On this blog, I’ve discussed how the demonization of the ego and mind as the barriers to enlightenment was false. I’ve suggested it is actually the identification with them that causes bondage. Both remain after awakening, only now they are aspects of the person rather than the “me”. They become secondary, without a battle.
Today, a friend sent me an unexpected quote that takes this a little deeper. Even identification is not the culprit. It is only when Being (Self or silence) is overshadowed by identification that identification is trouble. When Being is strong or clear or established enough, identification does not overshadow it.
“…identification is not bondage. What is bondage is the inability to maintain Being along with identification. What is bondage is the inability to maintain Being while indulging in the field of experience and activity.
If identification were bondage, freedom would be possible only in the state after death, in which one ceases to experience and ceases to be active. As long as one is alive…it is impossible to avoid identification…
Identification is not bondage, because freedom must be lived in the world, and living in the world entails identifying oneself with everything for the sake of experience and activity.”
— Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in The Science of Being and Art of Living, pg. 233-4 (originally published 1963)
Now, with awakening, there is a shift in identification from the ego to the cosmic Self. So identification remains, it just shifts and no longer overshadows Being. And the Unity experience of becoming whatever the attention is on (the earth, a bird, a tree, etc) is also a form of becoming or identification. Self identification ends with the Brahman shift.
We can say there is layers of truth here. Identification with the ego is an aspect that prevents recognition that we’re Being, that I Am. But that identification doesn’t end. Instead, it shifts. It’s a subtle but important point.