We all want an identity an image to define us. An image created by us over a period of time. A little bit of child hood image with innocence forms the basis, then the playfulness of teenage, the image of adulthood which is what you want to be and what others would like to see you as and not what you actually are. These all form the image far from reality. We want others to see what we want them to see not what we actually are. This forms the identity.
Why do we require this identity?
“……..Beyond the basic need for a sense of control, we are deeply driven by our sense of identity, of who we are. ‘I’ is a capital letter, denoting the importance we place on our sense of individual self……”
How the identity is formed. Early in life as kid when we begin to realize that we are separate from our mother we first begin to create our identity. We identify at this stage with the dolls we play. Later on when we grow up we identify ourselves with other objects, it may be house, mobile phone, car, job or other things.
The conflict within us arises when almost all of us want to show that we are perfect people but almost no one is perfect.
The conflicts with others arise when we feel that our identity is being threatened. If we feel that way then our responses could be very aggressive.
Can we live in this world without being identified with something? Let us see what J. Krishnamurti talks about this,
“………., really, can you and I, as individuals, live in this world without being identified with anything? After all, I identify myself with my country, with my religion, with my family, with my name, because without identification I am nothing. Without a position, without power, without prestige of one kind or another, I feel lost; and so I identify myself with my name, with my family, with my religion, I join some organization or become a monk we all know the various types of identification that the mind clings to. But can we live in this world without any identification at all? ................
………. But inwardly, inside the skin as it were, we try to identify ourselves with the past, with tradition, with some fanciful romantic image, a symbol much cherished. And surely in this identification there is a sense of security, safety, a sense of being owned and of possessing. This gives great comfort. One takes comfort, security, in any form of illusion. And man apparently needs many illusions……….”
We want identity because that gives us a sense of belonging, comfort. But that is not the reality, the image is not the reality, if you are aware of this then you can live without the identity (psychologically)……
We will finish with a Zen Story,
“The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he was a butterfly fluttering here and there. In the dream he had no awareness of his individuality as a person. He was only a butterfly. Suddenly, he awoke and found himself laying there, a person once again. But then he thought to himself, "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"