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Can The Mystics Tell Us What Personal Identity Is?

954919_54240183What is personality identity?

What is the self?

Where does the self/identity spring from? What is its physical source? What is its non-physical source?

Personal identity is in flux as we grow, mature and change. Or is it? (Interesting article here.)

The Jewish mystics tell us that each person is a soul in a physical body. This soul has conferred with the Creator to come down into this body, in this lifetime, and to use the challenges of their life-situations to chart a path of spiritual growth.

Each life is an entire World and we are each the steward of our own personal world.

(See Welcome to Your World, Be Fearless at

Body vs. Soul

Can we agree that both body and soul are necessary to personal identity?

If so, which is more important?

If you don’t believe in the soul, then the body wins, hands down.

But what if you do believe in both?

On the one hand, the mystics tell us that the state called “life” can only happen in a body, and therefore the body and soul are equal.

The Jewish mystics tell us that that the body is a vehicle for the soul, the only way in which the soul can complete its mission.

The soul is ultimately more important, but the body is absolutely necessary.

Starting Over

On the one hand, we are a soul in a body with a mission.

On the other, we are a soul in a state of flux, growth, change, each according to its personal life mission.

Think of the rings of a tree. Each ring is distinct and new and reflects what happens during the year that ring is formed. On the other hand, though each ring adds to and changes the “whole” of the tree, there is something there we call TREE that is both the sum of and beyond the sum of its parts.

The mystics tell us we are not stuck in a single, unchanging identity, but that we constantly create our own identity as we initiate, respond to, and reflect on the changes and challenges in our lives.

Can The Mystics Tell Us What Personal Identity Is?

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2016). Can The Mystics Tell Us What Personal Identity Is?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Jan 2016
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