All the multiple identities we carry hide a single identity we all share. We all come from the same Creator, and will return to that Creator. Our eternal connection to the Creator is the essence of our fullest identity, of who we are at our unchanging core. If we think we are any of the multiple, hierarchical, dominant or subordinate identities that make up our temporal self, these are not who we are for eternity.
Eastern spiritual traditions say that identifying with—and desiring—the temporal is surely a cause of suffering. Attachment to the fleeting places hope on that which is not real, and does not last. Our choice to build up and maintain multiple identities creates tension and suffering within us and between others. To identify first and foremost with our eternal essence unites us with everyone.
If we could strip away all of our temporal identities, those aspects of ourselves that will disappear at death, what would remain? Our physical, genetic, social, and psychological identities are who we are, but only for the limited time we are on this earth. If we could take a more farsighted perspective, we might see that what remains after we continue our eternal journey from here is our eternal identity, our soul.
We are a merging of the temporary elements of earth and the lasting elements of heaven. Our threefold nature consists of body, mind, and soul. We are physical beings, with a body, a clear reflection of the world of creation; human beings with a mind, having a unique capacity for reflective consciousness, and, spiritual beings with a soul, a clear reflection of the Creator.
Although the soul is our divine reality, giving us our spiritual potential, it needs the mind, an intermediary between our physical and spiritual natures, to interact with in order to become one with the body. Who we become is a result of how these three natures interact with and influence each other.
Our true nature is that part of us that does not change, the unified whole we can become. As we integrate all of our multiple identities, including our eternal identity, we take on a unified identity that tells us who we are in both the temporal and eternal realms. As we identify equally with our eternal self and our temporal self, we become that eternal self.