Recently, I realized how frequently I throw around the terms identity, ego, and mind without clarifying exactly what I mean. So here are some reflections inspired by my current practice with Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Emergence Process:
IDENTITY – who we know/believe ourselves to be.
Some aspects of identity are more obvious than others. On the one hand, I identify as a mother, an intuitive, and a healthy person. On the other hand, my identity often reveals hidden dimensions to which it tightly clings, such as being someone who doesn’t get manicures and someone who rents but doesn’t own.
Whether aspects of identity are positive or negative, identity is inherently limiting when it comes to dealing with the whole range of human experience and desires. Identity is locked in – it keeps us psychologically stable – so it struggles with emotional and personal incongruities as well as sudden or extreme changes in circumstances.
EGO – the psychological construct motivated to protect our physical body as well as our identity.
Egos are generally thought of as self-important or inflated, but an ego is equally invested in confirming the negative facets of a person’s identity as in the positive . When I look at another intuitive and think “I’m better than she is”, that’s my ego. But it’s also my ego when I think: “I’ll never be as successful as she is.” Whenever judging and evaluation is going on – in relation to others or to an internal standard – you can be assured that’s your ego.
MIND – the voice for the ego and the identity.
The mind is preoccupied with strategy and time. Voicing the concerns of my ego, it will tell me I need to do a better job, hurry up or make more money in a language uniquely my own. Similarly, it produces endless ideas to enhance my business, improve my children’s lives, and work on my marriage. Simply put, the mind provides incessant chatter all day long.
And yet, through practices such as mindfulness, one-pointed meditation, or Hubbard’s Emergence process, the mind can be trained to be more of a useful servant and less of an anxiety-producing, slave-driving taskmaster.
To be able to engage in the Emergence process, I’ve had to call on my personal experience that there is more to my existence than identity/ego/mind . And I’ve had to call on new reserves of courage to consider that not only am I NOT my identity/ego/mind, but that I have to let go of their safe, familiar and stabilizing influences in order to experience real transformation and evolution – in order to experience who I really am.
Do you know yourself to be someone beyond identity, ego or mind? Who would that be?