By George A. Boyd © 2022
We can characterize the state of identification as having different levels of intensity. At greater intensity, the state of identification is strongly defended and anchored; at lesser intensity, there is a greater ability to detach or dissociate from that state of identity.
We can describe seven orders of identity:
- Egoic role, such as a job title or life function [like being a parent]
- Unconscious personification of a life issue, or subpersonality
- Personal integration center, such as the ego or the Self
- Archetypal identification center, such as a spiritual seed atom or form
- Superconscious integration center, such as a nucleus of identity
- Immortal spiritual essence, such as the attentional principle, spirit, or ensouling entity
- Empowered spiritual essence, such as found in Initiates, who gain Mastery and the Divine empowers them to guide, teach, and initiate others
These orders of identity can be assumed with different degrees of intensity, as we explain below.
Level one – The identity state is assumed casually and has little importance to you. You might be a member of a club or social group, but have no great interest or allegiance to being a part of the events they hold or places they visit.
Level two – The identity state takes on an enhanced significance or importance to you. You consider yourself a member of the group and you want to contribute: you may donate money, volunteer your time, or participate in planning.
Level three – The identity state becomes linked to your core sense of identity or status, and you cling to it and defend it. You become a parent: you defend and protect your spouse and children. You establish a company: you pay special attention to your reputation and the way your brand is perceived.
Level four – The identity state becomes strongly linked to your sense of personal survival, and you develop several layers of defense mechanisms to not allow anyone to threaten what you consider to be of the highest importance in your life. When this identity state becomes distorted, this intensity level appears in personality disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Level five – The identity state becomes linked with your spiritual survival or salvation. At this level, you may identify with an archetypal identification center, a Superconscious integration center, or an immortal spiritual essence, and cling to it to make sure that it does not become sullied with karma or sin. When this level awakens in you, you may find yourself dissociating from personal identification and keeping your attention focused on essences within your Superconscious mind.
Level six – You assume the identity state in an ecstatic mystic trance and you gain union and identification with a form of the Divine. The Yogi who unites cosmic consciousness with Brahman experiences this state as the highest enlightenment and bliss, and is fully convinced that he or she has reached the summit of spiritual attainment.
Level seven – The essence with which you identify is liberated into its origin, and you glimpse Satchitananda, the source of the mighty force that animates each spiritual essence that is sent into Creation. At this level, you experience your ultimate state of identification.
Intensity levels one through four are associated with the personal identification orders one to four. Intensity levels five through seven derive from spiritual identification orders five through seven.
The energy and focus required to maintain union with a state of spiritual identification are much greater than that which is necessary to assume states of personal identification. For this reason, when people draw upon elements of their spiritual and religious identity, the intensity with which hold their sense of who they are is much stronger that their personal forms of identification.
Archetypal identity, when it embraces racism and hatred, creates turmoil in the society through the beliefs and actions those who identify with these numinous ideas of the collective unconscious. When religion guides the hand of politics, it may impose an intolerant and authoritarian regime upon those it governs. When mystic trance influences group behavior, it may spawn fanaticism and create dangerous spiritual cults.
Examining your identity states
We invite you to explore your identity states with some questions designed to have you look at these aspects of your mind and spiritual nature:
- Which of the orders of identification have you experienced?
- Which of these orders of identification are core to the way you know yourself in your current life?
- Have the orders of identification with which you most strongly identify today changed over time? How did you experience these orders of identification differently in earlier periods of your life?
- What identity states do you currently hold within intensity level one?
- What identity states do you currently hold within intensity level two?
- What identity states do you currently hold within intensity level three?
- What identity states do you currently hold within intensity level four?
- Do you embrace any spiritual identity states with intensity levels five, six, or seven? What are these identity states?
- Do you experience any distortions at intensity level four that are contributing to personal stress, conflict, and misery? What are these patterns that arise? What are they trying to tell you? How do they impact your ability to function in your adult roles?
- Do you experience any distortions that stem from archetypal or spiritual identification? How do these influence your values, beliefs, emotions, and behavior?
- Which identity states bring undue stress and unhappiness in your life or waste your time? Which could you jettison?
- Which identity states contribute most to your sense of meaning and purpose?
- Which identity states seem fleeting and ephemeral? Which are lasting—an identity state you will maintain for your entire life?
As you gain greater understanding of your identity states and the intensity with which you hold them, you will intuit what is most important to you and who you are at every level of your mind, personal and transpersonal. We encourage you to study your identity states to gain the insights that will support your positive change and growth.