The idea of you is the ultimate belief system. It has been used for millennia and many millions of people have grown, and are still growing, very rich from it. No one ever awoke using dualistic mind to realize nothing. Only nothing is perfect.
The disparate set of personalities and memories that compose you float around, rising and falling, appearing and disappearing on the screen of your mind. This then becomes replaced by fantasies of what you are told you should be like, by an endless stream of TV, magazines, spiritual teachers, books, your friends etc. Then you have even more fantasies, self-generated, of what you would like to have, acquire, get, in order for you to be more happy, satisfied, abundant, loving, free, peaceful, etc.
You seek a unique identity, different to all others, because of vanity. You don’t want to be the same as others, to lose your identity, your specialness, to dissolve your boundaries of self into no self. That would mean dropping down into that deep, dark hole of fear, the hole that you avoid within you, the hole around which you build all your constructs of self to avoid being not self: the sacred wound, all because you don’t want to be the same as what is around you. Silly, really.
I am special, I am unique, I love myself, I am different, I am virtuous, I am artistic, I am beautiful... and on and on the “I” drones on. There is no self to love. By loving it you mire yourself deeper into the dream; although it can be happy dream, it is still a dream. Fear of death sustains the illusion of the need for self-identity. All actions taken in this realm are fear and shadow based, arising from the fear of nonexistence.
So the question needs to be asked: Why are you on the spiritual path?
To get something or to give something? And what is this thing? To feel good, to look good, to be loved by others, to feel that you are doing something right? To be seen and respected by others? For power, authority, fame, and fortune? To be appreciated, praised, hugged? To fill the hole within with another belief, idea, or dogmas? To make a difference, to save the world, to be a good person? To have mystical experiences? To replicate your drug experiences? To be in bliss? To replace your present idea of life with the thought/hope/belief of something else?
Or is it to die to all of this and to wake up? Determinate this yourself. Evolution ends. Accept it. But you can only accept it once you have stepped out of this picture. And then there is no picture. Contentment.
So, how real are you? Within any question lies the answer. Nothing is perfect and nobody is perfect.
What is the need that drives you? What is the desire that propels you?
Death equals change. Then something new can begin. Yet in truth there is no beginning or ending: this is just another dream. – Padma and Anaiya Aon Prakasha