Ego is the physical embodiment of your consciousness as we discussed in the previous blog entry. It is born with you and dies with you. It is born with a single instinct – the survival instinct! But the ego does not know where the limits of that survival instinct are. What constitutes survival and what is a step beyond. The ego has a very important role in your life. One of self-preservation. It is hard wired into your system. It constantly attempts to break that barrier. You are the one who has to set the boundaries and the parameters under which it will operate. An ego allowed to run free will create misery for you and others around you. Too much ego and you get arrogance and self-righteousness. Too little and you lose the will to live and perhaps the ability to make harsh decisions. A balance is essential. To achieve this balance, you will need to get to know yourself and separate your ego from who you really are. It will require perseverance and commitment.
Like a thief, ego lurks in the shadows and waits for opportunities. But if you are on guard the ego will not know where to hide.
How do you fight or hunt an enemy if you don’t know where to look for them? The answer is you can’t. To meet the ego you have to know where to find it. It makes an appearence often and you don’t have to wait long if you want to meet it. You don’t even need to be on full alert. Simply watchful. There are some well known places where it will appear. Here are some of them:
In all the examples above, you will meet the ego. At first you may not recognize it because your voices are fused together. Like a couple married for decades, you and your ego sound like one and behave like one. You have forgotten that you are in fact different. It takes conscious effort to separate yourself from the ego, but it can be done. Next time you are in a family setting or an office meeting and you want to show how much you know, or if someone compliments you… look out for your ego! It will be right there with you trying to infliuence your thoughts and make you feel a certain way. Wanting to establish your superiority by increasing your self-worth.
Here comes the moment of truth you have been waiting for. The single change that you can make which will transform your life is… Awareness! Wake up and become aware of the ego. That is it. Nothing more. Just know that the ego exists and learn where to spot it. The ego loves to hide. It confuses itself with who you really are. It needs to feel superior and rule your emotions and so it changes your perspective on everything. It is never about the situation or about you. It is about how the ego can feed and strengthen itself. What you have to do it is to bring the ego out into the open. Take the veil off and let it be recognized. If it can’t hide and it can’t run then it has no option but to stand up and be counted. The first step to humility.
A person who undergoes heart surgery does not feel the pain because they are not aware or in fact conscious. An anesthesiologist has given them a drug to knock them out so they don’t feel anything. Your ego, over a period of time, has the potential to do the same to you. You will become unaware and live life unconsciously, dominated and controlled by your ego. Wake up and take charge or your life again. Become aware. Acknowledge the ego and welcome it into your life.
Once you get to know your ego and become aware of it, you can become friends with it. You two know each other. But this is a new relationship because no one is hiding fromg the other. You are aware of each other. The thing to remember is that you are friends and must co-exist. It is not war! You can never defeat the ego and it will not die. Death of the ego means your death. Besides, you have no reason to kill it. Under control, the ego will serve you well. It will look after you. Every now and then it will test the boundaries. Just make sure that the ego is never in doubt about who is in charge.
Eckhart talks about the ego extensively in his book A New Earth.