Haumai or Ego (Conceptualised Self)
We are born dazzled and confused without a sense of self or conventions within a soup of social and cultural structures. Interaction with parents, family and education quickly enable the development of a sense of self. This normally starts with a label, or your name, education and previously society helped mould our identities, however, in the day of 24/7 news and information world, our sense of self is greatly influenced by the relentless bombardment of information!
We are gradually conditioned into always seeking pleasure whilst avoiding any form of suffering or pain. We develop our self (ego) into a defensive structure in response to any form of affliction we may encounter, physical, mental or emotional. When we encounter any from of suffering we retreat into various patterns of avoidance and seek comfort which over a short period of time result in our defensive self or identity (ego).
As our entrenched patterns of behaviour become habitual, they create a cocoon like structure around us, which on the surface cuts us from suffering (or we perceive that is what it will do), however, it also prevents us from experiencing the world and more importantly our selves. We unconsciously start to believe and identify with these patterns of behaviour as “me”, and assume they represent some permanent fixed identity.
The “collective” of our thoughts, emotions, intentions, memories, intellect give rise to a sense of self, Haumai ( “I”-am). Haumai is a specifically unique concept of individuation and may be viewed in two ways, in the cosmic context; it stands for the principle of individuation. At the level of an individual, it stands for referencing-self, or the ‘me’ experience
Haumai or ‘me” self-centeredness, the personality system, the belief in one's individual existence, is the basis of all thought, emotions and intention identification and is responsible for the false veil between our self and experience of Existence.
Haumai as our inherent worldview determines our world for us. It is not considered our true-self but a reflective self. This Haumai becomes one’s very personality and the centre of all strivings. It is this Haumai which brings about the sense of duality by creating a distinction between 'I' and 'non-I', subject and object. It is Haumai which separates one from the totality of life and consciousness, giving us the feeling of apartness in place of cosmic oneness. Haumai is not necessarily formed by as a single big fixed 'I' but through a multitude of small 'I's, each one of which at any given moment claims one’s total consciousness. Thus Haumai or the multiplicity of 'I's changes with feelings, thoughts, and moods, with the last thought, feeling or mood forming our most recent ego self-reference.
Our created sense of self through repetitive patterns starts to crave and grasp for something to “hold” or attach itself onto that seems permanent. This craving towards a suffering free permanence gives rise to attachments, which give rise to craving for more pleasure from the attachments turns to greed, unfulfilled greed gives away to emotions of anger and fear, and to avoid these unpleasant emotional states, the ego lusts for other sources of sensory pleasures, thus forming new attachments and the cyclic patterns of behaviour continue causing us ongoing unhappiness and pain.
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