As I discuss in my book, The Way to Self-Development, all the conflicts in our society exists because we are not in touch with our conscience. When our conscience is absent, we live according to the mind alone, and we experience life through the lens of our ‘false personality’. When our false personality is in charge, there exists the problem of identifying. From the moment our education starts, we are taught to identify. We identify with various religions, nations, races, and so on. I am a Muslim, I am a Jew, we are Americans, they are white, we are black, and so on. And out of this comes all the political and religious slogans we hear today. Identifying comes from the mind, not from our conscience, and the mind is always wrong.
Identifying is one of the causes of conflicts in this world. By identifying, we create divisions among ourselves, we put “I” and “we” first. And we can see this throughout history, from ancient conflicts to Nazi Germany and the present-day conflicts in the Middle East. We send our children to die in the resulting wars, and we spend trillions on armies and weapons at the expense of the wellbeing of humanity and our environment.
So, what does it mean to practise non-identifying? When we identify, we are not present. By not identifying, we have compassion for our neighbour, as the Samaritan had for the Jew in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Samaritans and Jews were not on good terms at the time).
We stop identifying when we get in touch with our conscience. Conscience makes life vivid. Getting in touch with our conscience in any given moment can be done by bringing our attention to the present and to our breath. However, being present always and everywhere requires a great effort. With all the adversity and temptation around us, we also need a method for releasing tension, which involves relaxing the shoulders and loosening the wrists. I detail this in my book.
By living in the present, false personality diminishes and identifying ceases. There are no longer divisions between us. We realise that there is plenty of land and resources on our planet for everybody to live in peaceful co-existence. And instead of chanting slogans such as “Put America First”, we will say “Put your neighbour first”.