Ego erases the true sense of self and obscures the oneness within all beings. As Yoda says: ‘You must unlearn what you have learned’.
Sam Tabibzadeh(The Pontiac Tribune) – What is ego? Ego is identification with form. The identification is what you identify yourself with, whereas the form is structural, as in, the concept of unconsciously obscuring your true self with external things. Essentially, ego is the enhancement of one’s self through identification with physical entities, such as personal looks or bodies, materialistic objects, famous people, or through identification with mental entities, such as thought-streams or emotions. A mind that is manipulated by ego, can be referred to as an ‘egoic mind’. As you read this article, allow your mind to ‘surrender’ and explore the ‘here’ and ‘now’, rather than reading the information without awareness and eventually giving in to the need to be elsewhere. Reading with awareness will not only bring about greater understanding, but it will also help prepare you to let go of your ego, however large or small it may be.
Collective egos also exist – identification of one’s self with a group or movement. Unconsciousness of the ego is merely what fuels the never ending ego. The structure of the ego comes in the form of “I am“, “I have“, “I want“, “I am not enough“, and these words imply that you are identifying with something external to that of your soul. Moreover, the ego is always unsatisfied as “I want” is stronger than “I have“, leading people to seek happiness through identification, and consequently, suffering as a result of it.
Why? Because happiness is actually within you.
Acceptance of Suffering
When people identify themselves with something other than their inner being, suffering occurs. If somebody only sustains their image by taking countless photos of themselves, or by being completely reliant on their physical body, believing that these things are who they are, then what happens when they lose their physical looks and the body begins to get old? You guessed it. Grave suffering. Suffering usually strips away the ego (but only if you are aware that you are suffering), as usually, the individual is left with a sense of ‘nothingness’, only to find out that, that ‘nothingness’ is actually ‘oneness’. This occurs when the ego is not being fed. The light of ones true being, which for very long was deprived and not attended to, is finally revealed. Rays of positive energy radiate both inwards and outwards, radiating and resonating across across the surface and the depths of their being. There is no constant need to ‘be’ someone, you simply ‘be’. Change has happened.
The Deception of the Ego and Fear of Change
The ego plagues peoples minds, imposing false beliefs for them to follow without any realisation whatsoever. The mind and the soul are separate, yet the complex mind is able to bypass the voice within, to convince you that what you think is the truth. Most people follow the crowd, so this compulsive thought-pattern exists in the minds of the vast majority. This may not seem comforting to you, but if you let go of ego, you will soon realise that what other people think of you, does not define who you are, and even if your mind becomes ‘upset’ with another’s opinion of you, your soul still remains the same and could not care less. In actual fact, ‘letting go’ is far better than chasing imaginary things and manufacturing a false identity. However, although you have awakened, you should still be mindful of the ego at all times. In the case of awakening to the egoic mind, the ego may attempt to shift forms and magnify itself to make-out that you are more powerful than those who are still sleeping. Bearing this in mind, change is what will free your mind, there’s no doubt about it. You must be willing to change. Fear can be a big obstacle of letting go of the ego, so I recommend for you to take a watch of the video that is linked at the end of this article. Once you are able to push fear aside, you can undergo change, feeling grateful for the process that unwound all that you are not, leaving only all that is you. Blessed will you be, for the process of change.
The truth is that the ego is never satisfied with whatever identity it obtains and it always needs more, expressed by “I want” or “I am“. This attachment creates problems and solutions in the mind, which in turn, create more of these cycles. So if there isn’t a solution to satisfying the ego, then the ego itself is a problem. Haven’t you ever found yourself wanting more and more, even after you ‘have’ or ‘have done’ something? Whether it be purchasing clothes, taking a photo of yourself, or even identifying yourself with negative emotions. Yes, ego can be extremely crafty, it can react to the ego of others. For example, if another persons ego leads to excessive buying or gaining the latest technological products as soon as they are released, you may think without being aware: “everybody else has this, it’s not fair, why can’t I have it too“? This is self-pity, as you are deceived by who they really are, and so your own ego is doing anything it can to interlink your thoughts with your identification – to ‘stand out’. You may have even found your ego protecting itself by reacting in negative ways when people question why you are unhappy. The ego is very much like a helping hand that lifts you up out of a dark tunnel; you place your trust in it to begin with, only to find that you never get out of the tunnel, neither are you shown any light. This is because the ego cannot light-up the dark tunnel, all it can do is provide you with temporary relief while you are apparently being lifted out of the tunnel. Realise that you are not your thoughts or emotions. Only your soul can light-up the tunnel, and ironically, when you emit the light, you will find that you were never in a tunnel to begin with, but you were in a place of quietness of which you found your true self. You are the permanence of ‘being’ which overpowers the temporary relief that the ego offers.
The Transition to Stillness
This transition from ego to peace, however rough or smooth it may be, leads to the discovery of one’s true identity – a formless ‘being’, that shares energy with the universe. What happens when you rid things that you are attached to? You are left with “I” and “I am oneness“. The stillness within you, is your true self, your real identity. Being free of ego does not mean that you should not purchase objects, have favorite role models, neglect your looks or body, or not be a part of groups, movements, or organizations (do all of these things with complete awareness and contemplation). It simply means that you are aware that these ‘things’ are not who you really are. Fundamentally, you are the awareness, that is aware of the egoic mind (Eckhart Tolle said something very similar to this if I recall). You are able to create a space in between ego and ‘true-self’ so that they cannot merge to create a false illusion. You must surrender to who you are. And who you are, is far deeper than who people believe you to be, or even who you believe yourself to be. You are the contemporary eye, a third eye, that observes the universe as it is, in all beauty.
Ego Divides Us
Society is plagued with ego. In fact, the majority of people are trapped in their own illusions that they believe to be their realities. They look, but they cannot see. Their vision is clouded. This realisation may be the logical reason as to why the majority turn a blind eye to dilemmas around the world. “If it does not affect ME, then I don’t need to be concerned“. This is actually a form of identification, as “I” and “Me” are being used to enhance their own sense of self, considering themselves to be a part of a more ‘humane society’. This separates themselves from others across the globe, which in turn degrades the ‘other’ human beings. In reality, “If it does not affect ME, then I don’t need to be concerned” can be translated into, “I am selfish and do want to care about other human beings“. It may sound strange, but ego will do absolutely anything it can to make one’s identity far superior over another or ‘unique’ in any aspect. In this case, the ego is deceiving the person into believing that they cannot afford to show compassion towards others, as that would be energy wasted, which could otherwise be better spent on enhancing ‘self’. Ego creates ‘otherness’.
If people can accept that selfishness is one of many negative states, disguised as ego, then it will pave the way and lay down the stepping stones towards peace. Just like how a lie can trick a nation into believing it to be the truth and so going to war, the ego can trick the intuition, the voice within, into thinking that the ego IS the intuition. Intuition means allowing things to be, and morally doing what is right. So many people pledge allegiance and place trust in their government, refusing to question things while remaining obedient. We can view the ego very similarly to how the mainstream media conditions and controls the minds of the masses; people are controlled by falsehoods. Serving propaganda to a nation, whose people are individually entrapped and entangled in their own egoic minds, serves as a plausible explanation as to why our planet is currently in the situation that it is.
A Powerful Combination – Apathy and Ego
Apathy can be defined as ignorance, or lack of concern. Although apathy can be down to choice, it must be stressed that apathy has elements of ‘selfishness’ to it, which links in with the egoic mind, and directly feeds back into the apathetic mind. “I am not concerned about those people we are bombing overseas, they deserve it after all what they did to us“, is an extremely apathetic statement, that directly feeds back into the already conditioned mind, identifying oneself as ‘a higher life-form’ and more ‘humane’ than the ‘savages’ who are being bombed. Make no mistake, the ego utilises the apathy to provide unintelligent answers so it can rapidly return to constructing an image of ‘self’ – as long as the ego survives, ‘self’ is valued as much more important than anyone else.
The Conditioning of Society and Exploitation of Ego
Do you see how powerful the combination of apathy and ego is? Entire nations are controlled. Do you see why so many are not only unaware of who they really are, but are also unaware of what is happening in today’s world? Constantly identifying with things imprisons people and wastes energy, and what better way to rest other than to go home and switch on the TV? Individual egoic minds have formed a collective, competing against one another for the highest rank of “This is who I am“. People need to sustain their identification, without knowing that it can actually be sustained if they do not seek to sustain it. Being caught up with fortifying an insecure castle that keeps getting destroyed leaves no time for anything else other than that. Accepting that the castle has been destroyed and moving onwards from this destroyed castle will cause suffering, but it is a necessity. Moving off on a tangent, many activists who promote peace and question everything, are generally looked down upon – people cannot comprehend or accept them because they do not fit in with society. If unconscious, this can actually cause activists to start identifying themselves as ‘different’, which in turn, leads to bitterness to the majority of the population.
Simply put, the ego is the unknown flaw that is engraved deep in the human mind. In all due respect, ego can be seen a ‘collective illness’ in human beings. It is a heavy burden that most all of us have carried at some point in our lives.
Beyond Thinking Lies Awareness
Be mindful of your thoughts, for the ego mind operates in such a way that it can very easily shift forms, travelling undetected and taking up different disguises. For those of who are Star Wars fans, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s sentence: “Be mindful of your thoughts Anakin, they’ll betray you.“, provides a great insight as to how your thoughts can get the better of you if you are not aware of them. Anakin’s thoughts did betray him as he viewed himself as the superior: “Someday I will be the most powerful Jedi ever“. Although Anakin became very powerful, his true sense of self was completely distorted by his lust for power, which led him to turn to the dark side, to be known as ‘Darth Vader’. This analogy portrays great suffering, accompanied by no awareness that he is suffering. As a result, Anakin and countless others across the galaxy suffered, as the ego wants more and more. Remember that if suffering can be accepted, then lessons can be learnt. To eliminate this destructive ego, that firstly offers protection, but then eventually steers out of control, it is important to be mindful of your thoughts; to see your thoughts like clouds passing across the sky. Would you react to the clouds? No, you wouldn’t, so why should you react to thoughts?
The Ego That Remains Undetected
Thoughts are nothing more than events that are occurring in the mind. Understanding this grounds you in the present moment. Ego loathes mindfulness as it is not able to operate effectively, if at all, as it is wholly reliant on taking advantage of a mind that refuses to let go of its conditioned past or a mind that cannot stop over-thinking its future. ‘Letting go’ and becoming mindful will expand the capacity of the mind, enabling you to disassociate your identification with thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In spite of this, if you judge and labels others as ‘unconscious’, with an absence of mindfulness, you won’t be able to distinguish their true self from their actions and behaviour; you will be fooling yourself. You will be as unconscious as they are. You will not be aware that their true-self is buried underneath their false identifications, nor will you be aware that your own ego is at play.
Observing The Ego in Others
Be aware that your ego will attempt to strengthen itself by identifying yourself as superior than others who are not at the same level of consciousness as you are. A form of ‘otherness’ will be arise in ones mind, where the brain only knows of judgement and hatred, dimming the light of conciousness. This ‘otherness’ is what divides people apart. Isn’t someone’s ego separate from their true identity? Yes, of course it is! They are not aware of their thinking patterns, so their character is falsely portrayed. If you can come to terms with this, then you will be able to observe the ego in others, without taking it for face value, leading to a feeling of inner peace. You will feel compassion and empathy for those around you, instead of reacting to them, which would only reinforce their ego. Weren’t you once a victim of the ego mind? What a relief knowing that your family, friends, and even strangers, cannot help acting the way they are at this very moment in life. Through acknowledging this, you will always remember that thoughts, emotions, and feelings are separate from your being. As you help others, you help yourself. Choose to be kind. In essence, the ego is like a barrier that obstructs the flow of spirituality between human beings. If we can collectively pull down these barriers, mankind will become more open and intelligent. Remember that cleverness and intelligence are completely different. I’m sure you know some really bright people out there who are capable of gaining the highest results, yet are subdued by their ego?
Intelligence is when you are able to see the connectivity between all living things, being aware that you are thinking, and also thinking for yourself rather than following the crowd, who right now are running towards a the edge of a cliff. We cannot force people to change, for that would be wrong of us, but we can provide guidance and be a part of the global awakening. We need to change individually in order to collectively become ‘one’ and push aside our petty differences that separate us.
While the ego works tirelessly to feed itself, the soul can ‘be’ to embrace itself. Meditation is a great way to ‘let go’ of the world around you. Meditation is the practice of turning inwards to the force that lies within. It is a tool that every human being has the ability to do, yet so few practice it. Why is that? It’s probably because the ego races the brain, and that most of peoples views of meditation are distorted. The mind may interpret meditation as something that ‘weird people‘ do, or people who need ‘calming down‘, or ‘those who do not fit in’. You may have heard how people say “I’m too busy to meditate” or “I don’t need to meditate“. Firstly, there’s a quote by Ajahn Chah, that goes like this: “If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate.“, which is completely true. Furthermore, there’s an old zen saying, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour“. Believe it or not, meditation actually frees up more time for you because it enables you to see beyond your conditioning by using the contemplative eye, that is the eye of observation and awareness. It frees your mind to do plenty of other things. Your days will become more enjoyable. To respond to the second statement of “I don’t need to meditate“; meditation does not provide a need. Meditation is the art of returning to your true-self. There is no need involved in this. Arguably, one could argue that it takes more strength to meditate than it does to lift heavy weights in the gym. After all, it must take willpower and resilience to ‘be still’, and observe the mind without judgement, in such a frantic world. Don’t confuse ‘being still’, with sitting still. Sitting still means doing nothing, whereas ‘being still’ implies the withdrawal and retreat to the center of your soul. One more point that needs to be stressed is how the human brain perceives things. The mind cannot comprehend certain events or circumstances, so it will form its own picture, alienating those who do different things. This picture is generated on the basis of past events and experiences, all of which make up the ‘conditioned mind’. The ego in the mind makes people believe that some things in life should never be explored. This is a limitation. People are imprisoned by their thoughts. Nobody can tell you what meditation exactly is, nor what you will feel when doing it. You must do it yourself, before drawing a conclusion. If you cannot reach the peak of the mountain and see all of what surrounds you, then your opinion is invalid. To develop a better understanding, here are 4 best scientifically proven benefits of meditation.
Ego destroys the present moment. How do you let go of ego? Well, the answer lies within. You simply don’t. Being aware of the ego automatically dampens it down, slowing its momentum, and eventually destroying it. You can manually shift the gears in your brain from automatic ‘doing’ mode to conscious ‘being’ mode. That being said, don’t over-think ego. Be still. Be aware. The ego will get bored.. And eventually leave too. I bet you have all heard of the phrase ‘a need for a need’? A hidden dissatisfaction of some sort. You ‘want’ something yet you are confused as to what you ‘want’. Maybe this dissatisfaction arises as a result of neglecting the soul? Once the ego crumbles, your soul will be revealed. So what is the opposite of the ego? Peace. Wisdom. Love. Unity. All of these will arise. If you do not let go of ego, then life will be extremely difficult, and suffering may come (although that may be necessary for you to awaken to your true self). Realize that the present moment is all there ever is, even now, right now, this is a moment of your life that you should cherish. Smile! This realization will empower your inner being and nourish your soul with freedom and prosperity. Letting go of ego, learning to ground yourself in the ‘here’ and ‘now’, and turning inwards to the deepest-most-inner-depths of your soul, will ultimately, lead to inner peace, and provide a great sense of worth. What a great revelation it is to know that the happiness you had been ‘wanting’ for so long, is actually inside of you. Start appreciating everything in life, even the moments that you think are ‘little’, and don’t take anything for granted. Discover your indwelling spirit that lies within.
Fear tends to run alongside the Ego. Fear of change. Fear of what happens if the ego vanquishes. After all, you’ve lived with it for your entire life so far, haven’t you? Take a watch of the video below: (Click here for text version)
I highly recommend that you guys read: ‘A New Earth: Create a Better Life’ by Echkart Tolle. Reading that book will increase your awareness in everyday life and vastly open your mind, as well as helping you to let go of fear, replacing it with courage. Inspirational is not even the word! The universal awakening has begun. Namaste.