To understand the dream of identification resolves much if not all, of the confusion around suffering and conflict; personal and collective. Although, to truly understand it, is somewhat of a death sentence for any personal sense of identity.
The dream of identification points to the mind’s capacity to build an imaginary sense of identity with worldly forms and mental commentary. This dream of identification is what makes suffering possible, as suffering is directly tied to the fear of loss for one’s personal sense of identity.
If you look at any “direct experience” of suffering, you’ll notice a fear that sees one’s sense of self as being threatened. This sense of self is one’s sense of personal identity; “who I think I am.”
The mind can identify with anything and in no way is it wrong, it’s perfectly allowed; however, it’s what makes suffering possible.
I can identify with a car, which is to draw my personal sense of identity (who I am) from what I think that car means about me. In this, whatever happens to that car, my identification with it will assume it’s happened to me. If someone scratches it, then I will feel in some way that I am being scratched. The scratch will be taken personally.
I will suffer because I think that something is happening to me, to who I am thought to be. However, this is only an innocent misunderstanding of what I am. To think that the ‘me’ is attached to the car is to misunderstand what I am.
Illusions of Attachments
These dreams of identification are also referred to as “attachments.” To be attached to something is to draw one’s personal sense of worth and value from that “something” out there. So, what happens to what I am attached to, is believed to be happening to me.
We draw our sense of identity from relationships, and we can be in relationships with everything; persons, places, things, and ideas. The unseen truth is that what you really are, is not what you are in a relationship with. In truth, what you really are is not in threat at all.
In the example of identifying with a car, you can see quite clearly that if someone scratches a car, what you really are is unequivocally untouched, unharmed, undisturbed. Beyond the misunderstanding, there’s simply no cause for suffering at all.
To look directly at one’s personal experience of suffering, you will see directly the illusion of identification. Whatever you fear losing, you are attached to, you are under the spell of mistaking what you are with what you see. Again, not wrong, it’s perfectly understandable because the illusion is quite strong. In the same way, it would be silly for thinking it’s wrong to believe a dream was real; it definitely seemed like it was real.
If one is identified/attached to a job, then they will experience suffering over what happens to that job. If one is identified/attached to a relationship partner, they will fear/suffering over what happens in that relationship. If one is identified/attached to… whatever, it ultimately sets the state for suffering.
This is why suffering is not wrong or bad, it works as a pain mechanism to wake one up from the illusion of identification. Suffering essentially says, “wake up dear one, and see what you really are; let go of what you are not.”
Just because I can get from point A to point B inside a car, doesn’t mean that “I am” the car. Naturally, this points toward an identification or attachment with the Body. Just because there is the experience of the body, doesn’t mean I am the body. If something happens to the body, it doesn’t mean it’s happening to me.
Yes, it can seem like that, yes, it can feel like that, however, what things seem like or feel like, is not what they are. What they seem like or feel like only shows us what we see, what we are projecting into reality.
The Violence of Identification
All violence stems from a misunderstanding of identity. It is an attempt to regain one’s personal sense of self. Also to note, violence exists along a relative scale, ultimately it is the expression of a fear that looks to avoid the death or end of one’s personal identity. Violence begins as blame, it says… “It’s because of you (or that “thing”) that I suffer. It’s because of you, that I cannot secure my separate sense of self, so… I must destroy you in order to regain who I am thought to be.”
In the example of the car, to take personally the scratch on the car will result in wanting to, in some way, destroy the source of the scratch.
In the example of an intimate relationship, if another person leaves and I don’t want them to (because I’m attached) the violence will look to diminish them, destroy them, or ultimately look to withhold love in some way.
In the example of being attached to the body, if someone does something to the body, then violence will look to blame them and again, withhold love in some way.
Such violence is justified in the world because the world is under the spell of this illusion of identification (not wrong, perfectly understandable). Collectively, there is an agreement that such violence is perfectly okay, and it’s not even seen as violence.
Such as the identification of countries. If one country is attacked by another country, then a response of violence is perfectly allowed; as it’s referred to as defense. Violence is used to protect one’s personal (or collective; same thing) identity, and it’s not viewed as violence. Rather, it’s viewed in a self-righteous sort of way.
The disaster of this, violence for violence, is that it clearly breeds more violence. Furthermore… and definitely not wanted to be seen by the ego, is that the violence that is extended in response is responding to a violence that was never violence to begin with.
For example… (Imaginary Violence)
If someone scratches my car, I can interpret them as being violent toward me because I identify myself with the car. I think “they did that TO ME.” I perceived violence because I imagined something happening to me.
If I’m in a relationship with someone and they decide to leave, I can interpret them as being violent TO ME. Furthermore, if they are confused about their own path and looking for love outside themselves, I can interpret their behavior, words, and anything else as being personal, which is also to perceive a form of violence.
If I perceive violence, I perceive something happening TO ME; and the ‘me’ that’s being referred to is a dream of identification. If I perceive violence, then… I will respond with violence; while covertly calling it something else, like “justice” for example.
This was a holy shit moment for me, where I realized all the violence I thought I experienced in the past, wasn’t violence at all; it wasn’t personal, it wasn’t about me. Also, I saw how “I was being violent” in response by blaming others for my suffering over the loss of an imaginary identity.
The Spiritual Pointer
The spiritual pointer, throughout all time, has fundamentally said this… “SEE WHAT YOU REALLY ARE.”
Which is an invitation to look beyond the dream of ego, the dream of identification, the dream of “thinking” I am something that I am not. To truly see what you are, beyond all the fearful conditioning, is to also connect with the REAL Spiritual Prize; which is also the only real prize in life.
When the false identification drops, it’s like realizing you are not the car, and whatever happened to the car didn’t happen to you. This is also the nature of real forgiveness. A forgives that sees what “I thought happened didn’t really happen. I’m sorry for blaming you.”
This is what it means to truly wake up, it is to wake up from the dream of identification, the dream of ego. This is what it means to truly be born again, it is to recognize what you really are, the truth of what you are. This is the true nature of enlightenment, to see things as they really are, rather than how you imagine them to be.
All genuine spiritual practices serve this end, they are an invitation into the present moment and to allow the mind’s noise (conditioning) to take a rest and expose something more real. This is where true healing occurs, it’s a healing of perception, the healing of what is seen.
ALSO, the real spiritual invitation is only an invitation for YOU. It’s not about other people waking up, about what other people should or should not see; everyone is 100% innocent in their dream.
If one were to truly wake up, there would be no disturbance for other people’s dreams of identification. In fact, in such a genuine transformation, one would find themselves with unconditional love for the whole damn thing.
This is Love’s Resurrection.
Q. How do you hold this and also not bypass the pain. Is it about feeling our own pain and speaking up about our pain but never blaming?
It can be, but then again, that too can be used as a way to bypass pain. You could also say nothing, and that’s allowed too. It’s all allowed.
I wouldn’t suggest it’s about what to do or not do, since all “doing” can come from a place of delusion. You can “not blame” from a place of egoic pride. So, if there’s blame then there’s blame; no worries. It would be better served to acknowledge what is there, rather than looking for something more spiritual. If one can acknowledge for themselves what is there (self sincerity) then it can be looked at.In looking at it, we can ask “what is this pain really about?” Your answer shows you the level of awareness AND the opportunity to see something more true (for awareness to expand). In my own experience, it’s seen that the pain always says “I can’t find myself.” Which is also saying the ego is seeing the truth of no ego.” Additionally, it’s saying “I’m looking for myself in this, I’m trying to find myself in the world.”This is why suffering is… so awesome. It is THE opportunity for awareness to expand. As I see that my suffering is because I’m trying to do something that’s impossible (find myself in the world), I can relax that impossible quest; I can acknowledge that “this isn’t about me at all. There’s something else going on here.”It’s like if someone says something mean, I might feel a pain (suffer) and that pain is an alarm that says I’m misinterpreting the experience. The pain gets my attention as a warning to check myself and what I think is happening. The painful interpretation thinks their words are personal, thinks it means something about me; it does not.Beyond taking it personally, I don’t have to defend my ego, which means I’m available to listen. In listening, I discover they are hurting, they are in pain. Which… happens to be a fantastic landscape for love to be shared, to hold space for them, to allow the confusion to come undone. If they are hurting, they see themselves as less than. What a perfect opportunity to share some love that shows them they are not.As I share love, I feel love; as such, I’m sharing love with myself. If I’m defending my ego, then I will withhold love. This means I don’t feel love; so I’m withholding love from myself.To blame someone isn’t wrong, it’s an opportunity to see what you see. It can be quite fascinating really, and with a sincere heart of inquiry, it always leads toward a deeper awareness.Allow yourself to blame! 🤪 don’t blame the blame! It’s a great teacher.
When you see the truth of blame, then blame will be impossible. It won’t even be a question of should I or not. It simply won’t be there. You can’t force that, you can’t decide not to blame, in the same way, you can’t decide to love. All of the qualities are direct byproducts of seeing the truth. So… seek first the truth (what is this really about), and everything else will fall into place.
Q. What if, you don’t as much identify with your relationship, but see a partner as a source of love, joy, etc? When they leave it’s not so much about what that means about you, but what feels like being taken away?
To see anything outside of one’s self as a source of anything, will set the stage for suffering, but it also gives birth to beautiful human experiences as well. But… It can be seen that another person is “within” what you are, so it’s not so much about not attaching to anything ‘out there,’ it’s seeing that there is no ‘out there.’
For something to be seen as taken away, it implies a separation that’s not really there, but again… that’s fine, it contributes overall to the experience of being human.