Who am I? Who are you? How we answer this question reveals to us where we are on our journey.
I side with those who either believe or know that our souls are on a journey from a limited self identity to an expanded Self Identity. From an awareness of a self contained within a body, to an Awareness of a Self without perceivable limits.
A limited self identity holds that I am a man/woman/boy/girl/intersex. I am a student/worker/homemaker. I am what I do or what I have or what I like. I am my emotions. I am angry. I am my need – hungry, lonely, sad.
This essential limited self identity allows us to function on planet earth. It is also called the ego.
The first part of life is devoted to strengthening, securing and perfecting the ego. Our growth, pleasure and safety will be curtailed if we do not. And, as the masters teach, you have to have an ego to let go of the ego.
Carl Jung, arguably the greatest of psychoanalysts, framed this discussion when he wrote:
“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward, and letting go of it.”
Before we discuss what we might find upon realizing an expanded Self identity, let’s examine a very interesting period of growth from the healthy and worldly adult ego to the stage where the adult ego gives way to the expanded Self.
The healthy and worldly adult ego has learned:
- To abide by rules – don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, keep your word, pay your bills, save and grow.
- To live according to right and wrong, good and bad. It uses judgment to keep everything and everyone identified.
- Independence and self-reliance are virtues.
- One’s value is determined by the reactions and beliefs of others.
- Love is primarily about what one gets from what one gives love to.
- Defense prevents attack.
- One takes credit for one’s achievements.
- One believes that the more we do, the more we get.
- There is never enough.
- One sees one’s own mind projected on to what one believes is an independent world.
- One always feels separate and most of the time it is not conscious.
- The ego believes that it is the center of the universe.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this state of development. Just as there is nothing wrong with the classes one is studying in high school. It is just that there are more expanded and fulfilling states of learning available as one progresses.
Towards the second half of the ego’s life, as our sense of self, our identity, shifts to identifying itself with an unbounded Self, with Wholeness, life is changing. In the twilight of the attachment to the egoic sense of self what journeyers in this stage report is that more and more:
- We love as an expression of unconditional giving more than we love the enjoyment of what we get in return for loving.
- We find judging people more difficult and accepting people as they are more of our hearts desire.
- Rules as a basis for action is giving way to being authentically and powerfully directed from within.
- We begin to recognize a power, a force acting from within that we know is not our ego. We may call it by many different names but we are learning to trust its Goodness and are awed by this Power, this Love.
- We feel at peace more often with what is.
- There is a growing sense of connection to all things.
- There is a growing awareness that we did not create ourselves.
And then, one day, which we seem to have no direct responsibility for or control over, something happens. It is said to be as natural as any other phase of growth. Our awareness shifts. We cease to identify ourself by our littleness, our history. And we know ourSelf to be the bigness…Being ItSelf.
We are told that the adult ego is still there – even its foibles and its limitations. But, it is not what we identify as us. And we observe it. But now it doesn’t direct our behavior. Now it doesn’t run the show. It is just one more thing to love and observe, like the body that the ego is housed in.
And the day will come when peace is unbreakable
Love is beyond wildest imagination
Kindness has replaced competition
Clarity has no meaning because confusion doesn’t exist
Hand holding never ends, even with that which has no hands.
And the day will come when there was no other day
And a whole new life has begun.