Identity

Western psychologists usually assume that our natural and optimal identity is "egoic," implying a sense of self inextricably linked to the body and separate from other people and things. Asian psychologies suggest that our egoic identity is unnecessarily constricted, resulting in egocentricity, selfishness, and suffering. They also suggest that a more mature, expansive identity is possible and that this claim is directly testable by anyone willing to cultivate perceptual sensitivity via meditative-Yogic practices.

Asian psychologies also suggest that existential and psychoanalytic claims about the impossibility of resolving psy-chodynamic conflicts and existential givens such as finitude, meaning, and suffering are indeed correct at the egoic level. Existentialists might be said to have rediscovered part of the Buddha's first Noble Truth: that unsatisfactoriness is part of life and (for the untrained mind) is accompanied by angst. However, the Buddha went further, and in the remaining three Noble Truths pointed to a crucial cause of suffering (addiction or craving) and the means for escaping it.

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