When I was a teenager attending school in Sweden, I had a teacher who performed a reading experiment with my class. She claimed that one can test a person’s ability to read by how many times they move their eyes while reading a line in a book.
Many of us were criticized in our childhood, unfavorably compared to a sibling, or bullied at school, which created a stressful childhood. As adults, these experiences now contribute to making lifestyle and career choices that lead to further stress. The reason why is quite evident: we have convinced ourselves that finding acceptance and love are linked with stressful circumstances.
The egoic mind, subconsciously, looks for ways to be loved. Since we spend so much time with our parents and our siblings in those early years, we take on traits similar to theirs in an attempt to gain their love and acceptance. To hide our insecurity and shame, we create a false self that the ego assumes will be accepted and approved. We shape ourselves into whomever we think we must be to earn love.
Our identification with the ego began when we were children. We were born into a family with a last name, we were given a first name, then placed in a race and gender category, and distinguished by height, hair and eye color, and a plethora of other distinguishable physical features.
The word I (along with its close relatives, me, my, and mine) is not only a simple pronoun that we learn as children, but it is also central to what keeps us trapped in our heads. Learning and mastering I begins early in life. Born with an innate sense of union with our mother, and maybe even an awareness of the divine within us, it doesn’t take long before we forget the oneness that we share.