How to Meditate: Self Identification Meditation

This is a guided meditation taken from the therapeutic practice of Psychosynthesis which was started by psychoanalyst Roberto Assagioli. It is a process of gradually stripping away the layers of false self-identification to reveal the true nature of the Self underneath. 

Normally you tend to identify with everything except your true self: your body, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, your job, possessions, your various roles in life, etc. But as Roberto Assagioli points out: 
“We are dominated by everything with which our self is identified. We can dominate and control everything from which we dis-identify ourselves.” 
This meditation encourages you to dis-identify from all the things that are not really you and to identify with your true self, which is Awareness. It helps you to discriminate clearly between the contents of your consciousness and the consciousness or awareness itself. 

The practise systematically highlights all the areas where you are falsely identified, before stripping them back. It starts with the body and sensations, then works through the feelings and emotions, and then tackles mental activity. In reality, these different parts of our being intersect and interact, and influence each other, and we can become totally caught up with the constant flux, losing touch with our true self in the process. 

  • Helps to calm the emotions 
  • Promotes greater flexibility of mind and identity 
  • Encourages direct experience of the true Self 
  • Enhances the synthesis of the personality prior to transcendence 

This meditation involves quite a bit of text which you can either memorise or record so you can listen to it as you meditate. Alternatively, you can improvise around the basic points. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll no longer need the prompt of the text and you’ll be able to get to the heart of the practise much quicker. 

The technique detailed below includes the full text as well as a more basic version. The meditation can be done just using the basic text if you like, but it’s a good idea to try the full version a few times so you can really feel the benefit of the practice. You can download the pdf of the full text here: Full text for the Self Identification Meditation (pdf) 

Self Identification Meditation 

Sit in meditation on a cushion or a hard-backed chair. Spend a few minutes watching your breath and relaxing the mind. 

Either read or listen to a recording of the meditation text. Be sure to visualise as clearly as you can and really feel what the text is pointing you towards realising. Once you’ve performed the meditation a few times you’ll be able to do it without needing to read the text. 

As you come to the end of the text, take a few moments to allow the realisation of the true self to spread through your being. Breathe and stand. 

The full text
Assert the following

I have a body and sensations but I am not my body and sensations. My body may find itself in different conditions of health or sickness; it may be rested or tired, but that has nothing to do with my self, my real ‘I’. My body is my precious instrument of experience and of action in the outer world, but it is only an instrument. I treat it well; I seek to keep it in good health, but it is not myself. I have a body but I am not my body

I have feelings and emotions but I am not my feelings and emotions. These emotions are countless, contradictory, changing, and yet I know that I always remain I, my-self, in times of hope or despair, in joy or in pain, in a state of irritation or of calm. Since I can observe, understand and judge my emotions, and then increasingly dominate, direct and utilise them, it is evident that they are not myself. I have emotions, but I am not my emotions

I have desires, but I am not my desires, aroused by drives, physical and emotional, and by outer influences. Desires too are changeable and contradictory, with alternations of attraction and repulsion. I have desires, but I am not my desires

I have a mind and thoughts, but I am not my mind and thoughts. My intellect is more or less developed and active; it is undisciplined but teachable; it is an organ of knowledge in regard to the outer world as well as the inner; but it is not myself. I have a mind and thoughts, but I am not my mind and thoughts

What am I then? What remains? It is the essence of myself – a centre of pure self-consciousness and self-realisation. I recognise and affirm myself as a centre of pure self-consciousness and of will, capable of observing, mastering, directing and using all the psychological processes and the physical body. I am a centre of pure Awareness and of Power

The basic text
Use this when you’re ready to get to the heart of the practice without the preamble. Remember to take your time with each assertion and close your eyes if you wish. You may want to repeat each line several times, as you see fit. 

Assert the following
I have a body and sensations, but I am not my body and sensations. 
I have feelings and emotions, but I am not my feelings and emotions. 
I have a mind and thoughts, but I am not my mind and thoughts. 
I am I, a centre of Pure Awareness and Power. 

The text here and in the pdf are taken from Psychosynthesis by Roberto Assagioli. More information on Psychosynthesis here  

Explore more practices here: How to meditate

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