When we take something as true or real, and fully accept it and take it onboard, we have identified with it. This is an internalization process, making it part of our own lives or our own identities. For example, when we equate having big muscles with being healthy, and we fully accept this idea and take it onboard, we have identified with it. This idea then becomes part of our belief system and identities, i.e., it becomes “my” idea.
What if we have developed many identifications that do not reflect truth? They form a system of reference points that get used repeatedly as we relate to reality. For example, when we are told again and again to stop crying, the idea that crying is a bad thing gets reinforced. Then gradually the pattern develops of seeing crying as a negative thing, which triggers other patterns such as polarized thinking. Patterns that do not reflect truth will in turn reinforce these false identifications and create even more. They form a cycle, feeding into each other and validating each other. Gradually the patterns are established comprehensively and eventually become the base of our patterns of the consciousness. They take control of the consciousness and are behind the ideas, views, and values we hold, the thoughts we have, the feelings we feel, the decisions we make, the actions we take. The consciousness controlled by patterns becomes who we are. It becomes our self-identity, who and what we think we are. The trouble is, this is not who we truly are. It is a false self.
Indeed, of the numerous false identifications we have developed, the biggest one of all is the false self-identification. That is mistaking the false self for the True Self. Yes, this means you are not who you think you are! This self-identity you have developed is only the construct of all the ideas, thoughts and feelings coming from the patterns.
Why are we even talking about all this? False identifications are at the root of the patterns and problems we have. When we hold on to them, life will be controlled by the patterns and plagued by the problems and we will never get a chance to know our True Self and live a life of a true human being. Health, true happiness and sense of wellbeing and growth will always elude us.
It is time to work on false identifications in order to dismantle unhealthy patterns. We can start by examining the ideas we hold. How do you know when something has developed into an identification? One way to find out is observing your response when an idea you hold is challenged. If you become defensive, chances are you have identified with it. Our defence mechanism is activated when we feel under attack or threatened. We feel this way because that idea has become part of our lives, our identities, or, simply, “part of me”. This is why we take it personally. However, the truth is that an idea is an idea, nothing more. Why own it? Why not just stay open and let ideas come and go as the clouds in the sky. They can be used when they are beneficial to you and others, but they don’t need to belong to anyone. They can develop and morph and be as free as you allow them to be. After all, your True Self has all the clarity and no need to attach to any idea.
Experience this message on Identification and identity as a meditation on REN XUE TV