There have been a number of instances which have got me thinking about this subject recently. One was that I was asked to address a group of women a couple of times recently as part of programmes looking to promote more women into senior roles in organisations. The other was listening to a debate on the radio with two Jewish British authors about Jewish literature. The focus of this was talking about Jewish identity and what it means to be Jewish and British. Another was a discussion with friends about a relative of theirs who identified so strongly with her son that it was impossible to relate to her and the fact that she treated her step daughter quite startlingly cruelly because she could not identify with her. The last was a facebook dialogue between friends about living in a patriarchal society prompted by an article by Chrissy on isms.(http://www.chrissyphilp.com/heart/What_we_need_to_know_%28I_think%29….html)
What struck me was that we all want to have a sense of identity, to belong. It is very uncomfortable and lonely being an outsider – even those who are more comfortable with being outsiders are so because they identify with being an outsider. Yet what is this sense of identity? Most of us have a name which we give our consciousness; we address other people’s consciousnesses by these names as well. Yet, when I examine my consciousness and that of other people’s it appears to sit outside identity. Certainly it is not in our bodies: they age, they decay no matter how beautiful, fit or strong, yet our consciousness does not seem to age. “I don’t feel any older than I did when I was ten or twenty years younger” we say. “I can’t believe I am thirty, forty, fifty, seventy” etc. Consciousness seems to sit outside time or space in this regard. Similarly, I travel all over the world and meet people from different cultural backgrounds, different nationalities, different cultures, different races and when I talk to them about their consciousness it doesn’t seem any different to mine. Similarly when I am talking to men or women, I don’t notice any difference in their consciousness. Everyone says it is important to have a strong sense of identity, yet I remember being on a programme some fifteen years ago and as part of an exercise being asked, “Who are you?”. The facilitator had picked me deliberately as a fellow facilitator to demonstrate the value of the exercise in helping people understand the various roles and identities they had. I was a disaster, because when they asked me and I reflected I realised I did not have a clue. I could only answer that I didn’t know, much to everyone’s amusement. But I realised I really did not know, it was like trying to define a void or everything.
So I have been wondering, if we identify with consciousness then we identify with everyone or everything since we do not exist in time and space and all life has consciousness in some form. I notice that if I identify with my consciousness, then I can identify with anyone/everyone. It is always a surprise to me when people identify with things like being male, female, black, white, French, Italian, Chinese etc. because it creates a separation, a sense of “us and them”. I think having this vast timeless and spaceless (I know that is not a word but you will have to forgive me) consciousness which is boundless is frightening. We prefer to give ourselves an identity so that we feel a bit more solid, so we know who we are. But the trouble with this is that it then means that some people have to not be “us” they have to be “them” and we can then talk about how they are different so we can cement our sense of togetherness. Mostly people seem to want to identify with being special. But perhaps there is the opportunity to be part of a very special tribe, a tribe called humanity? I think all life seems very special to me. I want to be very special but I am also happy for everyone else to be very special too. I wonder if this might be at the heart of the new age of Aquarius and Leo, that we identify with everyone, with consciousness itself, so that everybody’s individual consciousness is very special and no more special than anyone else’s? Then we can all identify with each other.