As a shrink I routinely interact within a system created based on the illusion of separateness. This specific system categorizes human personality in order to identify what is normal and what is not. Categories, like most other illusions, break things down into seemingly discrete clusters, pieces, or segments in order to help the mind bring meaning to its experiences. These conditioned categories foster resistance, judgement, and attachment. They serve only the mind and take us further from the truth about ourselves. They create a false and limiting sense of who we really are. Rather than helping us realize that our identity is the true nature of our spirit, that the mind, with its personality, is only a tool intended to help us process and communicate information, and that real growth and development can only occur through our spiritual connection with the universe; they prompt us to believe that our identity is determined by the mind, direct us to base perceptions, possibilities, and decisions on its limitations; and by doing so keep us trapped within these limitations. This is the equivalent of defining ourselves as our computer, and limiting ourselves to what it can do.
Like family homeostasis, the ego seeks to maintain an equilibrium based on its perceptions, issues, and defenses. The family fights to preserve the patterns it has established; whether functional or dysfunctional; and conspires to prevent its members from breaking free from them. Biological metabolic systems benefit from such built in regulatory processes, while social and spiritual systems are destroyed by them. In the family such patterns are often called traditions and are usually based on control, narcissism, or fear. When people want to differentiate from their family of origin, to individuate in order to find their own identity (separate from the family) and make themselves available for a healthy relationship; their family will usually attempt to pull them back into its system (literally, psychologically, or emotionally); often destroying relationships, opportunities, or growth potential. The family believes it is being protective, when in reality it is reinforcing its own insecurities at the expense of its loved ones. Similarly the ego struggles to maintain a steady state based on its perceptions, issues, and defenses. The ego is preoccupied with things like appearance, power, control, being liked, being accepted, being successful, and being right. Whether a person is relatively healthy or driven by unresolved ego issues; if they identify with their mind then their ego is their master. For example, if you base your sense of self worth on what others think of you, how beautiful, thin, or sexy you are; the clothes you wear; the car you drive; the number of friends you have on BaceBook; the number of Likes you get on your blog post; where or how you live; etc.; then your ego is your master and it will try to maintain a balance that keeps you feeling good based on such things. Your sense of self worth is temporary, situational, and determined by things external to you. If you try to make a positive change, your ego will try to pull you back into its grasp by generating fears of rejection, abandonment, failure, loss of control, etc. If you have unresolved ego issues (e.g. abandonment, inadequacy, or victimization), then such issues and their supporting defenses (e.g. people pleasing, being a know-it-all, or being a control freak) will make it harder to break free from your egoic mind. Such egoic homeostasis will try to return you to an equilibrium within which such ego needs are being met, and will fight to keep from losing its grip on your life. This entire egoic system is built upon the illusion of separateness. It prevents us from identifying and realizing our true nature, while trapping us within the range of its icy, lifeless stare.
Living under the illusion of separateness, within the limitations of the mind, keeps us stuck at a lower vibrational frequency. It reinforces our current developmental level while creating the illusion that we are evolving. What we are really doing is expanding the layers of complexity around the same general illusions. The increasing levels of depth and detail arising out of expanded categorical delineations (e.g. within science, technology, and engineering) are simply adding more layers of complexity on to existing levels of understanding and calling it development. In truth, they are barriers to its attainment. The mind is convinced that it is evolving, through the expansion of its illusion. More is built around it. People feel increasingly more comfortable, powerful, and successful. But in truth we are only strengthening our pre-existing level of development in the guise of growth and change. We are investing in an illusion. We are building bigger and more complex walls around our true nature, limiting its potential for rising above such illusion into the light of awakened consciousness. If we were experiencing ourselves as beings of lustrous energy, resplendent radiance shining throughout creation, communicating with loving wishes not words, interconnected and one with each other and the universe; then perhaps we would be evolving.
Since birth we have encountered experiences through which we determine what we believe to be true about life. We have also received instruction that conditioned our mind into structured thought processes (we started thinking in categories). These shared structures make it easier for us to exist in community at our current level of development. They also make it impossible for us to see beyond them. We learned about numbers, linguistic characters, and colors; and their rigid rules of application, combination, and interpretation; respectively. From these we learned how to read, write, count, perform mathematical equations, identify hues, and paint pictures. We also learned how to encapsulate our mind within a bubble of information, blinding us to the true nature of things. They offer only a few openings through which we see an extremely limited view, which we believe to be the entirety of life; rather than allowing us to see the limitless range of possibilities life offers. For example, when we are young, a rainbow shows us an infinite range of possible colors. There is no separation among them. As children we are then taught to separate and label a few basic colors. We think this way while growing up, and then these labels are what colors become to us. We quickly forget about the limitless range of colors in the rainbow, and focus only on the ones where there is a label.
Everyone Is Everything
Our identity is the true nature of our spirit. Our spirit is interconnected and one with the universe. Our identity is therefore that of the universe. The universe exists as conscious infinite light across limitless dimensions of coexisting possibilities. When, as human beings, we attain higher consciousness, the higher vibrational frequency of our awareness will overlap with the vibration of the universe. The degree to which we elevate our vibration will determine the degree to which we consciously interact with universal consciousness (and leave the limitations of the mind behind). Consequently, everyone is everything whether they realize it or not. Everyone holds all possibilities within them. Some things are more apparent, more easily learned, or more readily developed; but everyone can be everything. Separateness is an illusion. Categories create their limitations. If you believe in them, then you will become them.