The Boundary Around the Body that Defines What Each one of us is as a Person Distinct From Other Persons
By the 1970’s, object relations theories were all the rage in psychiatric circles. Margaret Mahler, in particular, added to our view. Object relations theory became a living reality for us, giving us a comprehensive, unparalleled understanding of the stages of development of the ego. We have yet to find another system that expresses this in such a specific and complete way. We now had a map to help us understand the ego in its development, which gave us a language for our experience. For example, the tension on his left side that Hameed had experienced in our session revealed what we call the ego line. The stiffness of this line is a tension pattern in the body that is the ego boundary in repose. It gets activated as boundary issues are stimulated. It is experienced by those who are dealing with the individuation process at the level of essence. As we understood the ego line more, it opened to become the boundary around the body that defines what each one of us is as a person distinct from other persons: "I am so-and-so, with such-and-such characteristics, who is distinguishable from you.”
The Jeweled Path, pg. 112
The Ego Line is the Physical Manifestation of the Ego Structure that Gives the Personality the Sense of Being an Autonomous Person
I wake up in the morning with a slight tension at the left shoulder. There is discomfort with the tension. Simply being aware of the tension seems to influence it by making it expand. It becomes a line of tension along the left side of the chest, enfolded by a soft cushiony sensation. This line is a manifestation of the ego-self that I call the “ego-line.” It usually accompanies a specific psychic contraction that corresponds to the presence of the individuality of ego. In other words, the ego-line is the physical manifestation of the ego structure that gives the personality or ego-self the sense of being a separate individual, an autonomous person. The line of tension is a direct indication that the sense of being an individual on the ego level is a contraction of consciousness. This separate individuality of ego is formed or defined mostly by the separating boundaries, both bodily and psychological. The soft cushiony sensation around the line of tension turns out to be a manifestation of consciousness that relates to a false sense of being a person. This makes sense, for the ego-line represents the person of ego, which is not an essential form, but imitates the essential form of the personal essence. As I recognize its falseness, it begins slowly to flake off, falling off the line of tension like dead skin falling off a mummy.