In spiritual circles people sometimes change their name when they accept a new reality. I used to think this was ridiculous, denying who they were to adopt groupthink. As I became more familiar with spirituality I came to understand it: who you are is not your name, yet I felt the most challenging thing to do was to accept your new reality and keep your birth name. But then I started seeing a Sufi psychologist and I came to understand how it really worked.
As a psychologist he went by his birth name: Rafa. And this is how I referred to him during the course of therapy. As I was interested in the Sufi tradition, he invited me to a Dikr ceremony, which is a social reunion to pray and embody the ritual part of religion. When I got there I was received warmly, and was asked how did I know Shahabuddin. Who? I asked confused, and he pointed towards Rafa. Oh Rafa, he’s my therapist I replied.
As I got a hang of it I would call him Shahabuddin outside of the context of therapy and Rafa inside of it. If I had to schedule an appointment he was Rafa, if I’d inquire about a Dikr he’d be Shahabuddin. His wife, however, used her spiritual name to the point I don’t know her birth name.
I gathered from tidbits that the transition from one’s birth name to the spiritual one happens progressively. In a meeting a young man expressed frustration that his family would refuse to call him by his spiritual name, and he was counselled into allowing them to do so: it’s them whom must accept the new person, forcing it would get him nowhere.
Though I have no plans to change my birth name, I felt this phenomena happen during the past year: I’ve let my former nickname, duopixel fall into disuse, as I came to use method of action more and more. The transition happened quite naturally, and when it came time to renew my portfolio domain, duopixel.ca, I simply let it expire. Then I deleted my duopixel Twitter account, and today I put myself to the task of renaming my GitHub and StackOverflow online presences to this spiritual identity. I also redirected duopixel.com to method.ac.
It felt natural and correct. What was abandoned lagged behind, and the new gets a an impulse from consolidating my energies into a single presence. So, FYI you can still call me duopixel if you know me from yesteryear, but I now call myself Method of Action (online, of course). Damn this is cheesy!