“The really ego less person is not humble at all. He is neither arrogant nor humble; he is simply himself.” ~Osho
“God = Man minus Ego” ~Sri Sathya Sai Baba
To function in the world we need ego.
Ego is your sense of individuality or awareness of the self.
In the psychological sense, the ego’s quality is self-organizing, mechanistic and neutral.
This simple awareness of self is required and serves a valuable purpose.
The subtle ego is with us in sleep and present even in higher states of consciousness.
With regards to the awakening human however, the word ego refers to the enemy within.
This dangerous or gross ego is the main obstacle to spiritual liberation.
Identification with the false self or illusional sense of ‘I’ limits and blocks our ability to realize the essential Godness that is our true heart within.
The Limited Self
Because ego’s greatest fear is its own death it is intensely vigilant for its survival.It seeks to protect itself by creating an illusion of its existence and separateness from your higher Self.
Looking at the shadowy sides of ego can mean gazing at the darkest regions of the human soul.
The base ego is self-infatuated and narcissistic. It is arrogant, exaggerated and self-important. Its main attribute is fear and attachment.
It judges and maintains strong opinions and beliefs. It sees itself as separate and superior, and it delights in its invulnerability.
When the ego is uncovered and seen for what it is, we come face to face with a monster that feeds on power, domination and control.
It only cares about itself and is willing to destroy anything that is true and good in order to remain in control and survive. There is no room for compassion, generosity or love. It is profane.
It has no interest in freedom. It feels victimized by life. It goes against anything that contradicts its self-created image.
The clever ego will fabricate anything for its survival and thrives on keeping you convinced that you are separate.
Ego is attached to the past, terrified of change and desires only to maintain the status quo. It lives only for itself. Its pattern is rigid, controlled, constrained and crystallized.
Ego is the social mask or self image that constantly seeks approval of others and does not want to be humiliated.
Ego needs to be the best, or part of the crowd, because everyone is doing it, or not doing it because it wishes to be separate.
Ego wants to be right and wants to have the last word.
Ego is what other people think of you.
The prideful ego believes:
- I am what I do
- I am what I have
- I am what others think of me
The Illusion of Separation
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the `Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein
All experience is by contrast.
How would we know light if there was no darkness?
If we never knew hate, how would we know love?
This play of opposites is transient and bound by time. The essential Self is independent, outside the field of opposites and is eternal.
Our ego desires separation so that we can know self by experiencing the opposite.
In reality, this separation of self from the other does not really exist. It is an illusion.
Ego desires to experience the joy of becoming whole again and reunite with higher Self.
Our suffering is when we don’t see this illusion and allow ego’s illusion to dictate our existence.
Blocks to Realization
Without spiritual understanding the notion of separateness begins early in life.
We grow up experiencing the pain of criticism, low self-esteem and loneliness.
Cumulative painful experiences of feeling apart or not fitting in tightens the ego’s grip on the psyche.
This false belief is reinforced by our culture.
This fear blocks our ability to see our highest Self and our sense of aloneness drives us to look for outward connection.
So we seek to achieve more, shop, compete, and for ways of looking younger.
If you identify with this false idea of yourself, you involuntarily join many in the world who believe that violence is the best way of ensuring your separateness and that the only course of action is to declare positions of superiority and hatred.
In order to remain in control the ego will fight to preserve its hold on even the most ardent spiritual warrior.
Seeing the truth of our real condition can remain obscured, masked by false-concepts and mental models that cloud the mind.
When craving and longing for truth are put to the test the ego will whine and cry and try to usurp our efforts.
The seeker must deeply desire liberation in a valiant effort to shatter the illusion.
Ego’s Need to be Special
The ego will not allow the notion that: “no one is special.”
The idea that some are more worthy than others denies equality in nature.
Your ego demands that you must be special. And our culture agrees with ego that there are special people and special circumstances.
Consequently, fear arises out of not being special and attachment to your idea of being special keeps you from realizing the oneness of your perfect highest Self.
Attachment to the idea of being special or superior acts as a barrier to the inevitable recognition of your sacred Self.
It blocks access to a deeper understanding of your true destiny and purpose.
Freedom from the power of the ego allows us to create our destiny with a higher intelligence and clarity.
You are eternal, pure joy, and sacred – but you are not special.
Have I Offended You?
I used to be easily offended.
I was at the mercy of my ego.
I had constructed rules and regulations that if crossed would deeply affect and hurt me. I took everything personally and everything bothered me.
I began to realize, it wasn’t the real me that was being offended, it was the idea of who I thought I was that was being offended.
When you finally accept yourself and learn to release the illusory idea of ego you are no longer offended by your fellow humans.
In fact you see your fellow humans in yourself.
You recognize the common divinity inherent in all beings and compassion and understanding become your abiding treasures.
Even in the realm of spiritual aspiration we can be fooled into believing that we are better than others.
We adopt the erroneous idea that those who are spiritual or religious are separate from those who are not chosen or saved.
Religious and cultural conditioning also promote the ideas of guilt and sin, further demanding that your ego keep you fearful and separate from your true higher nature.
The spiritual aspirant must check his spiritual ego when it comes to spiritual awakening, knowledge or realizations.
In reality, there is no one that is spiritually superior or inferior.
Your sacred Self is connected to the oneness of All That Is.
E – Edging
G – God
O – Out
Learning to Let Go: Managing the Ego
If we do not succeed in understanding and managing ego, it can rob us of the peacefulness and wholeness of life.
The seeker that is no longer bound by ego can fully let go and trust in a loving Universe.
She will experience liberation of consciousness, surrender, and suffer less.
Living with the awareness that our conditioned tendencies are merely learned responses to life and that we no longer need to struggle or suffer is true spiritual liberation.
Like successive falling dominoes, all experiences ratchet into place easily and effortlessly and we delight in the joy of our essential nature.
Breathe In Peace, Exhale Ego
Here is a great technique that can bring you to a level of increased mindfulness and help you release identification with false ego-based mind.
Simply be quiet and still, inhale through the nostrils while mentally reciting the word: Peace. Exhale through the mouth and mentally recite the word: Ego.
Doing this in times of stress or anxiety can bring peace into the body and clarity to the mind.
Top 11 Tools to Manage Ego and Bring Awareness into Being
- Use affirmation music or create personal positive daily affirmations to break habitual ego patterns.
- Learn to recognize the sacred Self. And be mindful of the inherent Divinity in others
- Be ruthlessly honest with yourself and make changes. Observe your ego, and smile.
- Live 100% in the moment. Notice what you are sensing in the body, thinking in the mind, and feeling with your emotions.
- Eliminate compulsive and obsessive thoughts, memories, regrets and remorse. Learn to meditate.
- Use mindfulness meditation to regularly soak up and become infused with silence.
- Volunteer. Giving time to help others is a quick way to get you out of your self.
- Rather than think, “What’s in it for me?” ask, “How can I help?”
- Be mindful. Be present. Watch yourself eat, how you relate to others, and the thoughts you allow into your sphere.
- Don’t take things personally. You are not the personality. At your core, you cannot be hurt.
- Let go of all beliefs. The things you have been taught about yourself are not true. Realize you are an individualized, unit of pure consciousness, divinity embodied and part of the ocean of existence. Suffering is how firmly you hold onto your beliefs. When things don’t go by the mental models you construct for yourself, you suffer.
Reprogramming the Ego
- Observe your ego reacting to an offense.
- Acknowledge the feeling.
- Analyze what triggers the feeling.
- Reprogram the feeling by introducing a new response like compassion or laughter.
- Release the feeling and be thankful for the growth opportunity.
- See the attacker as a part of the whole and realize they are merely individuals that are suffering.
- Adopt compassion through understanding and acceptance.
Bring Awareness into Being
When we connect with Source through silent mindfulness meditation we bring awareness into being.
In silence, we go beyond opposites and contradiction.
This awareness infuses all our actions and brings appropriate solutions for our highest good.
When the mind identifies with ego it cannot discern reality.
Killing the ego is like trying to catch the wind. Rather than suppress ego, simply observe and be aware of ego, then you begin to cleanse it.
Seek to bring so much awareness into your being through mindfulness meditation and mindfulness, ego cannot find a place to live.
Banish the Burden of Ego: Choose Higher Self – It’s Who You Really Are
If you become infatuated with yourself, realize that.
If you are afraid that your existence is threatened, realize that.
If you become sick of yourself and you would love to rid yourself of this burden, you are on the road to Self-discovery.
In mindfulness meditation, self curves back to look upon the Self.
We begin to identify with the unchanging aspect of our soul.
We begin to experience unification with life in a way that ego’s illusion couldn’t begin to comprehend.
We watch the changing aspect of the world and we enjoy it rather than resist it.
We no longer feel the need to seek because we experientially feel our connection with the Source of all creation.
Awakening to this Source reveals all possibilities, inspiration, creativity, understanding, laughter, joy, and the power of love.
Finding the courage to recognize and end the division between the false self and higher Self is your greatest gift to humanity and to the evolution of consciousness.
“Let the shadow of the ego be blinded by the light of your awareness.” ~ Ken LaDeroute
Photos by: Just.K, Hoja Viva, and Cannonsnapper