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Sense of Identification

Pseudomonas bacteria launched an assault on my left lung to cause Pneumonia and that lead to my hospitalization for six days. Fourth day just before I was about to sleep, I coughed to only live through an excruciating lung pain and at the end of it I almost had the experience of death for a brief period. I went beyond my individual mind and I saw my individuality. Soul made a solemn presence and that experience I would call it as the “knowledge of the knowledge”. I had a sight, contemporaneously, of the life, tussling at closer quarters with death and death scuffling with life’s umpteen lifeless identities. And “Yes” I perceived death. Life was not heedful about the potential consequences rising from the short-lived-experience-based death, but life was circumspect about the death of those hard earned identities! Life was favouring its own self, all passionately, one-sidedly, to a level, it forgot to ask whether those identities were true or not?  What mattered to life were mere identities. For death nothing mattered. Fire in its association burns the quality and the quantity of an entity, without any preoccupation and so does death! I was a mute testimony to both.

Life as an individual, perhaps, presumptively, acutely accumulates death-denting distinctions. Mortal man’s randomly constructed, so called “immortal-identities” and “death-denting distinctions” or in simple language “identities” are but in reality, children’s sand made houses!

Probably or generally, dreams end meaninglessly. But, on the contrary, experiences definitively end meaningfully. My experience in the hospital, meaningfully, restored confidence about my staunch belief, that, life succinctly, is only a small cause and effect theory principle. Wherein, one’s desires are the causes to the effect called pain or pleasure. We all incessantly yearn for something and try and extract only pleasure out of it and if we attain the desired goal, we go to the extent of deeming that those trivial pleasures as happiness! In true sense, happiness transcends the limitations and drawbacks offered by pleasure and pain. Harking back, human beings are just stuck in this cycle of desiring-doing-experiencing-identifying. Desire something, do that, experience that and identify yourself with that! Such a vicious purposeless perennial life cycle! I have no qualms with people who call this process purposeful and sensible! Subject beliefs are wholesomely respected!

If on one hand my hospital experience reassured my belief system, and made me feel fortified about the path I have chosen and toeing upon, on the other hand, it helped me to dwell deeper intellectually into the concept of identity!

At all times, back of my mind, I have been seeking an answer to one question, “What are these Identities”, which we all form steadily, that  that over a certain period we claim ownership over the same and wrap into it as if for the safest tier called Z+ – security!

How are these identities formed? When are they formed? Why are they formed?  What is that feeling of “little indisposed”, about losing them? Do identities have the huge immense potential to really protect individuals during their harder times of life?

Let us assume that I am a dandy being. My external appearance being of greater significance to the greatest possible degree, I decide to buy distinguishingly unique attire. I here ‘desire’ to buy. Desire leads to an action. Action leads to a reaction called pleasure (if possessed as per the requirement) and pain (if not possessed as per the requirement). Rarely someone can be a super stoic person to not react to the situation and such people are out of our equation of discussion, as they are either mentally super-normal or mentally abnormal!  For now, on the off chance, let me ideate that I obtained out of all struggle the best unique attire in the town, now psychologically, I identify myself with the newly gotten dress. I say with a sense of pride, “it is my dress”. I get absorbed in the dress. A sense of indivisible whole is acquired.

Let us now revisit those questions-

  •    How are these identities formed? At the outset, we desire and a beginning has been made!
  •   When are they formed? After a desire is materialized! Sometimes, even otherwise!
  • Why are they formed? I identify with what is materialized or what is to be materialized and “formation of identification” is the evident result!
  •   What is that feeling of “little indisposed”, about losing them? I don’t like to lose what is mine and it is as simple as that! Sometimes, I don’t want to lose what is not mine! For instance, I found a costly Parker pen on the street or I stole one. It is not mine, but I still don’t want to lose it as I know the value of a “Parker Pen” and also I have attached a value to the “Parker Pen”. By now, I call it as “My Parker Pen”.
  • Do identities have the huge immense potential to really protect one individual during his harder times of life? Some can and some cannot. At the end of the day it also depends on the knack of an individual to utilize the identities to one’s luxuries and conveniences.

The above example might appear a bit too smattering in its way to comprehend identification. Let us core out to know more. Each human being dons definitively a few roles, may it be of a great-grand-son/daughter, grand-son/daughter, son/daughter, neighbour, student, customer, uncle/aunty, husband/wife, father/mother, colleague, boss, citizen, grand-father/mother Etc., in day to day life. Each of these roles becomes perfect in every respect only when he identifies himself with it in an exhaustive manner. As under a pledge towards a particular cause, if one acts with sense of fulfilment towards the role’s completion, his identification with the same goes from strength to strength. These identifications are in terms of knowing one’s own strength and thereby becoming more responsible, productive and eventually meaningful towards one’s own self and towards the society.

If we see the previous example, it was from the context of identifying oneself with an object and the present one is in the context of an individual or with one’s own self.

However, the dichotomy of life is here, from the spiritual life dimension per se, wherein, everything is about letting go and nothing is about getting bound. To elaborate, factually, these very substantive identifications of one can entangle him with the knots called bondages.

Now let us attempt to drive a point home through the whole activity.

These identifications come with a tinge of peril is immensely displeasing! These identifications are those which don’t allow us to die peacefully. These identifications, for life puts into a state of recurrent rough-and-tumble with death. Life as an individual isolatedly mulls over these identifications and ponders over the arrival of death and the departure of those endeared identifications!

If one scrutinizes, ‘Life otherwise, in other words is a collection of identifications’. With that the realness, what is so erroneous in telling what I have and a deeper connection with the same, especially if I have garnered it out of great difficulty and greater sacrifices?

“I own a house”, “I own a plot”, “I own a car”, “I own a weapon”, “I own a costly diamond”, “I won a very intelligent debate”, “I possess costly  ornaments”, “I am so and so” and “I own all that, that is better than the most people have and I am the best and perfect”. I being best and perfect is solely my radically distinctive identity and it is equal to none.

Importantly I identify with all that I own and if I lose them, I am lost.

Above all, “I own not to disown”.

When I own not to disown is the existential fact of many people, how wise it is to let go or even to think about it? Let us take it up in the next blog!

Some food for thought before I wind up- “If in deep-sleep I am unavailable to access to the most vital things I think of my life, and my own world is nullified to me, is there not a problem with my precious possessions? Its face value is not something to be revisited? What sleep does to our most invaluable acquisitions daily; death does it once for all”.

“Let those things be with you, but you don’t be with them”.

“Go beyond sleep, transcend death”.

Think differently! Come with us in search of reality!

Swaroop R
Swaroop R
Swaroop Sharma spent 6years at Veda Vijnana Gurukulam, mastering Indian Thought System. He has a Bachelor Degree from RSVP, Tirupati, specializing in Adwaita Vedanta and Yoga. Masters in Sanskrit from KSOU and Psychology from Kuvempu University. He holds PhD from University of Mysore and is working as Assistant Professor with Jain University. Under the tutelage of Karthik Chaitanya, a direct disciple of BKS Iyengar, he learnt the yoga for three years. He has been teaching Yoga from five years and has initiated more than 100 people in this path. He is an active member of Gurudakshina Foundation Trust - an NGO, devouring blogger, avid traveler and a cyclist spends his time judiciously and toils to be socially productive and individually vibrant.

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