Here is a very simplified overlook of how the identification process looks to me:
Our mind learns to identify early on, partly or mostly through imitating those around us, and perhaps partly through genetic or karmic conditioning. It learns to create velcro (combine sensations and imaginations), and through that create beliefs (taking stories as true) and identify with the viewpoint of these stories.
As soon as that happens, there is a sense of a separate self. A small self that is somehow separate from the rest of the world. In our case, that separate self calls itself a human self, and that human self accumulates a lot of additional identities over time.
Identifying as a separate self, in turn, creates fear. A separate self is vulnerable, in danger, at the whim of other separate selves and the larger world. It is born and it will die.
The mind learns to fear that fear. It learns to shun it, avoid it, fight it, distract itself from it. It learns to avoid feeling the scary sensations and looking at the scary mental images and words connected with it.
When the mind fears the fear, it reacts to it and tries to protect itself from it. And it does so in the form of distractions of any kind. It also reacts to the fear by creating anxiety, depression, compulsion, and through reinforcing and creating new identifications. These reinforced and new identifications continue the cycle.
This cycle is a cycle of suffering. It’s the mind struggling with its own creations, and that creates suffering. The mind makes some of its own experiences into an enemy, fights them, and suffer as a consequence. It’s split off from itself, and that’s suffering. It’s not home, even as it is. It’s caught in a cycle of perceived threats, and that too is suffering.
The remedy is for the mind to befriend its own creations. To befriend the scary sensations and imaginations. And also to see how it’s creating these combinations of sensations and imaginations that seem so scary. Resting with these components allows the glue holding them together, making them seem scary, to soften and perhaps even fall away.
- identification and fear
- learn from those around us -> identification, separate self, deficiency stories, fear
- fear -> when unloved, rejected -> reactive emotions, anxiety, depression, compulsions + new identifications (velcro, beliefs) continuing the cycle