Intensity of Identity

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:

  1. Egoic role, such as a job title or life function [like being a parent]
  2. Unconscious personification of a life issue, or subpersonality
  3. Personal integration center, such as the ego or the Self
  4. Archetypal identification center, such as a spiritual seed atom or form
  5. Superconscious integration center, such as a nucleus of identity
  6. Immortal spiritual essence, such as the attentional principle, spirit, or ensouling entity
  7. 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.

Reflections on Identity States

By George A. Boyd ©2017

Q: What is an identity state?

A: An identity state is an internal essence with which you first form mental associations from learning about it and hearing other people talking about it. Next, you gain attentional union with that state. Then, you feel that that essence is who you truly are.

There are a variety of potential identity states. We excerpt from “A Mudrashram® Primer” to describe these identity states:


You can identify with a role, a group, an issue, or an aspect of consciousness.

An example of a role is when you identify with your career. You might say, for example, I am a plumber, I am a secretary, or I am a short order cook—depending on what you do. You also can identify with your role in the family. You tell people, I am a mother, I am a son, or I am the sister of someone.

Group identification occurs when you identify with your nationality, ethnic group, or religion. You identify with your nationality when you say I am an American, I am Egyptian, or I am Chinese. You identify with your ethnic group when you tell them I am a Kurd, I am a Romani (gypsy), or I am a Sephardic Jew. You identify with your religion when you tell people I am a Buddhist, I am a Catholic, or I am a Shaivite Hindu.

You identify with an issue when you think of yourself as the limitations, problems, or illnesses that you have. You might say I am not a good skier, I am awkward in social situations, or I am a cancer survivor.

You identify with an aspect of consciousness when you keep your attention associated with a particular aspect of your mind for a long period. These different aspects of consciousness with which people commonly identify include a personal identification center, a seed atom within a vehicle of consciousness, a nucleus of identity, a spiritual essence, or an ensouling entity.

We excerpt from our course, “Meditation for Yoga Students and Teachers” to describe these different aspects of consciousness with which you can identify.

“Meditation is focusing attention on discrete objects. These objects of meditation dwell within the mind. They include:

Focal points – these are centers in inner vehicles of consciousness, sometimes called seed atoms, in those vehicles. Vehicles of consciousness are the functional nexuses through which the ego, Self, and Soul can express their abilities. They exist in all levels of the mind—Conscious, Subconscious, Metaconscious, and Superconscious. [You identify with the center in a vehicle of consciousness that we call the seed atom, which is located at a focal point. It allows you to say, for example, I am my body, I am reason, or I am my life narrative.]

Personal identification centers – these are integration centers of the personality. In the Conscious mind, this is called the ego. In the Metaconscious mind, this is called the Self. These integrate the functions of several vehicles of consciousness and coordinate them through volition.

Nuclei of identity – these are centers in the Superconscious mind that coordinate activity at selected levels of the Superconscious mind, and carry the activity of the higher octaves of the will. Nuclei of identity are found in the First through the Fourth Planetary Initiation, the First through the Fifth Cosmic Initiation, and on each Supracosmic Path.

Spiritual essence – this is the individual spirit, or spiritual heart. This essence travels back to the Divine through inner channels of light and sound that we call the Nada. We have identified twelve segments of the Nadamic Path. This type of meditation is most common in Transcendental Paths one through seven, which comprise the sixth through twelfth segments of the Nadamic Path—though it is also used in the MSIA group, which focuses on the essence of the fourth segment of the Nada. We refer to these segments of the Nada as Domains.

Ensouling entity – this is the Divine Spark that dwells within each individual. We have identified 13 different ensouling entities. The most common ones that people encounter in their meditation are the Soul Spark (Jivan Atma), which operates in the Subtle Realm; the Soul or Higher Self (Atma), which operates in the Planetary Realm; and the Monad (Paramatma), which operates in the Transplanetary Realm.”

First you locate an aspect of consciousness within you. You hold your attention upon it so you recognize where it is and the functions it performs. You become familiar with the content associated with this level when you hold your attention there. You come to associate different experiences with that aspect of consciousness. As this experience of association with this aspect of consciousness matures, you eventually come to identify with this essence.

There are a wide variety of different identifications that people hold. People identify with the social clubs they join, with their favorite sports teams, with a fan club of a celebrity, with the city in which they live, their sexual orientation, or their political party. These are other types of group identification.

Take a moment to check in with the identities with which you are identified.

  • What are your career identities?
  • What are your relationship identities?
  • What are you group identities?
  • With which aspects of consciousness do you identify?

People become intractably identified with a role, a group, an issue, or an aspect of consciousness (RGIAC), and have difficulty understanding people who identify with other roles, groups, issues they have not personally experienced, or an aspect of consciousness to which they have not been introduced. We think it’s important that people understand why people come to identify with the RGIACs they embrace, and by which they create meaning for themselves.

In Integral meditation, we start you with the aspects of your consciousness that are fully incarnate in your life.

At your personal level, this is your ego and your human Self.

Spiritually, this is your attentional principle, your spirit associated with the cutting edge of spirituality, and the ensouling entity at the cutting edge of spirituality.

So we don’t lift you out of this native matrix that makes you uniquely you, but we show you how to unfold your spiritual potentials where you are. [We teach you how to unfold your spiritual potentials in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.]

This makes us different than a lot of Paths that ask you to identify with their nucleus of identity, their ensouling entity, or their spiritual essence that is outside of your native matrix. When you pursue these Paths, you come to realize your ego and Self are not real (depersonalization and derealization)—so you create this unnatural split in yourself.

Some of the by-products of creating these splits include, not only states of depersonalization and derealization, but also dissociation from your emotions, loss of motivation to pursue personal goals, demonizing your ego and your personality, or assuming that your Path is the only true Path—and sometimes, Kundalini Syndromes, where you interfere with the energy of awareness in your mind.

We encourage you to become a spiritual investigator, and find out:

  • With what spiritual essences are people spiritually identified?
  • How does that condition their perception of the world, their beliefs, their values, and their behavior?

Those of you who want to study these phenomena in greater depth will benefit from reading our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing? [In 2023, we released the follow up volume to this book, The Path across the Sky. Those who enjoyed Religions, Cults, and Terrorism may wish to add this newer volume that brings new insights into this subject matter to their library.]