Identities are very important means of self discovery and expression of Being, and they arise from the Prime Directive: “Being, Know Thyself!”. They are extremely important to the creation of Diversity. In this section we will discuss, in very general terms, the formation of individual identities. It must be kept in mind that the description does not apply to every instance of individuation, but helps outline a common enough template.
The formation of identities within Oneness is a very curious thing. Even though Being fragments, retaining that fragmentation is difficult if the spiritual ‘stuff’ being fragmented is more or less homogeneous. Like attracts like, and the fragments coalesce together again like drops of water in a cup. To create identities therefore requires sustained separation, such as involvement or binding with a materially dense and separate form. By such binding with physical forms, a kind of separation ensues, but consciousness still needs to distinguish itself from the ‘other’ for identities to arise. This is facilitated by sensory experience, which offers a consistent set of input in consciousness from a perceived ‘external world’ where the Principle of Reflection plays out. The consistency of the perceived world (with a coherent system of cause and effect) is important, otherwise little of sensory experience would make any ‘sense’ to the consciousness. The meshing of such cause and effect sensations within consciousness, centered around a physical form, helps create a temporary identity for that fragment; the beginnings of a distinction between that form and the rest of its environment.
Even then, this concept of identity is still quite tenuous in most simpler life forms. An exit or unbinding of consciousness from those forms can once again result in a coalescing back into a homogeneous group (usually called the group soul). But in time, with multiple experiences binding to forms of matter, identity sets in. The reader may visualize amorphous ‘drops’ of different densities within a group, that differ somewhat from their neighbors. At this stage the group has become more like a colloid - identity mostly rests within the group, yet individual identities have begun to crystallize. A reflected manifestation of this is found in ant colonies, bee hives and other social insects. The fragments have experienced an individuated Being in some sense, but Becoming still requires work with further reinforcement of identities.
For a portion of the plant kingdom, such a reinforcement of identities comes through the act of foraging by beasts, in addition to the ravage of the elements. The experience of losing parts of its body around which a fragment of Being forms a vague concept of identity, has a significant impact on a plant’s elementary consciousness. The ‘shock’ of losing a portion of its body (foragers do not destroy plants) awakens a sense of self-preservation, an important concept to identity. Identity also begets comparison of self with others, and the effect of foraging is also to create a drive within that consciousness to become like, or better than the beasts. Here is an example beginning of an evolutionary drive of Becoming - which enables consciousness to evolve from the primitive to the highly sophisticated. The God Principle (book) covers other examples within the food chain in Nature that facilitates this evolution. The evolutionary drive also helps determine the nature and type of further forms that the fragment binds to, including the very attributes developed by those forms - for the forms are but vehicles to help express various facets of Being. Spiritual evolution thus influences physical evolution, and also vice versa, resulting in co-evolution of matter and spirit. This is a direct result of the Principle of Reflection.
Even for fragments of Being that manifest within the pattern of Man, the ability to keep a separate identity from the higher self does not come easy. It requires an effort from the higher self to maintain the separation as it were, and is helped along by the relative density of the earth realm. The process is greatly assisted by what is generally called the birth trauma that impinges upon a fragment of Being during the period of labor and delivery. This shock is similar in kind to that experienced by the plant kingdom as mentioned above, though greater in intensity. The result is the ability of the fragment of Being to form an identity around the physical form, separate from the higher self, and manifest and explore its own self. Communion with the higher self is facilitated through soul bridges or ‘chakras’ as they are called, activated and sustained through energies from the earth (energies sometimes referred to as the kundalini). This contribution from the earth is required as the latter is the main source of energy for the body toward sustaining processes within. Through these bridges various natures and characteristics resident in the higher self are funneled through as the body develops, thus helping to mould a personality within the identity held together by the body. So is the wisdom of the higher self made available to the personality when the bridges are fully established. Experience and learning acquired by the personality is then transmitted back to the higher self through these same links (see chapter ‘Tree of Life’ in our book, The God Principle). At death, unless the personality has seriously shifted away in vibration from the higher self, reintegration is relatively easy as the dense physical body holding the most tenacious grip on identity is now discarded and the integration generally happens without incident.
To experience the same integration while in the body is a more strenuous task that requires techniques like yoga (which literally means ‘integration’) or various other spiritual practices that hold the lower mind formed by the body (which also holds the subconscious computing machinery) in abeyance. This grip of the physical is also loosened temporarily through the use of certain drugs that are classified as psychoactive, which in certain natural forms have made their way into rituals and shamanic practices. In essence, many of these approaches are similar in effect though differing in intent and method.
Human identities are hard won, and precious for what they are worth. They provide a level of experience and understanding of Being which are impossible to obtain at higher levels. In due time there comes a point in evolution when identities become merged into progressively higher orders of Being. This is not quite a loss of identity, but moving into more subtle but vaster versions of identities - an evolutionary movement from unconscious to the super-conscious. An analogy may be found in the mundane process of consuming food, where a form of life such as a vegetable is developed and nurtured, and later becomes part of a higher order organism. The same is reflected at a higher level, with various levels of oneness with higher orders of life being available to human beings. An evolving identity and consciousness merges into a greater Identity, in ever higher progressions, till all return to the ONE.
We did not specifically discuss the Separative Principle in this section. But it should be understood that forces or energies that result in the fragmentation of Being and then sustain them in various forms (in the case of human beings these include ego, conflicts, wars and so forth) are aligned with this principle. But before we look any deeper into manifestations of the Separative Principle, it is required to take a closer look at the forces of selection - primarily into notions of sin, retribution, karma and so forth. This we will do in the next section.