“Ego” is a Latin word meaning “I.” We use it today to refer to one of the many selves we have, a self that’s constructed of thoughts, which is not permanent, and whose survival all our efforts are bent towards.
The purpose of life is to know ourself, but the self that we know is the soul, also called the Atman by Hindus and the Christ by Christians.
This same Self is itself an offspring, part, spark (these words are all metaphorical) of the Supreme Self. Jesus characterized it as a relationship between the Son and the Father. The Self, Atman or Christ is the Father individuated.
The Self is said to reside in the spiritual heart or hridayam. But the ego resides only in our thoughts. Life is a progressive unveiling of the “I” that we are, moving from no consciousness of self at all, to self-consciousness, to awareness of the soul/Self, to awareness of the Supreme Self/God.
We leapfrog over one less adequate sense of self to another more adequate sense, and then to a more adequate sense than that. We do so by realization. We realize the more umbrageous sense of the Self that we are until we at last “become” that One Self of all. I say “become” because we always were that One Self. We just didn’t know it.
When we disappear as a separate Self and are reunited with the Father or Parabrahman, (1) we’ve achieved the goal of life.
We have a permanent interest in the self that we have and are. Whatever is “I” is what holds our attention, lifetime after lifetime. The depth of our knowledge will vary but the object of our knowledge – the self at whatever level we conceive of it at any moment in time – remains the same.
We often speak of a “false grid” of beliefs that characterize Third Dimensionality and a life determined by the ego. What are some of those false beliefs? If I had my choice of the top three, I’d say separation, survival, and scarcity.
We think that we’re separate beings but it turns out that we’re all One. This sense of separation sets us up for the errors we commit out of believing the next two concepts.
The second concept is survival. We think that this separate being that we are won’t survive death and so we try to extend our lives in any way we can. We focus our attention on seeing that this being and everything it identifies with (that is, “me” and “mine”) survives. It identifies itself with our body, family, house, car, job, etc.
But there’s really no need to ensure the survival of this being. We’re eternal – always were, are, and will be. We never die although we doff this body as we would a suit of clothes.
The third concept is scarcity. We think that everything in our world is scarce and that, as separate beings trying to survive, we must compete for scarce resources. In fact, in the higher dimensions where we’re headed, everything is infinitely plentiful and created by thought. There’s no lack and no scarcity. And I imagine there would be no scarcity here either if we but changed our way of seeing things.
The separative ego accomplishes survival in the midst of perceived scarcity by engaging in the self-serving bias. That way of being magnifies the self and minimizes others, glorifies itself and detracts from others. It attributes all successes to itself and all failures to others. It embraces all victories and disavows responsibility for all losses.
It judges and dominates others and avoids judgment and domination of itself. It blames others and sidesteps blame of itself.
It builds around the being a constructed self or mask, sells its performances to others, and seeks validation. It manages its image by such strategies as dressing for success, looking out for number one, talking it up, etc.
It creates a story about itself, bending history to the needs of the moment and rehearsing its story wherever possible until the details are polished and arranged to give the desired impression of success, victory, influence, etc.
The ego lives at the peripheries of life. It traffics in extremes, drama, and histrionics.
The Self lives in the centre, in the middle, in the heart and has no truck or trade with extremes, drama, or histrionics.
One who lives in the center is usually characterized by balance, serenity, joy and the other divine qualities.
One who lives on the peripheries and in the extremes usually forfeits these qualities but usually isn’t seeking them anyways. The person living on the peripheries and in the extremes is usually seeking money, sensual gratification, and influence.
The ego tends to be selfish; the Self tends to be selfless. When we hear someone blowing their own horn, boasting about their accomplishments, puffing themselves, it usually means that they see themselves as this body, together with its thoughts and feelings, and probably nothing else.
To do so is to take an empirical-materialist view of life that only what we can touch, see, hear and feel is real. Such a view is not enough to allow us to realize our Self and therefore not enough to achieve the purpose of life.
It’s up to us as lightworkers and starseeds to go beyond the ego, with its self-serving bias. It’s up to us to recognize when we’re in the grip of the ego or serving its need for survival. To do so is not an easy thing. Most people do actually believe that they are this body, its senses, and its mind and nothing else. And so long as they do so, they’re concerned with survival.
But that’s the challenge of the times nevertheless – to move beyond the narrow view and to focus more and more deeply on the heart, the centre, the soul. The challenge is also to live by what the Buddha called the Middle Way of balance and moderation.
There has never been a better time to accomplish these spiritual goals in life than now. Never has it been easier. Never has so much conspired to assure our success in these efforts.
We have to recognize the call of the ego, the cry of the limited, constructed self and set it aside in preference to the heart’s most distinct call, which is love.
(1) Parabrahman is what Christians call the Godhead. It’s the transcendental Void. But beyond any knowable notions of God, I’m using the word here to mean whatever That is.