Dissolution of Identity
It is common for people to fear a dissolution of their identity. What do we fear disappearing with the recognition of our true nature? It’s true that what seems to define us as a person — our thoughts, feelings, ideas, name and form — is going to disappear.
If we were truly afraid of letting go of the individual characteristics of our particular body and mind, we would be afraid of falling asleep at night. But we do so happily; we even look forward to it! Without a moment’s thought we give up our body, our mind and our world as we fall asleep, and are left only as the peaceful Self – pure Awareness – that we essentially are.
We don’t miss our body and our mind when we are asleep. We’re perfectly happy there without them. Then, in the morning, we happily ‘get dressed’ in our body and mind again. First we put on our mind, then our body, and then the world.
All the time, underneath the body/mind/world that we assume, we are always this peaceful Self that is inherently unattached to the body, mind and world. What we essentially are is no more attached to them than it is the clothes we’re wearing. We don’t have to work hard to detach ourselves from thoughts, sensations and perceptions. We just see that what we essentially are is already unattached to any particular object.
So, why are we afraid of letting a collection of thoughts, sensations and perceptions disappear? What do we think we are going to lose? The reason we fear it is that we have invested our identity in a collection of objects — ideas, knowledge, history and the sensations that we know as the body — in something that comes and goes.
To say, ‘we have invested our identity’ means that our essential Being of pure Awareness, or the simple experience of being aware, has mixed itself up with a collection of thoughts and feelings to such an extent that it can no longer distinguish itself from them. By allowing our Self to be entangled with an object or a collection of objects, we have allowed our true nature to be veiled.