Personal identity, as the term is commonly used in spiritual literature, refers to our familiar or ordinary sense of self in which we consider our body, mind, and feelings as belonging to (a psychic structure we call) “me.” In ego psychology, depth psychology, and transpersonal psychology this self referencing is sometimes called ego-identity. Ego-identity develops in reaction to the conditions of childhood circumstances and conditioning, and is a sense of self that we believe to be the only valid perspective for who we are. This mindset is repeatedly reinforced by society at large, and is rarely contested.
Consider for a moment your use of the “I” word. It’s used habitually every day, even every waking hour, whether in conversation with oneself or others. Notice the ownership, or fundamental narcissism attached to each use of the word “I.” Look at how you react to any compliment or praise; and similarly how you react to any criticism or blame. Such reactions either support or challenge your ego-identity.
Spiritual teachings explain that the ego-identified viewpoint of self doesn’t fully accord with truth or reality, and one result is suffering. Ego-identity also obscures the more expansive experience of knowing True Nature. Learning about, understanding and noticing the ego-identity can be an important step toward self-realization.
The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.
~ Eckhart Tolle
All suffering is caused by the ego, which is personal identification with the body, mind and conditioning.
Identification with a body is
The birth of the person,
The personality then acts
To protect the body from
That which is
Other than itself.
When this false identification is
That which one truly is
Manifests and shines.
~ Wu Hsin
If it is recognized that you are not inside a body, then it is very difficult to maintain a belief in a separate identity. The body is very much part of the identity of 'me'. But if you see that the body is simply an appearance happening right now, just as the chair is an appearance happening right now, it is only thought which claims the body as 'mine' or 'me'.
To cease to identify yourself with the mind is all that is required.
We have so long identified ourselves with the not-Self
that we find it difficult to regard ourselves as the Self.
Giving up this identification with the not-Self
is all that is meant by Self-realization.
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
In spiritual circles, the ego gets a bad rap. We think we need to kill it, dissolve it, or get rid of it in order to be free.
This is a misunderstanding that will keep you from experiencing the deepest peace that you long for.
The ego is another word for the separate self. It’s the psychological sense of ourselves as a person in the world with a given identity. This identity is a collection of stories, memories, beliefs, desires, fears, judgments, and feelings that we believe to be true about ourselves.
And when we believe this identity to be true, it becomes the distorted veil through which we view ourselves, other people, and the world.
~ Gail Brenner
As long as you identify with a “you”
who is either awake or not awake,
you are still dreaming.
Awakening is awakening from the dream
of a separate you into simply being Awakeness.”
When you shift your identity from your self-image to your true Self, you will find happiness that no one can take away from you.
~ Deepak Chopra
there is only one thing that can be done, which is to disidentify themselves with the ego, by realizing its unreality, and by becoming aware of their eternal identity with pure being.
~ Wei Wu Wei
Until you are free of the drug [of self-identification] ,
all your religions and sciences, prayers and yogas
are of no use to you,
for, based on a mistake, they strengthen it.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
The world is full of seekers whose identity is wrapped up in seeking wisdom, truth, or enlightenment. This is basically the same as seeking riches, beauty, fame, love, or recognition. The purpose of all of these identifications is to fill emptiness. But if you could look at the situation with complete sincerity, if you could just see what is really there without the props, you would give yourself a little chance of finding true intrinsic meaning.
~ A.H. Almaas
Metaphysical or super-relaxation consists in
freeing the human consciousness entirely from its identification with the physical body, money, possessions, name, fame, family,
country, the world, and the human race and its habits.
Metaphysical relaxation means disengaging your attention
by degrees from consciousness, subconsciousness,
the semi-superconscious state felt after meditation, and
Christ Consciousness; and in identifying yourself completely
with Cosmic Consciousness.
Metaphysical relaxation therefore consists in releasing consciousness from the delusion of duality and truly resting the mind
by keeping it identified with one's own real nature: unity with Spirit.
Man has hypnotized himself into thinking that he is a human being, whereas in reality he is one with God.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
In the beginning, some action takes place. You need to remind yourself not to identify with thoughts. There is a habit to be broken. You will be drawn to breaking it and it will break. In time, the unfolding of consciousness dissolves the magnetic pull to identify with thoughts, and then ever increasingly thoughts will pass by without your personal interest.
~ Jac O'Keeffe
It is not a matter of discovering new aspects of essence. It is a matter of letting go of the ego identity and living from the essence that is already present.
~ A.H. Almaas
Don't worry about the ego. Just know, you are not the ego.
The most important thing is to discover that it is watched,
which means: You cannot be it.
Therefore, don't identify with it.
Then it starves from lack of attention and soon falls away.
Awake awareness might seem like a new experience; however, it's not an altered state, a transcendent state, or even a meditative state. It's our innate, true nature that is always here. When we have shifted into awake awareness, we realize that ego-identification is actually the altered state. By recognizing awake awareness, we are dehypnotizing ourselves from the trance of ego-identification.
~ Loch Kelly
That’s what freedom is.
Just for a second, identification falls away and that which has always been present,
like a groundhog, comes up to say that a new life is here, spring is here,
freshness, aliveness, freedom.
~ Pamela Wilson
. . . we cannot maintain the familiar sense of ego identity and at the same time feel Essence as our nature. Armed with this insight, we have a precise way of understanding the extreme difficulty of attaining self-realization, since most individuals find it almost impossible to experience themselves, with equanimity, without their familiar sense of identity.
~ A.H. Almaas
When I say ‘awakening’ I mean a shift of a sense in which identity, which has been based on our body-mind experience, shifts into a greater sense of identity, grounded in the truth of who we really are. Initially, when we look at the body-mind we say that's ‘me’. That's a habitual point of reference. When awakening happens, that sense of identity shifts. Now instead of identifying with the body-mind, we begin to know the real ground, the real truth of who we are is our true nature.
Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.
~ Ram Dass
With each experience of letting go,
we loosen the grip of our finite and limited identity -
and in so doing, come closer to recognizing
our inseparability from That which is Infinite.
~ Metta Zetty
In order to free himself from identifying a man must be constantly on guard and be merciless with himself, that is, he must not be afraid of seeing all the subtle and hidden forms which identifying takes.
~ G. I. Gurdjieff
In every moment you only have one real choice:
to be aware of the Self or
to identify with the body and the mind.
~ Annamalai Swami
In a fortunate life,
comes a call to be free
From the cycle of bondage and misidentity,
to wake from the dream
and finally realize
the truth of one's being
before the body dies
So before the final scene is past,
see the screen on which it's cast.
See what's seeing this me and you.
And then you will see who...t
who you really are, who you really are
Who you really are, who we really are
When all the false self-identifications are thrown away, what remains is all-embracing love.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Nothing is wrong with the body.
Nothing is wrong with the mind.
Nothing is wrong with the heart.
But the ego identity!
This is where the 'man' is born.
Where he lives
and where he dies
in ignorance of his real being.
Remember inside your heart:
'I am the timeless Self.'