Ego, Emotions, and Identity: the Person

Ego, Emotions, and Identity: the Person

In a number of posts here, I talk about the process of awakening. The gradual clearing and increasing refinement of perception that eventually allows us to see through the layers of illusion of mind and become what we already are. In posts like Transformation, I talk about the cyclic nature of growth as described by various teachers.

This cycle takes place within the broader direction of growth into reality. There are many ways to describe the process, like waking from Vasishta’s 7 layers of delusion or Genpo’s 5 stages or Maharishi’s 7 states.

I tend to favour the last as it best matches what I’ve seen, but Genpo adds what some call the soul awakening. This is certainly a valid milestone. And the intermediate steps are certainly of surrender. It’s also worth observing that each persons experience of the process will be unique and may not at first seem to ‘fit’ the framework, as Suzanne Segal certainly exemplified. It is never what we expect as it’s not about mind.

For this post though, I want to focus on the similarity of the layers of experience. The 3 milestones I will cover:
1) First or cosmic awakening, shifting from person to Self
2) Opening heart or divine surrender, awakening to being
3) Second or unity awakening into Oneness

In the first awakening, the mental idea of being a separate self, often called the ego, falls away. In the second cycle, the ‘crust’ on the heart falls away and it blossoms. In the second waking, the core identity falls away.

The core identity is the driver of the emotions/energy that in turn drives and sustains the ego-mind’s concepts and shadow story, it’s beliefs about the world. Because one arises from the other, they have a similar modus operandi and similar way of falling away. For example, the ego falls away when we become Self, but much of it’s supporting structure of related constructs often remains, trying to resurrect itself. I’ve referred to this as “ego shrapnel”. Adyashanti talks about minds attempts to return.

As the dramas arise and are seen, they fall away in the light of awareness. So a further process of clearing. Along the way there, often before awakening, the emotional underpinnings that give the energy to support the construct begin to be seen more clearly. We are able to witness the dramas in action, how we react to what arises. And we begin to be able to choose, to respond differently or not at all. Then to simply allow the experience. This process continues at increasingly refined values until the divine begins to cut through. Then we can blow the literal crust or shell on the heart, allowing it to open.

This increasing openness to what is, coupled with clearing of the old stories and dramas means the clouds start to really clear. What has been deeply sub-conscious, the core identity begins to be sensed, then seen. This is a purely fear based grip, holding the sense of separateness. Holding us from Oneness. As the core identity is seen and allowed, it falls away. Then the peripheral grips are seen and cleared, much as the ego shrapnel before, but more subtle and loud. (laughs) These are things like a deep need to know or to control or be seen or complete. While quiet, they often have had a profound impact on our life. They are often our core motivators to act, think, and feel. The clearing feels like one is being emptied out but what remains is fullness.

The process of clearing is similar throughout. Growing awareness, clearer perception, seeing and allowing what comes up, letting the feeling be experienced as it is, releasing.  Seeing and allowing.

The similar layers are basically the same intent, expressed through gut, heart, and mind. A comparison chart is of course a simplification as they are so closely intertwined, but it is illustrative.

Ego Drama Identity
concepts emotions core grips
Story Drama Need (unconscious)
belief energy, driver fear
mental resistance emotional holding gripping
knot crust fear / holding
expression energy intention

The unexpected thing for many is discovering that the “person” they have believed themselves to be for a very, very long time is a construct, built completely on fear. It is a surprise because for most people, it has hidden this from us as it knows that if it’s seen, it’s over. Who they really are is in many ways the opposite. More curious still is that the process is designed this way. In order to step into the new, we have to step out of the old. Dissolution is necessary for growth. But we resist what is, push against the flow. Then suffering arises like physical pain, a signal that something is wrong. When we resist the experience, we suffer. When we find a way to be OK with what is, the experience can complete and we can move on.

This is the message of suffering. That it’s time to stop and look. Time to see what is. Seeing it as it is is the end of it.

Last Updated on April 10, 2014 by

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  7. Davidya

    Note that later, it becomes more clear that the person remains after awakening but in a more mature form, without the separation and dramas.

    The story without it’s grip plays on to complete the life.

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  12. Tomer


    Just discovered your blog through your comments in Tom Stine’s “no control” post.
    I feel a great sense of humility, clarity and down-to-earthness coming from you, much like Adyashanti’s style, which I love.

    Thanks for that 🙂

  13. Davidya

    Hi Tomer
    I enjoy Adyashanti’s style myself. On a scale though, you’ll find that some minimize concepts of process and stages, like Gangaji. Adyashanti talks about them but in a more generalized way, kind of middle of the scale. And I sit at the other end, going into many details of the unfolding, exploring old Sanskrit references, and so forth. Different temperaments and traditions. Each speaks to different kinds of people. You’ll also find I explore some things a little past what I’ve heard Adya talk about.

    I miss Tom’s posts. He and Takuin and I had some great discussions.

    Thanks for the feedback!

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