WHAT IS THE EGO? SHOULD IT BE DESTROYED?
by Aletheia Luna
And furthermore, what can you learn about your own ego?
WHAT IS THE EGO? The ego is basically your identity, or who you think you are.
Your ego is usually constructed of a name, a personality, and a story. Within this personal story is a collection of memories, beliefs, impressions and sensations about who “you are,” where “you came from,” what “you’re good and bad at,” what “you’ve experienced,” and on, and on, and on, ad infinitum.
THE EGO AND DUALITY
The ego is a veil between what you think you are and what you actually are. You live under the illusion of the mind, totally unaware that you are directed by a great big load of stories! — Isira Sananda
Your ego was created, and is currently maintained, by the belief that you are “separate” from others and life itself. In other words, your ego believes that you are firmly HERE, and other people are firmly THERE. You have a body, life, and personality that is distinctly different from others. Therefore, according to the ego, you are not like other people. You are different. Or that’s what your thoughts tell you anyway.
It is the product of the mind. In duality, we essentially “split” or divide life.
Examples of duality include filtering life through the lenses of “right/wrong,” “good/bad,” “pretty/ugly,” “holy/sinful,” “love/hate” etc. As a product of living in duality, we create untold amounts of suffering for ourselves because we are no longer open to life. Instead, our lives become centered around judgement, condemnation, and fear. As a result, we alienate and destroy others who we perceive of as being “bad,” “wrong,” and “sinful” to protect our ideas of what is “right” and “holy.”
The more deeply we are entrenched in duality, the more we experience problems such as hatred, anger, depression, paranoia, anxiety and perversion. Not only do we sever ourselves from others, but we are cut off from ourselves as well. Anything within us that we perceive of as being “evil/bad/wrong/sinful” we suppress, repress and deny the existence of. As a result of this repressed energy, our Shadow Selves grow more and more twisted, destructive and depraved. Finally, this intense suffering is expressed in our relationships and the world at large.
Our physical world is an expression of our collective internal torment. Our lives are an expression of our inner emptiness. Simply looking at the violence, murder, poverty, greed, bigotry, mental illness and environmental degradation shows us how profoundly lost we are as a race. We are lost because we have lost touch with the truth of who we are.
THE FOLLY OF DEMONIZING THE EGO
In light of this discovery, it is very easy to start believing that the ego is bad. In fact, some spiritual teachers teach that the ego needs to be “destroyed.” But here’s the thing: this is just another trick of the mind! I’ve heard so many people in the spiritual community condemn the ego and speak of it with such great resentment. However, the belief that our egos are “evil” or need to be “killed/destroyed” is just a reflection of the mind stuck in duality!
The ego isn’t “good” or “bad,” it simply IS. We need to realize that the ego is simply a tool. The ego exists as a biological survival mechanism. The ego also exists as a vehicle for our spiritual growth; for us to become conscious of our own strength, love, and oneness. The ego is a doorway through which we can return to our True Nature.
WHY THE EGO ISN’T YOU
You may have heard before the expression: “the ego is an illusion.” What does this mean?
The ego is an illusion, and therefore isn’t really “you,” because it is always changing. In other words, how can anything within you that is subject to birth, change, and decay really be you?
Let’s try an experiment. Write down on a notepad or word document who “you” think you are. You can always stop reading and return back to reading this article after you’ve finished.
Take a break. Really. Do the experiment now.
Now that you’ve done the experiment, read over your words. Likely, you would have written something along the lines of, “I am Jane Doe. I’m a wife, mother, and friend. I’m a fighter, a dreamer, and a spiritual seeker. I am 38 years old, have three children and am a skilled artist.”
See this description of you? This is your main personal story; the backdrop of your life, of what you think you are.
The ego is an illusion because it is simply that: a story — a story created in the mind.
Let’s use some self-inquiry and apply these questions to your statement:
WHAT IS THAT PRESENCE?
What has been there to witness everything that has happened in your life? What never changes? What is the most fundamental core of who we are?
Explore this question for a few moments and you’ll realise that it’s:
Consciousness is the fabric of all things. In fact, even science has shown that everything at its core is energy vibrating at different levels. In our human experience, Presence, Consciousness or Spirit manifests itself as the energy that composes every form.
It is hard to really put a word to this experience, as language is so limited. The easiest way to experience this Presence that is you, and always has been you, is through meditation. Meditation, or quieting the mind, helps you to become simply aware of your thoughts, and the space beneath those thoughts. That space is You.
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