least, our longtime sponsor is Organifi. And Organifi makes some of the best, if not the best, highest quality whole food nutritional supplements in powder form. So, for example, their protein powder, their vanilla plant-based organic protein powder, I use it every day in my smoothie. I’m a huge fan and they’ve also got products for sleep, for energy, for anxiety, you name it. There’s a wide variety of natural whole food products available. Head over to Organifi.com/Hal and you’ll get also there, as a listener to the podcast, an additional 20% off your entire order. And I’m a big fan of, you know, supplementing from companies that I’ve vetted out to use whole foods in their supplements, not synthetic chemicals. And that’s why I love CURED Nutrition, I love Organifi, and I use kind of the best of each of their products.
So, alright, without further ado and, by the way, I appreciate you supporting our sponsors because they make, as I said, make this show possible. All right. Without further ado, let’s explore the question, who are you?
Hal Elrod: Hey, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning community, friends, and family. Thank you for tuning in today. I just got back from Monterey, California. I was there for a few days speaking at an event called Thrivers Live, and it was made up of 600 hairstylists and salon owners all in the room, and then there was another 500 or so at home watching virtually. And it was a great event on many levels. But the day I was flying there, I got a migraine. And if you’ve ever had a migraine or just any kind of headache, you know, it can be miserable, and you just want to be at home or in one place, right? You don’t want to be traveling on a plane listening to the announcements over the loudspeakers dealing with flight delays, which I was all of that. So, it was pretty much what might have been a miserable day traveling had it not been for the strategy that I’m going to share with you today. It’s really a shift in consciousness, if you will, that we’re going to talk about today.
And to be clear, I’m not sharing this with you for the purpose of how to deal with migraines, although you can apply this if you’re not feeling well or dealing with some sort of physical pain, you’re sick, but that’s not the focus of today. Today, we’re going to explore this in the context of the question, who are you? And answering that at the deepest level, peeling back the layers of who you think you are, who we all think we are, and really getting to the core in the context and I’ll kind of give it away that we are pure consciousness and we’re going to explore how that awareness, how that realization, how applying that can impact your life in ways that you might not even be able to imagine. Now, I’m reading a book right now. I think I mentioned this last week. The book is Living Untethered by Michael Singer, who also wrote one of my favorite books, The Untethered Soul. In fact, that book is what really introduced me to the concept of inner freedom, which we’ve talked a lot about, about being completely free inside in terms of how we experience the world and ourselves and our lives.
So, I was really excited because that’s one of my favorite books, The Untethered Soul when I found out that Michael had a new book coming out, a follow-up, if you will, called Living Untethered. And, FYI, I reached out to Michael, by the way, to be on the podcast and his publicist came back. This was last week. He said, “Michael’s not doing any interviews right now,” but they’re going to add me to the list. And if he is doing interviews, they’ll reach back out. So, there you go. I couldn’t get Michael on the podcast so I’m going to read an excerpt from the book, Living Untethered. Actually, what I’m going to read is essentially my notes, if you will. It’s all the pieces that I have underlined and circled and highlighted. And one of the concepts that Michael addresses in both of these books that I’m talking about is exploring the question, who are you?
So, let’s start there. Most people would probably answer that starting with their name, right? If you met somebody. If we met and you said, “Who are you?” I’d say, “Hi. I’m Hal.” And, “Who are you?” And you might answer, “Oh, hi. I’m Sarah,” or Becky or John or whatever, right? But that’s just the way we often introduce ourselves. That’s who we are. We identify with our name. But when you really think about it, like, are you your name? Am I my name? Is that all we are? That’s just the word that our parents assign to us at birth. But we’re not our name. If they would have named you differently, giving you a different name, you know, Bob or Jim or Sarah or whoever, whatever the name, you’d still be you, the person, the consciousness, if you will, listening to my voice right now. You’re not your name. By the way, that alone, just that simple distinction of realizing that, “I’m not Hal. I’m not Hal Elrod. I’m not Hal Austin Elrod. Those are just sounds coming out of my mouth. Letters on a piece of paper,” that’s been a huge game-changer to realize, just that simple shift in awareness. It’s interesting that you’re not your name. That’s who you’ve always thought you were. You’ve always introduced yourself as that and identified as that.
So, let’s keep going. Who are you? Now, you might answer based on your body. In my case, I might answer. I’m a 43-year-old man but we’re not our body. Alright. Think about this. When you were ten years old, wasn’t the you inside, the you that looked in the mirror and saw a ten-year-old face staring back at you, isn’t that the exact same you, the same consciousness that’s looking through your eyes now at whatever age you are? Your body has changed, your body has aged, you know, your cells have reproduced over and over and over again but you are not your body. You’re still you, that same consciousness that looked through the eyes at 10, that looked through the eyes at 40 and 50 and 90. So, this nameless faceless consciousness inside that is aware of everything that’s coming in through our five senses, as well as aware of our thoughts and our emotions that we experience. So, could it be that who we truly are is this consciousness that is aware? When I look in the mirror at age 43, you know, again, it’s the same conscience that looked when I was a kid.
Now, there are all sorts of different ways we identify. We identify as our race or our nationality. I’m a Caucasian or I’m an African-American. I’m a man. I’m a woman. My wife identifies as Polish. You know, some of us might identify with a political party or an ideology that can be really strong for some people or a religion, right? I am a Democrat or I am a Republican or I am a Catholic or I’m Jewish, so on and so forth. So, there’s a lot of ways that we identify. But when you really get to the point who you really are, you keep getting back to this and we’re going to really unpack it. But you are that consciousness that’s aware of your name, that’s aware of your body, that’s aware of the color of your skin. But the consciousness doesn’t have a skin color. Right? You’re aware of your age but does the consciousness have an age? We’ll talk more about that later. But maybe. I don’t know, right? But the wrinkles you see on you, all of that, we are that timeless consciousness.
And so, what I did on the plane, going back to my day with the migraine, and in some ways this example might feel obscure at first but I think it’ll make more sense as we go on. But when I had a migraine, and I’m reading this book, so this is top of mind for me, this idea that we are consciousness, we aren’t our body, we aren’t our mind. And we’ll talk more about the mind here in a minute because a lot of times when you get deep underneath these other layers, some people will land on the mine, right? Or mind. Land on the mine. Land on the mind meaning, well, I guess I’m my mind, right? My mind, my thoughts, so on and so forth. But anyway, so back to the idea that the day that I had a migraine and I’ve been reading this book, I thought, “Huh, I don’t have a migraine meaning my consciousness doesn’t have a migraine. Now, my body, my brain might have a migraine. It’s physical, right? It’s a physiological thing, that migraine.”
But instead of identifying with my migraine and going, “Oh, my God, I have a migraine, it feels horrible,” and just feeling helpless and powerless like I’m feeling I’m dying right now, which if you have a migraine, it kind of feels like that. I said to myself, “No. Hal has a migraine.” It’s like a little weird but stay with me. I don’t have a migraine. Hal has a migraine. That physical being that my parents named, right, my body has a migraine but my consciousness doesn’t have a migraine. Interesting. And it was incredible that when I was able to step out of identifying with my migraine as like part of me, who I was, if you will, in that moment, someone with this horrific migraine that was just killing me when I said, “I don’t have a migraine. Hal has a migraine,” it might sound like a minor distinction but it’s monumental when you begin to apply it in different contexts outside of having a migraine. So, for me, I felt this separation.
And if you really start to explore, which is what we’re going to do today, the implications of being aware of who you really are, like your consciousness. For example, your consciousness isn’t offended when you think, “Oh, I’m so offended by this person, what they said or what they did.” You’re identifying with the part of you that is offended. And today I’m inviting you to transcend that part of you to realize that who you truly are isn’t offended. Your consciousness isn’t offended, right? Your beliefs might be offended. Your beliefs based on your identity, who you were when you grew up, what you were told is right, wrong, appropriate, inappropriate. When somebody says, “That’s so rude,” like who made that up? Who said that that thing was rude? What if someone else doesn’t think that’s rude? Is it rude? Or are we basing what we’re offended by what’s rude on our past, on things that we learned in the past that most often we didn’t even decide for ourselves? Very often a lot of our beliefs are handed down from other people, right? They’re handed down from other people. They’re not even it’s like, “Oh, our mom told us that it was rude to put your elbows on the dinner table.”
So, we decided, “Yep. It’s rude and we got offended if we saw someone do that.” It’s like, “Wait a minute. Do you have to be offended by that?” So, your consciousness so not only is it not offended but it’s not jealous. Think about that. Your consciousness isn’t jealous. Your consciousness isn’t whatever you identify as in the moment. Your consciousness is the one that sits behind all of that and is aware that there is being offended, that there is anger or jealousy or depression or frustration or fear. But you can sit back, as Michael Singer talks about, he calls it being in the seat of the self. You can sit back in the seat of the self. Who you truly are, you can reside there. And when you do, it’s liberating. It’s a really liberating state of being to kind of flip that switch to, “Wait. I’m going to actually identify as my consciousness. And my consciousness isn’t caught up in all this drama.” Well, you know, that’s my – it’s what Michael Singer calls, what do they called? Sanskrits? It doesn’t matter. It’s a word that I have trouble remembering.
But it’s not who we truly are that’s offended and that’s jealous and that’s upset and all of these things. But when you reside there, it’s liberating because when you identify as your consciousness, as who you truly are, you can transcend the drama and the problems and the being offended. It just changes. It’s like Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” And when you change your level of consciousness to identify as pure consciousness, the little things that irk you, that bother you, the problems, the this, the that, the things that make life unpleasant, you really can become transcendent. I’m probably going to use that word. To me, that’s the word that you can transcend all of those ego-based concerns. You could almost say that there’s consciousness and then there’s ego, and ego in the context of the identity that we’ve built up over our lifetime. Ego is a big word. It’s a broad word. There are different ways to define it. Some people would define ego as like arrogance, “Oh, that guy has a big ego. He’s arrogant.”
But really what ego is, at least in this context that I’m talking about, it’s your identity. And if somebody violates what you’ve decided, what your ego has decided is wrong, “That’s wrong. You defied what I believe is right or wrong,” then we get offended. But our consciousness isn’t offended. Our ego is offended. And so, this is really a separation of ego and consciousness. And it’s about identifying as what, you know, in spiritual text will often call it there’s the little i, which is your ego, right? The letter i. The little i and then there’s the big I, which is consciousness. The little i is ego. “I am offended. I’m upset. I’m angry. I don’t like you. I don’t agree with you.” That’s all little i. It’s all based on ego. “I am at peace with all things I can’t change.” That’s the big I, the capital I. “I love all people even if I don’t agree with them.” I say that’s the big I. That’s why some people call it God-consciousness, right? It’s your higher self or your highest self.
And most people, I think it’s fair to say, and we all do this but to varying degrees that identify with that little i that identify with our ego, with our thoughts. But again, today’s episode and we’re going to go deeper. This is about you can transcend all of those ego-based concerns. And you can operate from a place of consciousness that is pure, that is clear, that realizes you are not your problems. You are not your emotions. You are not your thoughts. You are the awareness, the consciousness, observing your thoughts and your emotions. You’re the one that is aware that you’re having them. That’s who you are.
All right. Before I keep telling you my take on this, I’m going to read to you from Michael Singer’s book, Living Untethered. This is essentially like Cliff Notes. This is like my Cliff Notes if you will because I’m just going to read to you the parts that I have highlighted and underlined from just a few chapters. I love Michael Singer’s work because his last couple of books, The Untethered Soul and Living Untethered, I’m sorry, The Surrender Experiment, Living Untethered, the chapters are like three, four pages, maybe five pages for the long ones. So, I love it because I read it at night and I just, you know, it just takes me a few minutes, read a few chapters. So, anyway, the point is that what you’re about to hear, these are really short excerpts. So, here we go. Chapter 1: Awareness of Self. This is Michael Singer’s words. Not my own.
Earth has been here for 4.5 billion years, yet each of us is limited to roughly an eighty-year ride on the planet, give or take a few years. We were born onto the planet, and we will leave it when we die. That is simply the truth. What is not such a hard and fast truth, however, is what our few years on Earth are like. Unfortunately, life on Earth rarely unfolds exactly as we want it to, and if we resist, our experience can be quite unpleasant. Resistance creates tension and anxiety, and it makes life a burden.
Let me pause for a second. I want to interject. You may have heard me talk about that many times throughout the years, right? Every painful emotion you’ve ever experienced is self-created by our resistance to our reality. And I love when I read something from another author and go, “Oh, wow, they’re teaching a similar philosophy or principle,” but they’re teaching it in a different way. And you may have heard it said that there are no new ideas but it can be so valuable to hear the same idea over and over again, ideally presented from a different perspective. We each have our own unique way of looking at things, articulating things as Michael Singer does. So, alright, back to the book. Michael goes on to say:
Resistance creates tension and anxiety, and it makes life a burden. To avoid this burden and be able to fully embrace life, wise ones throughout the ages have taught the importance of accepting reality exactly as it is. Teachings such as surrender, acceptance, and nonresistance form the basis of a deeply spiritual life. But these concepts can be difficult to grasp. In Living Untethered, we are embarking on a journey into the sheer reasonableness of acceptance and the great gifts it promises, gifts like freedom, peace, and inner enlightenment. Acceptance is best understood as nonresistance to reality. Try as you may, no one can make an event that has already happened not have happened. Your only choice is to accept the event or resist it. During our journey together, we will explore how and why you make this decision. But first, you have to understand who is within that has the power to decide.
Since we’re going to take a deep dive into the spirituality of acceptance, we must start by understanding who is in there accepting or resisting. We often identify with our bodies enough to say, “I’m a forty-three-year-old woman who is five foot six.” Is that really who you are in there: a forty-three-year-old, five-foot-six female body? Or is the body something you in there are aware of? To sort this out, let’s start with your hand. If you were asked whether you can see your hand, you would say, “Yes, of course, I see my hand.” Okay, but what if it got cut off? Now, don’t worry about the pain. Just for a moment, imagine it’s gone. Now, you’ve lost your hand but would you still be there? Wouldn’t you notice that your hand is gone? You in there who “sees” did not change. What you were looking at changed. Your body is just another thing you see. But the question remains: Who is in there doing the seeing?
Fortunately, to help you realize you are not your body, we don’t really need to go that far. Surely you’ve noticed that your body didn’t look the same when you were three or ten, or twenty, or fifty years old. It certainly won’t look the same when you’re eighty or ninety. But isn’t it the same you in there looking at it? When you were ten years old and you looked in the mirror, did you see what you see now? No, but wasn’t it you looking—then and now? You’ve been in there the whole time, haven’t you? That’s the core, the essence, of everything we’re discussing. Who are you? Who is in there looking out through those eyes and seeing what you’re seeing? When you look out at that mirror, you are not what you see—you are the one who sees it.
Chapter 2: The Conscious Receiver. Once you recognize that you’re in there, you’re going to notice that objects around you tend to distract your consciousness. A neighborhood dog barks, somebody walks in the room, you smell the aroma of coffee, and your awareness is drawn to these objects. On a daily basis, you are so distracted by external objects that you rarely remain centered on You, the conscious receiver of these objects.
There was a great saint from India, Ramana Maharshi. His entire spiritual path was to every moment persistently ask: “Who sees when I see? Who hears when I hear? Who feels when I feel?” The entire spiritual journey back to the seat of Self is not about finding yourself—it’s about realizing you are the Self. Even in a Judeo-Christian sense, if somebody asks whether they have a soul, the correct answer is, “No, you don’t have a soul—you in there, the consciousness, are the soul.”
Earlier we discussed that when you were young, you looked out through your eyes and saw a certain reflection in the mirror. Later in your life, you saw a very different reflection. From that point of view, how old are you? Not how old is your body. How old are you in there who’s looking out through those eyes at your body? If you were in there when you were ten, if you were in there when you were twenty, if you’re going to be in there on your deathbed noticing that you’re dying, then what age are you in there? Don’t answer that question, just let it touch you at a very deep level. Are you willing to let go of traditional concepts about your age?
The same is true of race. Your skin may be a certain color, but the consciousness that notices this has no color at all. You are not your body; you are the one who notices the characteristics of your body. You are the conscious awareness within that is looking at all of this. The question is: Are you willing to let go of who you thought you were?
Okay. I’m going to read excerpts from just one more chapter, Chapter 3: Living Inside. And then, by the way, we’re going to dive deep into this. We’re going to pull this apart. We’re going to go into this. All right.
We are back to the most basic truths of your life: you’re in there, you know that you’re in there, and you’ve been in there a long time or you’ve been in there all along. This raises some interesting questions, such as, when the body dies, will you still be aware of being? Isn’t that an interesting question?
Let me read that again, you guys.
When the body dies, will you still be aware of being? Isn’t that an interesting question? You are guaranteed to personally find out someday whether you will be there after the body dies. Why do people have so much trouble with death? It’s got to be one of the most exciting aspects of your life. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! That is what’s waiting for you at the time of death. After that final moment, either you are going to be there or you are not. If you’re not there, don’t worry. It’s not like, “Oh my god, I’m not here. I don’t like this.” No. You’re not there, so it’s not going to be a problem. The other alternative, however, is much more interesting—what if you are there? Then you’re going to find out what it’s like to explore a whole other universe where you don’t even have a body. Let’s not talk about it further because it runs into people’s beliefs, concepts, or views about the subject. Let’s just let it be something to look forward to as the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The reason some people have so much trouble with death is because they identify with their bodies. As if that’s not enough, they also identify with their cars and their houses. People project their sense of self onto things that are not their self. When they do that, they feel afraid to lose those things. As you work your way through your inner growth, you won’t identify with these outer objects anymore. You’ll identify with the deeper sense of self within.
Now that it’s clear that you’re in there, it becomes reasonable to ask: What do you do in there? Even more relevant, what’s it like to be in there? What an interesting question to ask: What’s it like in there? If people answered honestly, most would say that it’s not always so much fun to be in there. In fact, sometimes it’s downright tough. What’s that all about? This is where we get down to a real honest discussion about inner growth. Most people don’t realize that it can always be nice in there.
All right. Pause. Let me interject one more time. What I’m about to read this next part from the book, this is the last little paragraph or excerpt that I’m going to read, this is really about what I call emotional enlightenment that we’ve been talking about on the podcast, or what Michael Singer refers to as inner freedom. So, we’ve been talking about a lot this last year where you have the ability to choose how you experience every moment of your life. And I shouldn’t say every moment because, you know, almost every moment but, of course, there are going to be things that happen that catch us off guard, that you weren’t prepared for, moments that we get thrown off, surprised, scared, etcetera. But we can choose how we experience almost every moment of our lives, right? When we’re unconscious and we’re reactive, we’re not choosing. When we’re living in an elevated state of consciousness, and we’re choosing how we experience every moment of our lives. All right. Here we go. Back to a reading from Living Untethered. Michael Singer says:
Most people don’t realize that it can always be nice in there. Take the nicest it’s ever been: holding your first child, the day of your wedding, your first kiss, winning the lottery. Recall that state, then increase it multifold and have it be that way all the time.
By the way, that’s what I’ve taught with emotional enlightenment, right? You choose the optimal emotional state and then you reinforce it and you make it that way all the time. Alright. Back to Michael Singer.
That is what you are capable of experiencing inside. That’s the truth. It is really beautiful in there, but something is messing it up. Imagine walking into a house that has dirt, and banana peels, and pizza crusts all over the place. It happens to be a beautiful house, but no one took care of it. It can be beautiful again, but some work needs to be done. This is exactly the situation inside you. In fact, that is why we’re on this inner exploration. Everybody wants the same thing: they would like it to be nice in there.
All right. I’m going to leave the readings at that. Okay. And again, if you want to check out the book, Michael Singer is the author and the book is called Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament. Alright. There’s a lot to unpack here. So, let’s unpack this. First and foremost, the concept of who you truly are as simply consciousness. Consider that you are conscious awareness. I don’t know about you but I was never exposed to that idea. I wasn’t taught that in school or even in church. Defining who we truly are seems like it would be one of the most fundamental questions to ask, explorations to undertake in all of life and yet, nobody ever asked me about that. Nobody ever shared this perspective. In society, we’re much more conditioned to identify based on our roles, right? I’m a kid. I’m an adult. I’m a mom. I’m a dad. I’m an entrepreneur. But that’s not who we are. Those are just our roles. Those can change at any time. Who we are, who you are is consciousness.
But we identify by our roles. You know, we identify as I’m mom, I’m a dad, and our whole life can revolve around our roles. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. It could be our career also, right? I’m an author. I’m a speaker. That’s how I identify when I introduce myself. But if you took away our career and our kids, do we cease to exist all of a sudden? No. So, we’re so much more than that. You know, it’s interesting. My dad’s about to retire and I talked to him the other day about it and he said, “It’s scary.” And I was genuinely curious. I said, “Dad, what do you mean? What’s scary about it?” And he said something along the lines of he said, “It’s my identity. I’ve been with this company for like 30 years,” or 20 years, I guess, something along those lines and he said, “You know, I have a role. This is who I am. This is what I do. It’s my identity. And for that to disappear is scary.” And my wife’s father is going through the same thing. He just retired and he’s struggling with it in the same way.
You’d think that retiring would be like the most liberating, greatest thing, “I’ve worked my whole life, and now I get to just really spend my time. I don’t have to go to work. I can do whatever I want.” You’d think it’d be totally liberating but why is it challenging? It’s because we identify with our roles, amongst other things, but we identify with our roles. And all that’s to say that if we’re not in touch with who we really are, which is what today’s episode is about, it’s about shifting your identity, elevating your consciousness to identify as consciousness. But if we’re not in touch with who we really are, then we’re susceptible to have these false ideas about who we are dictate how we feel and how we experience life. For example, if I see myself as a bestselling author, if that’s how I identify, and then my next book doesn’t do well, well, then who am I? Who am I now? I’m not who I thought I was. And this is a fundamental conversation that Michael refers to as like the ultimate spiritual journey.
And when we identify as our true self and really get down underneath those questions that the saint that Michael referred to said, “Who sees when I see? Who hears when I hear? Who thinks when I think? Who feels when I feel?” I know for me that, you know, I’ve gone from chasing success on the outside, and I’m sure that’s still part of my identity. I’m sure I haven’t transcended that completely. But when I was 19 years old, I started selling Cutco Cutlery. And in my first ten days, I broke the all-time company record. And that established this identity for me of like, “Wow. Look what I’m capable of. I’m capable of being an all-time record-breaker and doing something that’s never been done before.” And honestly, I got very addicted to that. That became my identity. Like, I got addicted to the achievement and the recognition. And then I had to keep up the identity. I had to keep breaking records to feel worthy, which is I think ultimately about, you know, that it’s trying to fulfill that deep-seated need. We have to feel loved, right?
Like, wow, when I break a record, everyone says, “Look at you. You’re awesome.” And then I feel worthy. I feel loved. And then I love myself because other people love me, right? Again, all of this is we’re basing our fulfillment, our feeling complete, on external factors that we’re not completely in control over. You know, for me, maybe I got really competitive. I had to beat somebody else. I had to be the best. I had to be the number one sales rep for the week or the month or the year or whatever. And here’s the thing. When you go through life where you find fulfillment or you, I should say, depend, it’s one thing to find fulfillment like as a bonus. There’s nothing wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with – and I’ll go on a quick tangent here about ego. Ego is not a bad thing, right? But if your ego controls you, it’s like anything. If anything controls you like negative emotions aren’t bad. I don’t believe they’re bad. They serve a purpose. But if they control you, if you’re controlled by your anger and it causes you to burn bridges and damage relationships and it’s physically hurting your body because you’re so angry, your blood pressure spiked, then that’s a problem.
And the same goes with ego. If your ego controls you and you’re an egomaniac in everything you do, right? Like, when I was younger and the story I just told, being 19, and I was driven by my ego and it had control of me and I identified with it. It’s a problem when you are controlled by these external forces or even internal forces such as ego. But there’s nothing wrong from my perspective of having an ego and even going, “Wow. You know, when I get recognized, when people acknowledge me for doing a good job, that lights me up inside. I feel really good.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think that it becomes a hindrance when you are dependent on it. I don’t feel love unless other people love me. I don’t feel worthy unless other people validate my worth. That’s when it’s a problem. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the ego or the effects of the ego or the impact, right? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying those experiences. The problem is when you’re dependent on them. When you have to source your love externally versus internally and being able to love yourself unconditionally, wholly, completely, that’s love.
When you don’t have control over it and it’s dependent on other people, and then if this person, right, your significant other is angry at you or they withhold love and now you can’t experience love because you’ve made it dependent on things outside of you, that’s what enlightenment is. Well, like ego, you can define enlightenment in different ways.
But for me, one way to look at enlightenment is it’s being completely whole by yourself without the need of external accomplishments or validation or circumstances to be perfect. It’s being at peace with whatever is going on outside of you and being able to source everything you want, every feeling, every emotional state. If you want to be happy, if you want to be healthy, if you want to be at peace, I think we all want to be those things. It’s being able to choose. That’s the inner freedom. Choose your experience no matter what’s going on outside of you.
So, off the tangent, back to what we’re talking about. When you go through life where you find fulfillment through external circumstances, external achievement, external roles, all of those, you’re now playing a game that you’re not completely in control of because if, for example, you go, okay, well, identify as someone who is very successful in business, but then if your business fails, you probably get depressed.
I’ve been there before where my business was failing, can’t pay the bills, struggling financially and feeling really depressed because that was my identity. Another identity crisis for me started end of 2019 and it continued for about six months. In fact. I mean, there are still remnants of it even today in 2022, but I’ve always identified. Since I was 19 years old, I started identifying as the most positive person I know. I had read that in a book, or Zig Ziglar or somebody said, “Be the most positive person you know.” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s me. I’m going to be the most positive person I know.”
And so, I started creating affirmations, although I didn’t know that’s what they were called at the time, but I wrote down, it was like my goals basically. I’m going to be the most positive person I know. And I can say, I mean, it’s all relative, but I became that, I really lived into that. But at the end of 2019, that was the first night where I stayed up. It was the night before the Best Year Ever Blueprint, our last ever live event that we ran. And I wasn’t even nervous for it. I mean, I was a little nervous, but I ran it for six years. It’s going to be fine. It wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t like a sleepless night nervous.
But for whatever reason, some switched in my brain and flipped. And I didn’t have caffeine, nothing, but I could not sleep. I ended up that night, I probably slept for two hours, I think, and it was even actually interrupted two hours where I’d wake up for like I’d fall back to sleep for 30 minutes, wake up again. It’s still not morning, wake up again. It just kept happening. And that was the beginning of this five or six-month period where I was only sleeping two, three, four hours a night, and I became severely sleep-deprived to the point where I was hallucinating, I was paranoid. I thought people were trying to kill me. And I was still recording the podcast this entire time. I know I’ve spoken on this a few times, but I was in a bad place. I was suicidal, it was bad.
But here’s the point, it set me this downward spiral and my identity of being the most positive person I knew, my superpower, if you will, I couldn’t handle what was going on in my life inside my head. I’d always had this bulletproof mindset and I lost it. I lost the ability to control my mind. In fact, I always described to my wife when she was like, help me understand what you’re going through. And I said, sweetheart, it’s like, it’s like– and I would put my fingers out and hold two little imaginary switches. I go, it’s like somebody has the switches in my brain, and they’re controlling it, and I’m not. They’re sending these terrifying thoughts. And again, it’s probably all effect of sleep deprivation. But I was depressed. And if you’ve ever been depressed, the thing is you look normal on the outside, nobody can tell like you’re dying inside.
And so, I utilize affirmations. I utilize Miracle Morning. But here’s what made a huge difference for me. I had lost my identity as a positive person. I had lost my identity as someone who had total control over my emotional state. I lost it. It was only when I elevated my consciousness to realize that I was not my circumstances. I was not these negative thoughts that I was being bombarded with all day, every day. I was not my depression. I was the one who was aware of it all. I was the one. I was the consciousness that was aware of it all.
And I was able to transcend my emotional pain once I shifted my consciousness, much like I transcended my physical pain when I had a migraine last week. And I was able to feel grounded and totally at peace in my identity as pure consciousness. It was a shift in consciousness. The interesting thing is the words, you’re right, you’re literally shifting your consciousness from identifying with external forces, your thoughts.
And I say external. They’re internal in terms of they’re in your mind, but if we’re in the context of what we’re talking about, where you peel back the layer of who are you, okay, you’re not your name, got it. You’re not your body, got it. You’re not your thoughts, got it. Your thoughts are generated by your mind. You’re not your emotions, got it. Who are you? Your consciousness.
So, it’s about identifying at who you truly are at the most fundamental level. And when I did that, I found peace. What was interesting is the depression was still there, but it wasn’t my depression. I was the big I. I was consciousness. Depression was going on in my mind, in my body. But once I was able to separate who I truly was, that’s why, as I think Michael said, this is a spiritual exploration, a spiritual journey. Once I was able to separate it, like when I was able to separate my migraine the other day, then I was able to sit back.
I’m going to– real quick, when I was with the whole migraine thing, if you ever got a migraine, again, it’s miserable. And then to be sitting on a plane and the pilot goes, hey, we’re going to be on the runway for another hour, which is what happened. It was like an eight-hour travel day. It was miserable all day. But once I became aware, once I reminded myself, I’m not this migraine, I don’t have a migraine. My body has a migraine. My consciousness doesn’t have a migraine. I was able to separate the two.
And again, you are the one who’s aware of your thoughts and aware of your emotions and aware of your physical sensations. And when I did it, I was able to, as Michael Singer would say, sit back in the seat of self and observe that if I have anything to say, I would have told myself I don’t have a migraine. Hal has a migraine. When I was able to separate that, I was able to separate myself from the pain. It was still there, but I was aware of it rather than directly experiencing it. And I’m sorry if this is harder to grasp and I don’t mean that facetiously, but like, it’s hard to explain how that feels. It’s kind of one of those things that you have to have a direct experience for yourself.
All right. I want to talk about one more really, really important thing before we wrap up and I want to explore, that is your mind. We often identify with our mind who thinks our thoughts, but again, if you’re aware of your thoughts and aware that you have a mind, then that means you’re not your thoughts and you’re not your mind. You are the awareness that you have a mind. You observe what your mind does and you, consciousness. Think about this, you can control your mind.
I addressed this last week when I read another excerpt from Living Untethered. It was about willful thoughts versus automatic thoughts, willful thoughts or those that we consciously choose, and automatic thoughts are those that just kind of float in and out of our consciousness all day long. Like willful thoughts, if I were to tell you right now, think about the word hello. Think it in your mind. Say it to yourself, in your mind, hello. Now, say it over and over again. Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello. Just say it in your mind. That’s a willful thought.
You have the ability to think about anything you want. At any moment, you can choose, you can think of a word, or you can picture something. A thought could be a visual thought, like a picture of boat right now. Picture of boat real quick, like a red ski boat. Now, picture a dog. Though, the point is those are willful thoughts, you can change them. You can generate those at any time in your mind. However, you are not your mind. You are the consciousness that is telling your mind to generate the thoughts.
The other type of thoughts, automatic thoughts are those that suddenly, seemingly come out of nowhere and enter your consciousness. We were driving. All of a sudden, you thought of something that happened yesterday or something that you have to do later, spontaneously pops into your mind and enters your consciousness. You didn’t consciously choose the thought, it just automatically appeared.
Now, when we are experiencing our true nature as consciousness, we are experiencing what’s actually in front of us. Whether that be something we’re seeing, something we’re thinking, something we’re feeling, it’s whatever is arising in our consciousness. We’re experiencing life exactly as it is versus identifying with our thoughts about it or our memories or our mind or our problems or expectations. This is the power of being fully present to the moment unfolding in front of us.
Now, it’s often referred to as mindfulness, by the way. That’s a very popular term, but I don’t love that term because what we’re talking about is really more accurately mind emptiness rather than fullness, might just be semantics, but something to consider because when you’re experiencing your true self as pure consciousness, your mind’s essentially empty. You’re just aware of what’s your experience, and your consciousness can focus on whatever it wants to. You can use your consciousness to focus on things that prompt you to feel pain or you can focus your consciousness on things that prompt you to feel at peace. You can focus your consciousness on upgrading your thoughts, you choosing the willful thoughts that bring you joy, that bring you confidence. Think about that. That’s why they call it consciously choosing. You’re making a conscious decision to direct your consciousness and the real you toward whatever serves your highest good.
I’m usually consciously choosing to focus on that, which makes me feel good. And when we do that, that means we’re directing our consciousness, our attention toward that which makes us feel good. We’re elevating our consciousness. And of course, you can also direct your consciousness to that which makes you feel bad. That’s the power of choosing your experience.
And you may have heard me talk in the past about how we all have two pages that we could focus on at any given moment, metaphorically speaking. To give you a visual, when I teach this lesson, I always hold it, both of my hands, palms facing me. You can do the same. And my left hand, I always imagine, is holding an invisible page, or I see it as like a scroll and it lists everything I feel bad about. And then the right hand is holding a page that lists everything I’ve felt good about.
And everybody on the planet has both pages, things they could focus on that make them feel bad in their own life or even in the world. That page might list things like starvation and hunger, the economy or so on and so forth, things that make you feel bad. It doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or a billionaire or a saint. Everyone has both pages. And whatever we focus on consciously creates the thoughts and emotions that either serve your highest good depending on what you’re focusing on, or they could be detrimental.
But you are in control of your consciousness, or in other words, you are consciousness and you’re in control of what you direct your consciousness or your conscious awareness toward what you look at, what you think about, what you focus on. But many of us live very unconsciously, many of us are just– we’re reactive. And we are this way when we react in the moment to whatever comes up for us often based on past patterns.
If we’ve responded to a certain circumstance, a certain way in the past, and if we’re not consciously choosing to respond better in the present, if we’re unconscious, then we’re going to respond the same in the present. For example, normally, we are driving somewhere. You hit traffic, you get frustrated. Well, if you’re living unconsciously, then when you hit traffic next time, how are you going to respond? Most likely, you’re going to get frustrated.
But if you consciously choose to accept the traffic because you can’t change it, you can’t change anybody else, you can’t change the cars in front of you or how fast they’re going. You can’t change what time you’re going to arrive, but if you think about this, I love this analogy because it’s a metaphor really, how you spend every moment in that car in traffic is up to you, just like how you spend every moment of your life is up to you.
You can be frustrated and angry and upset and stressed out and regretful and wishing you had left early in the traffic. That’s how you can spend every moment in that car while you’re stuck in traffic. Or you could consciously choose to accept the fact that I can’t change that I’m in traffic right now. I can’t change it. There’s no point in wishing I could or wishing there was no traffic. And this applies to life.
We don’t have to resist reality to realize that it’s a use of our mental and emotional energy that you might say is a waste of energy or is detrimental in some way. Instead, you could be in that car for 30 minutes and go, how do I want to feel? What do I want to experience? I want to enjoy myself or I want to think about my goals and make some plans for later today or tomorrow. I want to think of my family and how it can be better for my family, for those I love, for those I lead.
You get to choose how you experience every moment, again, almost every moment of your life. And I love the traffic analogy just because we can all relate to it. We’ve all been in traffic. We’ve all been feeling frustrated or stressed out, and it applies to any circumstance. Someone says or does something that you allow, what they said or do to rob you of your inner freedom, to take away your ability to choose how you experience life because you’re not consciously choosing in that moment, you’re unconsciously allowing people and events to adversely affect your inner state. Just like in traffic, you can consciously choose how you experience it.
We’re going to go through life anyway. We’re going to have unpleasant situations that arise anyway. People are going to be rude anyway. We’re not going to see eye to eye with everybody, but you don’t have to allow those things to dictate your inner world. I’m of the mindset that we might as well enjoy life. We might as well be at peace with what we can’t change and enjoy what we can while we have these relatively short 80 or so years on this planet that’s been around for 4.5 billion years. Like Michael Singer said, it’s an inevitable truth that you were born on to the planet, you’re going to leave it someday, but what’s not so inevitable is how you experience all of the moments in between.
Remember, you are consciousness and you have the power in every moment to consciously choose to direct yourself, your consciousness to things that serve your highest good that enable you to be in an optimal emotional state, in an optimal mindset, to enjoy this one life that you’ve been blessed to live and to do everything in your power to optimize that life, to be as healthy as you can possibly be, as creative as you can possibly be, as loving as you can possibly be, as generous and as kind as you can possibly be.
But wait, Hal, there, there are people that disagree with me and they post things on the Internet that are politically opposed to what I think and that are offensive. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make little of that, but why would you allow that to affect you and your consciousness? Why would you unconsciously allow someone else’s opinion just because it differs from your own or the beliefs that differ from us? Why would we allow that to trigger us? We don’t have to get offended. You realize that? Like, sure, you can choose to be triggered and angry by what others say. You can choose to allow others to rob you of that inner freedom, but you don’t have to. You can consciously choose to be at peace with other people’s opinions and what others think or say or do.
Then now, to be clear, if what they’re doing is harming you or harming someone else, I’m not recommending that you just passively sit back and be at peace, for sure. Like I recommend standing up for what you believe in and for the people. I’m just talking about for you on a personal level and your inner well-being but not being triggered and offended about what other people say or do, including those closest to you.
In fact, most importantly, those closest to you, your friends, your family, just being at peace and responding from a place of elevated consciousness where you’re choosing the most proactive response rather than reacting based on past patterns. Now, if you feel that being offended somehow serves you, and again, I don’t mean that facetiously, I mean it sincerely. If being offended serves you in some way because it prompts you to take action, then by all means, allow yourself to feel offended for the period of time that it serves you.
But I think for most of us when we’re offended, it’s when we’re unconsciously allowing ourselves to be offended, or simply, we’re not aware that there is a different way of being where we don’t have to allow anything outside of us to disrupt our inner state, our inner world. We can be at peace with all things we can’t change. You can be at peace with all things you can’t change and proactively, consciously focus on all the things that are within your sphere of influence.
All right, friends, I could keep talking. I think I’m starting to repeat myself. I get to that point in the podcast where I’m like, okay, I think I’m saying the same things over and over in slightly different ways, but I think I feel complete here. So, I’ll recap. So, today is really about who you are. Who are you really? Discovering that. Shifting your consciousness to identify as consciousness because remember, your consciousness isn’t jealous or angry or worried or fearful. That’s the ego.
And for you to transcend the ego and utilize the ego as a tool, meaning when it does serve you, such as feeling enjoyment from working hard and having somebody recognize it, that feels good. There’s nothing wrong with that. Utilizing your ego from a place of elevated consciousness where you’re not identifying as your ego, where if somebody offends your ego, now you’re offended and you’re all upset and disgruntled. No, elevating your consciousness, realizing who you truly are.
And when somebody asks the question, who are you? You peel back the layers of I’m Stephanie. Wait, no, that’s not who I am. That’s my name. Okay. I’m a 25-year-old young woman. Wait, no, no, no, that’s just my body, okay, because I was the same consciousness that’s always been there, despite my body always changing and aging. Even if I lose limbs, I’m still who I am. Peeling back the layers. Oh, I’m the one who sees what I see. I’m the one who hears what I hear. I’m the one who’s aware of my thoughts. I’m aware of my emotions, aware of my depression.
But I’m not my thoughts. I’m not my emotions. I’m not my depression. I’m not my migraine. So, when I think of something that makes me feel bad, I can realize that I don’t have to allow that to happen. I can choose a higher state of consciousness where I realize that I’m the one who’s thinking. I’m the one who’s allowing the thought to capture my attention. And I can choose to either think other thoughts, I can choose to be at peace with the thoughts that I’m thinking and the feelings and emotions, or even the physical sensations like the migraine.
You can actually sit back in the seat of self, the true you, and not identify as the thing, the thought, the emotion, that feeling, realize that you truly are deeper than all of that. All of that is fleeting. Think about that. What I’m about to say, it might help put a bow on this whole thing. All those things, the emotions, the thoughts, the physical sensations, they’re all fleeting, but you are not. You are the one constant in all of this. You are the constant. You have been since day one.
When you were born, you were consciousness looking through those eyes. You didn’t have language yet. You didn’t know what the– you just heard gu-gu, ga-ga. But these beautiful beings, these parents that you loved, they were looking at you, like you were that consciousness, even without the words and the judgments and the opinions and the beliefs and the ideologies. That was maybe the most pure that we ever were, where we just experienced every moment from a place of pure consciousness. We didn’t have language yet to create thoughts and opinions and beliefs and insecurities. We just existed in the purest form, and I’m inviting us to get back to the essence of who we truly are that transcends all of those other ways that we’ve been identifying for most of our life. Let’s transcend together.
Let’s continue having these kinds of conversations to elevate our consciousness. One way that you elevate consciousness is elevating your awareness. When you become more aware, for example, if you’ve always been frustrated in going back to that traffic example, if you were always frustrated in traffic and never been aware that there was another way, well, once you become more aware that you can respond from a higher place of consciousness. And not just traffic, but you can fill in any blank, somebody doing or saying something or circumstances just because you’ve always responded a certain way because you weren’t aware there was a better way.
Once you become aware, there’s a better way, you elevate your consciousness. You expand your awareness. Now, you can choose to experience life as you want. That’s what this podcast is designed to do. I’m on a mission personally to elevate my own consciousness all the time. I’m always a work in progress, always trying to learn in a myriad of different ways, higher ways, better ways of you, if you will, of seeing, learning tools, so on and so forth because as we become more aware of paradigms and processes and tools and perspectives that enable us to see the world, to see ourselves, to see other people in a way that is enlightening, that is empowering, that gives us new choices, new conscious choices as we do that, we’re elevating our own consciousness.
We are members of humanity. And as members of humanity, we are elevating the consciousness of humanity one person at a time, and if you’re a Miracle Morning practitioner, one morning at a time. So, thank you for doing your part. Thank you for being on this journey with me. I love you so much. I really, really, really do. And I cannot wait to talk to you again next week.