WHAT’S IN A NAME, Part 2

Written By Bo

It was shortly after my arrival in Los Angeles in 1998 that a friend and I were talking about name changes (aside from the tradition at marriage). He was very seriously contemplating legally changing his name, and it seemed unnecessary and like a lot of work to me; I talked him out of it for a while.

Later, he did the requirements, including filing with a newspaper for a few weeks, paying a hefty fee, and going to court. He soon reported how amazing it was having a new name, and years later I began seriously contemplating changing my name.

As explored in a previous blog, there is a significant relationship between name and identity. It is something taken very seriously by many people. As we progress on the spiritual path – learning, growing, and shedding karma – we become undeniably different. To attest/corroborate/celebrate that new identity, and assist in setting a new life trajectory, taking on a new name is highly advisable. I have been encouraging people to change their names, if it feels right to them, for many years.

So, without further ado, here’s the whole list of names/identities/origin stories I’ve had in this lifetime:

  • Aaron Michael Finche. My addict mother never told me my biological father’s name – she was barely 18 when impregnated, and didn’t want much of a relationship with him. I was given her last name, and Michael was the name of one of her best friends at the time; when asked why she named me Aaron, she replied “it’s the first name in the baby book.”
  • Aaron Michael Lodge. When my mother married when I was 7, my step-father legally adopted me and I took on his last name.
  • Valexander Ananda Nathan. After my friend told me the glories of a name change and reported the tremendous benefits, I began to contemplate the possibility for myself. I spent months coming up with the perfect name. My top choice was Val, for many reasons, and put it together with Alexander (as at that point in life I was interested in power). Ananda translates to “bliss” in Sanskrit and Nathan means “he gave” from a hebrew prophet.
  • Gyanmitra Prem Prasad. In 2017 in Nepal, I was initiated into Osho sannyas. Part of that ceremony includes receiving a new name, which clearly delineates the identity and life before becoming spiritually committed in that way. Shortly after that, while getting my palm leaf read, it was encouraged by Agastiya (the ancient Indian rishi credited for writing the palm leaves) that I should be named Gyanmitra. So, when back in the US, I schlepped back to the courthouse for another name change.
  • Bo… as of this writing – March 2023, following the massive traumas in 2022 – it became time for a new name. And identity. I again consulted with the Kabalarians (whose spiritual tradition is based on optimizing names), and after months of meditation and testing, settled upon Bo. It’s beautiful and has many traits I aspire to: simple, international, and without meaning – a blank slate… I am truly hoping this is the final name!
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