Overcome a Subtle Aspect of Identification

When the image of a rose falls on the retina, it automatically makes an impression on the visual center in the brain. No choice is consciously made, because the nervous system has taken instant possession of the image. Until the attention wanders to another object, one’s awareness is imprinted with a rose. This is therefore a kind of union, or yoga, but a false one, because it is so weighted in favor of the object. Seeing the rose, I forget myself.

Most people have no idea that looking at things can be a kind of bondage. A rose is a rose, fire is fire, water is water–all these natural facts arrange themselves into a unity that seems preordained, thanks to the automatic process of identification. But to the yogi, the bondage of the senses is a serious handicap, because it commits us to things “out there” and to our memories, which are totally filled with things from the past.

If I break my leg and feel intense pain, my response seems unchallengeable when in fact it is merely a repetition of an old way of responding that I learned years ago. Can this old lesson be unlearned?

Anyone can distract himself from a mild headache by talking to a friend or becoming absorbed in a book. The reasons these distractions work is that we have more choice over identification than we realize. Even though the senses stick to the world like glue, we are still free to pull them away to new objects of fascination.

Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).

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Elisa F.
Elisa F.1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Mahealani Ka'imiloa

Yes, this is a tough one, for sure! When I was very young I became a Krisna Devotee for a few months. The only question I remember asking one of the monks was if it would be OK to have the images of Krishna, Buddha and Jesus all on the same alter? (His answer was yes.) Then, a few decades later I became a student of Kundalini Yoga and later a teacher of Sivinanda Yoga. I also have read many of Depak's books. I think he is brilliant. However, as it pertains to me, I find it very difficult to be detached, as all of the above modalities have taught me! Sometimes I really revel in my physical being; just allowing it to be, feel, hear, touch. Feeling the waves in the ocean roll over my body and the sun on my mortal skin, eating chocolate (I did give up smoking!), and filling my soul with incredible music, hugs n' kisses. The fact that I have been a Hospice RN for many years has....well...made me more humble, more aware of that which I do NOT know....mainly, that I try to acknowledge my soul as well as the wants of my body, but fail miserably at times......I love physic's, but I will die knowing so little. What I really want is peace; within myself and every one in the world..Detachment is quite difficult, at least for me. Yes, if I had only one thing to wish for/end up with, it would be peace....please.

Peter Mengos
Peter Mengos3 years ago

thanks for sharing

Catherine S.
Catherine S.3 years ago

I'm confused. Am I not supposed to like looking at that rose? Because it's really pretty and it's my favorite color.

Dot A.
Dot A.3 years ago

the abstract articles are least appreciated, especially when formulated in such a compact style, but, with a little bit of Care2 contributions the meaning may be clearer

it's really just emphasizing our freedom to choose what we pay attention to, and not at all denegrading the human condition

of course we feel

of course some of those feelings aren't fun

but, with our growing awareness ( conscious thinking ) we can help alleviate some of our distresses

if we choose to - however, if we are invested in a particular situation, perhaps the experience is valuable for some other 'unknown' reason

growing up in a miserable family was not a choice, but getting past it was

> to focus on what's desired rather than the misery

yes, there is a whole lot which can be said for this topic,...........

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence3 years ago

OOH,,don't care for this article at all !

Dot A.
Dot A.3 years ago

the senses stick to the world like glue, we are still free to pull them away to new objects of fascination

Mary B has offered a sound response - thanks for the grounded contribution Mary, as you see, some are drawn here, repeatedly, just for the 'rant review'.

It's logical that the senses 'capture' our mind, as the world is intended for such an exchange of energies. What's significant about this piece is that the more aware of this exchange, and the more conscious we become of our ability to 'change' the channel, the better we can get at finding the 'input' that is desirable to each of us.

Or not,.......

Shalvah Landy
Past Member 3 years ago

Change of consciousness helps us in breaking away from old habits, reactions...

Lina K.
Lina K.3 years ago

Very interesting to think about actually. Thanks. We should identify ourselves w/possitive stuff & beauty to become stronger and overcome what's bad.

Wes Giesbrecht
Past Member 3 years ago

I especially like this part:
"and to our memories, which are totally filled with things from the past."


And this: "even though the senses stick to the world like glue, we are still free to pull them away to new objects of fascination."

Uh huh.... wait a minute...... didn't he just say we aren't supposed to get hung up on looking at things?

Oh wait a minute, "But to the yogi," Right! That's what I thought.
We should be looking for pic-a-nick baskets!