One of the subtler yet transformative aspects of the Privileged Environment is the encouragement "not to be a personality." Since we are conditioned to think who I am is my personality, this encouragement might feel impossible to implement. This is where the structure of the Privileged Environment is most beneficial, shining a light on the aspects of ego (a.k.a. "personality") that feel like "me."
Some years ago, after a Bridge Walk celebration in San Francisco, the monks and Visiting Monks were boarding the van that was transporting us back to the Monastery. It had been a jubilant day of African drumming, dancing, and other celebratory activities. As we quietly settled into the van, instructions were given to the group about the evening meal, facility breaks for the journey home, and other logistical matters. The group listened in silence and made Gassho to ask any relevant questions. Witnessing this, our van driver remarked with a mix of curiosity and admiration, "You people are so polite!" I saw in that instant what must have been a stark contrast between our group's behavior and that of other groups he may encounter. I project most groups boarding his van after a day like that would have been laughing, joking, jockeying for the best seat, asking when's dinner, or whatever banter people are conditioned to express given their particular personality. However, the guidelines of the Privileged Environment facilitate us to be together without ego sabotaging our interactions. We are supported to see ego rather than act out from that identification.
Everything we do/are as Sangha is intended to reveal what we are not so we can BE what we authentically are. None of the guidelines are about dictating behavior, rather they reflect where we are at any given moment. Are we identified with the personality or are we HERE? The Guide often says the reason this practice will never be more popular is because there is nothing in it for the ego. Yet for those of us who have the great, good fortune to have had surfeit of the unnecessary and unimportant, a structure that assists us to let go of ego personality is a godsend.