There are two types of identification that can come to mind when this word is heard.
The first is known as a defence mechanism and occurs when one appreciates or values the behaviour of another person. And from that moment, one chooses to follow or express through their behaviour, what they see in the other person.
This might be a sports star or actor who comes across as strong or confident. And through acting in the same way, one can begin of feel these things.
The reasons for this identification could be due to one feeling underdeveloped in an area that this star is developed in. On then internalises what this other person has, by copying their behaviour.
The other type of identification is a lot broader and is going on continually. Here, the ego mind can identify with certain words, emotions, feelings and behaviour. These then create how one perceives who they are, who other people are and their reality.
And from here, many areas of one’s life can be affected. These can include, but are not limited to: the types of relationships that one has, the environment ones lives in, the job that one has, ones level of self worth and their health; will all be affected by what their ego mind has identified with.
This could either be through one projecting their internal reality onto what they see and interpreting it through these perceptions or through manifesting there reality based on their perceptions.
A Natural Process
And yet in order to know this and to notice how this process if being carried out; one has to be aware of it. What makes this difficult is that this is usually a habit that one is used to and has come to experience as normal. Whether we look at the general conditioning that is carried out in the childhood environment or in our society at large; it is rare for there to be awareness of how identification works.
If one were to remember their childhood for example, there may be moments where they were told that they should not feel certain emotions or think certain things. And in our society behaviour is often looked at as who someone is and from that moment they are labelled in a certain way.
And from this constant conditioning or labelling of our thoughts, as being who we are or our emotions and behaviour being who we are; we become attached to these aspects. Ones whole sense of self becomes formed and is created as a result.
To mention that we are not are ego mind and that we are the observers of it, is then hard to comprehend. Especially as the ego mind is like a parasite and it can completely take over. And before long, what at first looked like something that doesn’t belong, now looks as though it has always been there. It has a role to play, but it is not meant to be the master of our lives.
In order for the possibility to exist of being aware of this in the first place, it shows that we are not our mind and that we are the observers of it. And like anything, this process of being aware doesn’t happen overnight and neither does it end overnight. It is something that is constantly going on and progressing in each moment.
Like any skill or talent, it has to be continually developed. Just as one moment one can be aware, in the next one can be unaware. As this process goes on, one can become more aware, of when one is not aware.
Above I have mentioned about the influences of society and our early years, and how these can shape what we have identified with. And the most powerful environment of all is typically the childhood environment. It is here that one will begin the process of identification for the first time.
There are many ways that identification can happen here. As a child, the people around us are our role models; they show us how to act, how to be and what life is all about. This could be through their behaviour towards us and through their behaviour towards other people.
And this behaviour will then have consequences that will shape our ego mind. There will be slight differences in how each caregiver brings up their child and this will of course have an effect. Each family has their own culture and what they believe is the right or wrong way.
What will also play a role in shaping what one identifies with, are situations that were traumatic and painful in their early years. These will have left a mark on ones ego mind and created a way of perceiving life.
Although such emotionally charged events can lead to the ego mind forming identifications, it could simply be the continued repetition of certain conditioning. As a result of being exposed to something enough times as a child, one will begin to feel familiar with it and this means one will feel safe.
And it doesn’t matter what one is continually exposed to or how functional it is. To the ego mind all that is required is that it is familiar; it will then be associated as being safe. This is how identification works; with the ego mind holding onto all that is familiar.
It is through realising that we are not our mind, that we can see how this process is shaping our life. What we attract into our reality and what we repel is being defined by these associations.
The Power Of Choice
So this does not necessarily mean that one will stop the process of identification completely. What it can mean, is that by being more aware, one can change what they are identified with. Through seeing that we have a choice, is what allows one to feel a sense of power. And this is what awareness can do; without it, one can feel trapped and enslaved.
What is known as our story is created through the ego minds identification. This is combination of our past experiences and the thoughts, words, feelings and behaviours that have been formed as a result.
But this story is not the truth or who we are or what we are capable of. It is simply what the ego mind has associated as what is familiar and therefore safe. If our ego mind is what can create a prison, then awareness is what supplies the key.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.