Another process Yogananda reviewed was the evolution of the ego self. What we might call the concept of self or the level of identification. First thing to note is that he describes our person as being 3-fold. Physical, astral, and causal, topped by the soul. I tend to avoid some of these terms as they’ve since become rather abused.
Recently I wrote about the 7 Purushas or subtle bodies. In that model, his astral body is similar to the vital/emotional body & lower mind. His Causal similar to the higher mind body. And soul, the Chaitya. In either case, these are not really separate things but rather gradations of resolution.
He speaks of the I-ness identified with objects and the body as the “physical ego“. It would be deeply involved in sense perceptions, especially physicality.
When our sense of I-ness becomes more identified with the “subtle instruments of perception” and knowledge in the astral body, it becomes an “astral ego.” A clearer sense of being but one that may be deluded. This is when our sense of self is more caught up in our thoughts and/or feelings and our interpretation of our experiences, than with our body.
Or we could be gradually tuning in more to the subtler experience, disengaging from surface identification. This is a shifting more into mind. A more “pure ego” we could say. (ego is fundamentally a mind construct)
When our sense of self or I-ness is solely through “pure intuitive wisdom”, it is the “discriminating ego“. The identification with the intellect and intuition.
In its highest form, we become identified with the “divine ego” or soul. The individualized sense of unlimited being. A person who knows their true identity as spirit. From this experience the witness or observer unfolds and the ground is ready for awakening.
This is an interesting perspective on the process I had not considered before. Note that this is not about how people experience the world but what they are identified with. A jock for example may be very physical but identify more with his intuition. It’s the second part that reveals the level of ego functioning. What they identify with as “me.” If you try to apply this to yourself, you may find it shifts around some, depending on the quality of your awareness at any given moment.
Those who have read this blog for awhile will be familiar with an idea I refer to jokingly as the “3 Am-Egos.” This is not the same as the above. This describes more what follows. The sense of “I” is dissolving into a sense of “am” on the way to “is-ness”, pure being.
The three ego-amnesses are:
1) the idea that we’re separate
2) the emotional drivers of same
3) the core identity (fear based)
This is more a process after waking where the layers of the “I-ness” are dissolved, at least in the sense of a me. You’ll notice they run in a somewhat reverse order to ego identification – mind, emotions, then identity. When the identity ends, the division between “inside” and “outside” ends and the unity waking can occur.
The sense of “I” now no longer identifies with a sense of person. One “has” a person but now associates with their higher nature, what might be called the cosmic I. The one I that is inclusive of all. From there, the identification becomes with the divine. One becomes the One. Oh, what a one-derful be-ing… 😉