DAY 1: THE IDENTIFICATION

 

Today we are going to concentrate on understanding and identifying the ego, as we move through the following days we’ll dive deep into what it means to become aware of it and how to let go of the resistance to then start a process of expansion. When we start to understand in depth about our ego, it’s going to be easier to recognize it in others too, therefore creating a huge impact on our relationships, the situations we are going through, our careers, our family dynamics. This is an ongoing process, an invitation to start going within. Have in mind that when we start “unveiling” a concept, going deeper will probably feel messy, ungrounded and confusing at times. This is because you are bringing awareness to what has always been there but was blocked, suppressed or denied, it doesn’t mean you are creating more of it. You are just uncovering, bringing light in. This is why this work requires courage, patience, compassion and tenderness, think of it as if you hold the hand of someone you love deeply, walking this journey with them with support and love. And please, don’t take everything I say as 100% the truth, here or in any spiritual teachings as a matter of fact, what I want is for you to develop the tool, the practice. Reflect on it, get curious, create your own inner process, and go at your own pace. The work is not linear, we are simply awakening parts of you that know and recognize this concept, so be gentle, be consistent, be open.

Now, let’s get some perspective:

 

But first, who are we?

We are a physical body (the self) of certain size, shape, color, and nationality. This physical body has a role and a very defined personality that we have been constructing throughout our whole life, since birth. Being that we are parents, a son, daughter, accountant, dancer, makes good coffee, a great writer, an anxious person, etc. We've been creating dynamics, specific emotional vibrations in the body, stories and narratives - creating the “me and my story”. So let’s say someone who has a profound sense of fear and insecurity within their body because of their experience and upbringing, this person will have actions, thoughts, and other emotions according to this inclination, limiting itself to this part of the experience because it's what it knows, producing a life where fear and insecurity will be the common pattern and will be the bottom of all circumstances, because it’s the perspective which the self comes from. The same old PATTERN. It’s all it knows and identifies with. Eckhart Tolle explains, the word IDENTIFICATION is derived from the Latin word “idem”, meaning “same” and the Latin word “facere”, which means “to make”. So when I identify with something, I “make it the same”. The same as what? The same as I. I endow it with a sense of self, and so it becomes part of my “identity”. One of the most basic levels of identification is with things: my house, my job, my clothes and then my emotions, my past, my opinions, my story and my experiences. I try to find myself in things/experiences but never quite make it and end up losing myself in them.

Ok, we get that part.

And then, there’s a whole other level within us. Our soul, our highest Self, however, you might call it, it’s the part that actually animates the body - it’s the ever-existing, ever-conscious presence in us. It’s our Being, our true nature.

In between, there’s the mind. Here’s where it gets tricky. The mind and our thoughts represent this layer or veil in between the very palpable where it's easier to see and between the touch of the body and the soul, that we can’t see, but we can feel the energy constantly when we are aware. 

The thing is that we live our lives very attached and completely identify with this physical body, with the mind, the thoughts and the emotions. Most of us, know there is a soul, there’s a connection somewhere but we are out of touch or completely blocked, making it really hard to access it.So as life unfolds, we are facing circumstances, situations, our own struggles as this “little body”, the self, this part of us that is completely taken over by the mind, the thoughts and the emotions, our whole perspective is through the veil without much awareness of what is really going on behind it, without questioning, "Who am I really?"

And to talk about ego is important to go a little deeper in understanding the levels of consciousness in us to know where the ego “hangs out”. We have a spectrum of levels in our mind:

The conscious level is our usual state while awake. The conscious level takes in information from the world around us, then organizes it, analyzes it, determines a response and get things done on the material plane. Conscious behavior is awake, energetic and usually outwardly directed. 

The subconscious level holds all of our habits and memories, as well as the feelings associated with those memories. Much of our personality and self-image comes from the subconscious mind, which stores and guides our likes and dislikes, actions, habits, and desires. It’s a state of unawareness, unwillingness to change, self-preoccupation and avoidance of effort and problems. It’s on the level where the EGO has the “power”, thriving because of its unaware nature.

The superconscious level is our connection with our higher Self, we all felt this level throughout glimpses where there was a feeling of flow, peace, love, calm inwardly and uplifting. There’s a sense of trust and freedom, associated with creativity, intuition, and understanding. In reality, this level is the only level there is, but because of the veil or filter of the other 2 levels, it gets “blocked” making it hard to access. 

All these levels are happening at the same time, all the time. It’s very subtle. We want to understand where we are standing, so then we can recognize where the ego is standing to then be able to move away from it.

 

And, what is the ego?

The ego, according to the definition of Paramhansa Yogananda “is the soul identified with the body”

 


The Box

Let’s think of the ego as the keeper of the box we live in. This box, which limits us, the Self, is enforced by the ego who wants to keep things the way they are, wants to enforce our limitation and contraction. There is no expansion, no growth, no risks. It keeps the self small, feeding off what it knows, its position, the stories, beliefs, and narratives that have been defining its existence. The ego prefers to maintain the walls up, "protecting” the self from any possible harm or threat, the ego prefers to maintain the separation. Deep down all that the ego is wanting is for the self to “survive”. When the ego perceives the interest or the attempt to connect within, with our Highest Self, with our soul, it will feel agitated, it will find excuses and justifications to impose its positions. It will rely on its own methods to keep us unaware.This box is not true to reality, as much as we think/believe/act as it is, it’s the product of the identification with the self, with the mind. It’s an illusion. To avoid stepping into the unknown of the present moment, to avoid letting go of old narratives, to release the power of our subconscious state, to connect with our expansion, with the infinite of our soul. In this process, we keep ourselves small, limited, contracted, fearful, living in the memories of the past and the projections of the future, and that’s when the ego thrives.

 


What is the purpose of the ego?

To keep the illusion of the self strong and alive, the ego is born when we are born so all it's doing is making sure we survive in this physical body, the idea of non existence is very confusing and threatening to the ego, because it doesn’t belong to the part of us that is this continuous infinite consciousness, the soul, the Highest Self. In this belief that one is separate from the soul, from consciousness and from others, giving space for feelings of fear, greed, desire, resistance, attachment, guilt, pride, envy and insecurity we’ll explore further in the next days. It's important to note that the ego is not an enemy or that we need to go in war with it, all we need to know where we are standing to work with it, to expand from it.


Practice

This week and for the following, pay attention to the labels/identifications you use in your life. The questions below are going to guide you to investigate further, to start opening up and slowly bring down the walls of THE BOX. For today, I suggest that you journal before your guided meditation practice. For the following weeks, you can use these questions  maybe before bed to look back on how your day was and what you've noticed, to create an inventory and to get more familiar. You can pick a specific situation, emotion, challenge to work with and/ or you can just use it more broadly.

Journal / Write Down:

- How do you constantly label the people around you (the closest ones and the distant ones)? Their personality and their actions.

- Can you recognize why you do this?

- How do you constantly label yourself, in your personality and actions?

- Can you recognize why you do this?

 

Guided Meditation

 
Mari Chin