What is ego?

What is ego?  Is the ego bad?  Does one need to rid oneself of their ego?

The Ego is the part of you that wants to be unique.

“…The part of ourselves that feels separate from everything else.  It is the part of ourselves that struggles and fears.  Ego is not necessarily something bad, nor does it refer only to the aggressive, conceited part of ourselves.  Ego is that part of the self that wants to be unique, unchanging, solid.  Ego Struggles against the reality in an attempt to preserve itself.  It is so afraid of looking at the vast, mysterious, untamed, eternal universe that it tries like hell to convince itself and everyone else that it is in control…”

– From the “Seeker’s Guide” by Elizabeth Lesser

I remember feeling my ego become very concerned at some new ideas that I was trying to integrate.

The truth that I learned is that I am not my past or the story of me.

What?!?!  What am I then?

What is ego:  The Story of ME!

My past and the story of me seemed like it was me. So my ego resisted very strongly at letting this idea change.  The good news here is that when I did manage to let the complete identification with my story go, the truth turned out to be much better…why you might ask?

The truth is better because, now I don’t identify myself with a story…I can still use and access my past experience, knowledge, information…

…but those things don’t define me, or limit me in anyway…those things are more like a tool that I have…but not WHAT I AM.

The truth is better because, this story will be over when I die anyway…I might as well get a jump on the truth and accept that my story was never me anyway…the part of me that goes on (consciousness) may or may not want to keep any of that story anyway.

This was tough…when I thought of death and “after death” in the past, I used to think, as long as I am still “right here behind by eyes” then I am the same…

…it scared me to think that the story of “wonderful ME” would be over…but I would still have a point of view and at least a sense of being…knowing that “I am” in some form (or lacking any form at all sometimes) forever…that turns out to be better than what the ego offers…

Facing the unknown truth is wonderful in so many ways…one of the first steps and probably one of the most difficult was accepting that I am not my story.

Probably one of my most beneficial, and perhaps painful realizations was that I AM NOT my life story…

…in our culture today, we are pretty much convinced that we are our life story…our accumulated experiences and memories make up everything that we are…

…I guess this is why “death” seems so scaring…I don’t fear death any more…because I have come to realize that I am not that story…

What is ego —  The false self

…I like to think of myself primarily as consciousness…a focal point of consciousness peering through my pinhole view from the un-manifest realm into this world of form…for a little while…then I will turn my gaze elsewhere…

…my true identity is without form…and eternal…it is also sinless, and perfect without needs, or improvement…

Sure while I am on earth, in a body, I have needs, wants and desires, but these are temporary…nothing to get really worked up about.

Trust me, it was not easy for me to let go of the idea that I WAS my story and my past…but once I was able to realize that my consciousness still would be…forever….then my past, and my sometimes sad story (sometimes happy too)…was just that…a story….

…a story told to me by me about me…the wonderfully sad, happy, quirky, unique and oh so very special ME…

…So, now I know that I AM consciousness…eternal…outside time/space…completely without need…not a story about a boy that was born in Michigan and helped his friend Scott with his paper route when it was about 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

What is ego —  A necessary part of evolution

The ego is not bad or good…it just is…and because it is, we must have needed it to get us here…or it’s all just a mistake…whichever you choose to believe…the fact is if you are being human…you have an ego.

I have an ego…my ego is just like your ego.  My ego is very sneaky and pretends he’s special and spiritual and WAY more conscious and aware than most people he meets…and doesn’t that just make him….UNIQUE!?!?

My ego also likes to be different and blaze my own trail sometimes…nothing wrong with that…

My ego loves to make people laugh and be the center of attention and gets jealous when it has to share the spot light with someone that might be more entertaining.

My point is, is everyone has an ego while being human…you need to practice some sort of awareness technique every day of your life just to stay on the path and to stay awake enough not to get sucked back into the dream…but we all do fall back to sleep…that’s why you hear the best teachers repeating to students “stay awake!”…

…because those teachers know that they still fall asleep…so they have built a system to remind them to wake up several times each day…through meditation, breathing, mindful awareness, exercise, reading…whatever works!!!

So, don’t feel like you need to destroy your ego (or anything)…you can learn to accept your ego…warts and all…and use it to help you teach others.

What is ego —  ”The you” you think you are

Another way to think of the ego is the “YOU” that “you THINK you are”.

People that are completely identified with form most of the time are operating at a highly unconscious state.  For all practical purposes those people think they ARE their egos, and so they pretty much are (even though the truth of them remains the same as you and me…it is hidden under so much “stuff”, the true self rarely sees the light of day).

We all go through this period, and I am no exception.  I have had several major awakenings, only to go back to sleep for years…and then wake up again…

…Part of my practice is to say “the truth is still true”…I don’t really know the truth…but I know that the real me is true…it is eternal and it does not change…no matter what…

…so regardless of how crappy any moment may be…I can take a deep breath and remind myself that “The truth is still true”…and that helps to chill me out and wake me up.

What is ego — The Voice in your Head

This is one of Eckhart Tolle’s favorite expressions…are you the voice in your head?  No that is most likely your ego…your true self is the listener, the stillness in which the voice speaks…

…most seekers of the truth come to realize that the voice in their head talks to much and really just gets in the way of helping you wake up…

…it is a lot like the constant drone of television or the radio…non stop HITS!

Almost all spiritual practice begins with learning to reduce the number of thoughts that you have during the any given moment and throughout the day…

…the idea being that the truth is quiet, silent and still and very much alive and trying to live a fulfilled life through you…most of your thoughts are getting in the way…

Each seeker has to create their own method of quieting the voice in your head…the ego won’t like this…but trust me, the truth is WAY better.

What is ego —  Unconsciousness

The most basic definition of the ego is when you are unconscious, your ego is operating…this is not necessary a bad, or undesirable occurrence…

…when you get really good at thing, you can do perform that activity “unconsciously”…

…problems arise, when we take our skills that have been tuned to the “unconscious competent” level for granted and start becoming unconscious of the miracle of life around us.

Driving for me falls in to a potential pitfall of totally unconscious behavior sometimes…diligence is required sometimes to relax into the moment and accept a traffic jam…or to be conscious enough to drive and avoid all the hazards that the situation calls for.

There are plenty of times, when you can get totally focused on an activity and be unconscious of your environment around you…I sometimes get into this “flow” state when I write, and time just seems to slip away…there is nothing wrong with this focused level of consciousness…

Another way of thinking about your ego and unconsciousness is the story of Jesus on the cross…

…Jesus knew that the people that were killing him didn’t know what they were doing…he said something like “forgive them, for they know not what they do”…”know not” here meaning…unaware or unconsciousness.

What is ego — Identification with Form

When you are identified with form you are identified with your ego.  Your ego makes the mistake of thinking that it NEEDS an endless about of stuff to prop it up and make it special…

Stuff can be a really cool job…or a horrible life situation, or a dreadful past…

…it could be identified with an addiction to pornography, drugs, TV or DVDs, the internet or countless other things…

…perhaps your ego is really identified in a role that you play in your life situation…mother, father, Colonel, Mayor, President, teacher…

…there is nothing wrong with doing those things, as long as you remember and  are aware that the roles that you play are not you…you are always a human being…and not a role…

…you can consciously choose to play a role and then stop and remember that you are a human playing a role…

We also identify with money in an unconscious way…if we have money…we are afraid to lose it in the future and won’t allow ourselves to be happy now with what we have…the ego will always try to get more money…

…if you don’t have money, then the ego will always be longing for something outside itself…money in this case, and won’t allow itself peace and happiness until it gets some money…

…even when the ego gets the money…it will turn the situation around and be afraid to lose the money…

…if you are aware that money is around for a while and if you have it is ok to use it and enjoy it while it is around…but it is not you.  You can have money or not have money and be conscious of the fact that your money situation is NOT you…

Same goes for STUFF and this is linked to money sometimes as well.  I watched a DVD about credit card debt (“maxed out”)…there was a woman who lived alone in a huge house that was about to go into foreclosure…

…she had maxed out all of here credit cards, and still had a house full of plates and other collectibles that she was very much afraid of losing…

…obviously, she was completely identified with form…she could not possibly give up her plates and her house to try to live without debt…without her stuff…who would she be?  Without her sad story…who would she be?

…This is a great example of investing a large part of our identities in what we have.

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