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Ego Identity

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 influences of genetics, childhood circumstances, and conditioning, and is a sense of self that we believe to be the only valid perspective for who we are – our personality. This mindset is repeatedly reinforced by society at large, and is rarely contested. The ego, however, is just a social mask, a persona, and is not a complete understanding of who you truly are as a human being. It's like a role you are playing in response to life and cultural circumstances.

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, or personality 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 your True Nature. Learning about and understanding 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. 
~ Mooji

The ego thinks it gains something by getting attention—it wants to validate itself. It wants to be visible because then it feels real, so it looks for attention to make itself experience visibility. 

In this way ego has created a story, and the attention it receives enables the idea that you are that ego, that you are the one seeking attention. Then mistaken identity happens! See how this game works?

~ Jac O'Keeffe

Identification with a body is 
The birth of the person, 
The individual. 
The personality then acts 
To protect the body from 
That which is 
Other than itself. 
When this false identification is 
Seen through, 
That which one truly is 
Manifests and shines.
~ Wu Hsin


We have been brought up to identify ourselves with just the ego, and so we ignore and are unaware of the vast, vast extent of our being. People who by various methods become fully aware of their cosmic consciousness have what is called a mystical experience. They discover that the real deep, deep self - that which you really are fundamentally and forever - is the whole of being. All that there is, that's you.

~ Alan Watts

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'.
~ Unmani

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.”
~ Adyashanti


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.
~ Mooji

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.

~ Neelam

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

~ Kirtana

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.'

~ Mooji

When you really see that a self image 

is just made up and believed to be true

and what the person is always chewing on 

just keeps the image alive

Without a self image

nothing can stick to you

What a relief

Then you really know that nothing has to

be different to be better

To have no self image

is to find yourSelf. 

Stuart Schwartz

It is nothing but the personalization of the impersonal Consciousness as individual identity, that constitutes the infamous 'ignorance', from which liberation is sought.

And liberation, or true knowledge, is the realization that this identity is merely an illusion, a temporary aberration, like the shadow of a passing cloud.

~ Ramesh Balsekar


Inner realization is a process of shedding, of losing what one takes oneself to be, to ultimately become what one is, without need for any external support, not even one’s mind. This description is not metaphorical; one actually experiences the disappearance of great realms of one’s identity. As one goes deeper and deeper, one realizes that one is shedding concepts that one had taken to be absolute truths. 

~ A.H. Almaas


You, your body mind, and the world that you see are all part of the same virtual reality . . . You—the real you—is formless consciousness, and once you identify with that, you see every other identity you had is provisional. Whether it’s husband or father, or son, or wife . . . all these are provisional identities that have a birth and a death, and they keep transforming, they’re not real. . . . The only absolute identity you have is infinite, formless, inconceivable being that morphs itself into any reality based on its constructs.

~ Deepak Chopra

It is the tendency of the ego to grab hold of something, a value, a story, an opinion, that it can use to reconsolidate an identity for you. You may see that every single thought you can entertain only serves to perpetuate the personal “I.” The most subtle of all thoughts is the concept of “I,” and from there ego is born.”

~ Jac O'Keeffe


By identifying with a particular name that belongs to a particular body and mind, the self begins the process of creating a separate identity. Add in a complex jumble of ideas, beliefs, and opinions, along with some selective and often painful memories with which to create a past to identify with, as well as the raw emotional energy to hold it all together, and before you know it, you’ve got a very convincing—though divided—self.

~ Adyashanti


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