All identification with the external is a giveaway of your essence.
Identity giveaway begins with social comparisons and peaks with social imitation.
The word “identity” comes from the Latin word idem, which means “same.” Identity is built through identification with the external, with what you are not. We determine our identities by comparing ourselves to “not-ourselves” and thereby try to determine who we are. We tend to think along the lines of “I am like this or that” or “I am like so-and-so or that-and-such.” Therein lies the problem.
You aren’t like anything or anybody else, even if you are similar. Similarity isn’t sameness. No one is the same as you. Number 1.0000001 is very, very close to one, but it still isn’t a true one. Only one is one. And only you are you. There is no one like you. You are not an almost-you, or a kinda-you, or a sorta-you. You are one of a kind, fully and uniquely you! When we identify (equate) ourselves with the external, with what is not us, we ignore the very uniqueness that makes us different.
Recognize that uniqueness is beyond comparison. Recognize that you are beyond comparison. Recognize that as long as you define what you are by what you are not, you are exchanging your uniqueness and oneness for similarity. And, in so doing, you are giving away your identity and losing sight of your essential, unique self. Identification with the external is an identity giveaway.
Identity giveaway, just like identity theft, is a loss of self.
Adapted from Lotus Effect (Pavel Somov, 2010)
Thus, form binds.
Ego is form, an informational structure, an info-form.
Thus, ego binds.
You are not form, you are that which is in the process of formation.
What is that?
A life-force, conscious matter.
To drop ego, drop form.
Drop your view of self.
Self-esteem, self-worth, self-concept – drop all that, if only for a moment.
Just like tools in a tool belt, these mind-forms help you out but also drag you down.
Drop your self-view, let go of your favorite identity
Detox yourself from the info-forms that you are not.
Neti it out (“I am not this, not that!”)
Mind is formed awareness, crystallized awareness, conditioned awareness.
Awareness is formlessness, fluidity, freedom.
And notice the undifferentiated, the formless field (pool) of energetic awareness that you are.
This is the womb of all human potentialities, the source of your living spontaneity, the space of relaxed bliss.
This is your home, your natural state, your primordial baseline.
There is nothing to do but to merely return to your essential self-less Self now and then.
More in Lotus Effect/Vedic Psychology : www.pavelsomov.com
Mind is a living, evolving, self-correcting, self-editing, self-serving text of survival.
What you say to yourself matters. And what you don’t say to yourself matters too.
But, as important as this self-narrative is, we are not it: we are not this mind.
This mind, this narrative is but writing on the ever-changing water of consciousness.
Neti, neti – meaning: not this, not this.
That is the Vedic Psychology 101. When you get this, much changes. Almost too much.
Here’s Swami Bhaktipada on this point and then a word or two from yours truly:
“I am this body.” This is the greatest mistake of all, the mistake underlying all other mistakes. We are not these bodies. This perception is the first in self-realization and is the basis of all yoga. […] It is this false identification that brings about the miseries of birth, old age, disease, and death. “You are not that body,” yogis have taught their students since time immemorial.
In Lotus Effect, a book of Vedic self-discovery through informational detox of false selves, I argued the same: this idea – the idea that “I am not this body” – is a door at the end of what you thought was a dead-end, a beginning of fearlessness.
This body that you take for mani-pedi – you are not it.
This body you take to the gym to work out – you are not it.
Even the eyes you are reading this with – you can live without them too; so you are not these eyes either.
That’s Vedic Psychology 101.
Vedic Psychology 201 begins with the question: “If not this body, then who am I?”
To graduate, skip to 301: leave the “Who am I?” question unanswered.
Related: Lotus Effect: Shedding Suffering & Rediscovering Your Essential Self (Somov, 2010)
But we are not things.
When you walk into a river, you bump against a current as if this current were a thing. This current is always there – it was there yesterday when you went in for a swim and it is there today when you go in for a swim. But a current is not a thing. A current is a process not a fixity. And so are we. We are not things, we are… autopoietic currents. We are… processes. We are… presence-in-progress… am-ness-in-progress…
In fact, there are no “things” per se. Even what we consider to be “things” are not immutable, unchanging objects. Even “things” are ever-dynamic currents of molecular, atomic, subatomic change. We only objectify these processes as “things” because we are unable to visually detect their ever morphing nature.
The Universe is a fluid (dynamic) Oneness. And so are you…
Stewart White makes a good point (among so many!) in the Unobstructed Universe:
Sometimes it is necessary to take away from a man everything he holds dear before, in despair, he will sit down alone to find that which cannot be taken away from him, that which, despite all, endures and lives within his consciousness.
I call this process of stripping every-thing away “identity detox.” But whatever the name, notice the things that you are not so as to understand the process that you are.
related: Lotus Effect: Shedding Suffering and Rediscovering Your Essential Self (Somov, 2010)
Ego is not an anatomical structure. It’s not something that you will see on an X-ray. Ego is an informational structure. That’s what the term ego actually means: it is a Latinized translation of “das Ich,” which is German for “the I.” “The I” is “the information” that you have about you.
The ego-based view of the self is as unstable as a table on three legs. There are three issues with ego we need to examine, and they all start with the letter I. “The I” (ego) balances on identification with impermanent information. Let’s take a closer look.
Ego is Information
Ego is a collection of self-descriptions, just a bunch of words written down on the mirror of your consciousness. Let’s say I point at the moon with my index finger. Is my finger the moon that I am pointing at? Of course not. Now ponder this: are you the information that you have about you or are you that which this information is about? Are you a self-description or that which you are describing?
Ego is Identification (with the External)
Identification is a process of pointing at something external, at something outside of you, and equating yourself with that. We’ve already touched on that earlier in the chapter. Identifying yourself with what you are not is absurd. Identifying yourself with something that you are not is like pointing one finger at yourself and the other finger at something else and then claiming that you are pointing at the same thing. The idea that you = this or that you = that is like shooting two arrows in two opposite directions and claiming that they are going to hit the same target.
Ego is Impermanence (of Form)
Self-esteem, self-worth, self-view are various ego forms, various forms of information that we have about ourselves. Ego is information about our form, not about our essence. Forms change. “How” you are at any given point isn’t fixed—it’s in constant flux. When we identify with how we are, we are identifying with the fleeting, with the impermanent, with the transient. States of mind, …
People talk about seeing the glass as half full (optimism) or half empty (pessimism). What about seeing glass as is (realism)?
Is the glass half full or half empty? Neither. The glass just is. It has nothing to do with ether the quality or quantity of what is “inside” it. The contents of the glass are not inside it: from the perspective of the glass itself “its” contents are outside it and therefore are not its own, not of the glass, the “contents” of the glass have nothing to do with glass. The glass is always just what it is.
Same goes for a mind that knows itself: we are not our informational contents, we are not what passes through us. We are not our optimism. We are not our pessimism. We are not what we think, feel, sense. Neti, neti – not this, not that.
related: Lotus Effect: Shedding Suffering
(I know it’s a strange word. Is that even a word? It is right now. After all, language is at our service.)
If you weren’t easily wounded, you wouldn’t be sensitive. Stones don’t feel which is why they don’t cry. I am glad you are not a stone. I am glad you feel. I am glad you feel intensely. Why? Because there is a lot to feel. And to feel intensely is to live intensely. I hope you too are glad that you are sensitive. But I doubt you are. Many see sensitivity as a bad thing. Rollo May didn’t when he said: “Anxiety is the shadow of intelligence.” He might have as well said: “Sensitivity is the shadow intelligence.” Stones don’t feel. They are dumb. I am glad you aren’t.
And yet, you might object, wound-ability is a vulnerability, a liability. It is, indeed, if you don’t know how to heal. But if you know how to heal, sensitivity stops being a problem. It used to take me a long time to heal (from ego wounds). Then I got better about it. By the time I figured out the “lotus effect” way of shedding informational suffering, I’d heal just as fast as I’d get wounded. Wound-ability stopped being a problem but the intelligence that comes with it remained.
This is important: psychological sovereignty isn’t invulnerability, it’s heal-ability (ability to heal fast in a self-sustaining manner), to shed dirt like the self-cleaning lotus does. Point is: psychological sovereignty isn’t about high fences and rigid boundaries to avoid damage and trespassing, but about reasonably permeable boundaries and effective self-repair.
Heal-ability? Yes, another strange word. Make language serve you instead of being at its service. Heal yourself with it.
Point is: mind wastes itself, leaving absolutely nothing of permanence to hold onto.
The real conservation question is: what remains?
Look into this cosmic mystery that you are.
more: Lotus Effect