The Illusion of Separateness

moment "These barriers we erect to protect ourselves from the fear of feeling pain are really what cause us to suffer. It isn't the pain itself, it's these barriers we erect and then we are left with this enormous sense of separation and isolation. My favorite definition of ego is the illusion of separateness. It is an illusion, but it's the illusion we all carry around with us that I'm here and you're there. And when pain comes, that separateness gets very, very strong. Just notice. There's this sense of your self that gets much stronger. Then there's this sense of resistance. Or just a sense of No, I don't want it to be like this! That's the barriers. They just come up. Usually they come up in the form of blaming other people or blaming ourselves or there's a lot of talking that goes on, but the basic thing is that we feel this as so painful. So all the teachings agree at this one point: it's all about how to dissolve the barriers."

~ Pema Chödrön, from This Moment is the Perfect Teacher: Ten Buddhist Teachings on Cultivating Inner Strength and Compassion