The ego is our individualized identity and all the personalities, roles and abilities we build to create that identity. It is made up of our personal stories, fears, desires, emotions, thoughts and characteristics that form our outer persona. Although this persona is a social and psychological necessity that develops from earliest childhood throughout adulthood, most of us become completely identified with this image of ourselves and forget that within us lies the greater inner self.
Here I’ll explain more about the nature of ego, how to identify its negative effects on your life, then how to take back control and enjoy an ego-less life.
The Run away Ego
At the heart of our being we are all beautiful and unique expressions of the Divine. Our inner self remains untouched by the variances and impermanence of life. The trouble is we become convinced that the whole of who we are is this exterior persona. The fact is this persona is just the vehicle for the Self and, like a car left running without its driver, the ego can spin out of control in a multitude of destructive ways.
The runaway ego is what the Yoga Sutras instruct us to manage by cultivating more trust in the divine Self. When we speak of “taming the ego,” it is with the intention of putting the vehicle (physical self) back in service to its driver (inner self). Then, and only then, will we be able to clearly express our intended dharma, or purpose, for this life. Only when we reconnect with our wholeness will our deepest longings for love and peace be fulfilled.
Identifying the Ego
In order to do this effectively, we must be able to recognize who is in the driver’s seat of our life at any given moment. It is fairly easy to identify the ego, as it is usually the one running the show. It acts something like this:
- Comparing, judging, criticizing yourself or others
- Projecting, reacting, manipulating, instilling guilt
- Over-analyzing, worrying, self-doubting
- Feeling defensive and fearful
- Feeling separate and alone
- Chasing endless desires
Being mindful of the ego’s control could be the single factor that leads to your salvation.
Many people are asleep to the vice-like grip the ego has and fall victim to it because they are unaware of its influence. The ego thrives on dividing you from the wholeness of your authentic self and conspires to lure you into its ways. It is the splintered part of the soul serving to admonish you of your limitations.
The ego takes its power from identifying with the “I” of your being. Every time you affirm, “I am lazy”, “I am hopeless/incompetent”, etc., it reinforces its influence.
When this voice becomes overwhelming, it leads you further away from your soul nature. We are complete beings, embodied in the duality of light and dark “ Rwa Bhineda”. The ego, however, prefers to bring attention to the darkness by reminding us of the concealed self, replete with faults and vulnerabilities. However, this is not who we are but merely a snapshot of our being.
It seeks to be heard to ensure its survival, since focusing attention on your soul nature diminishes the ego.
Taking Back Control
The tiniest bit of introspection (svadhyaya) as part of our spiritual practice reveals a myriad of moments that the ego is fully in charge often out of control! In fact, all the ways in which we suffer are due to the ego’s strangle-hold on our consciousness.
However, if we get tired enough of the suffering caused by the ego, we can rise up to a higher awareness and live from our true essence. By enabling the greater inner Self to take over the management of our lives, we regain the innate peace, balance and ease that is our birth right. In order to oust the ego from the driver’s seat, we need compassionate awareness, self-forgiveness, and strength of will.
Begin by asking yourself, “Who am I really?” Then ask it again. Ask it as many times as it takes to get beyond your outer definitions, actions and roles played, and to the core essence of you. Mindfully witness the physical and mental events that constitute your life, all the sensory responses to stimuli that you cling to as all-important. Create a strong resolve (sankalpa) to direct your ego to the path and destination your inner being desires. Breathe deeply as you shed the layers of false personas and dive deep, connecting to the divine Self within.
The Authentic Self
Give up all bad qualities in you, banish the ego and develop the spirit of surrender. You will then experience Bliss
To find harmony, acknowledge your unconscious or suppressed thoughts and transform them into empowering thinks.
The solution to all impasses and suffering is not to kill ego or detach from negative emotions. We need ego to deal with the practical aspects of life, and all emotions are essential biological information that tells how body is responding to the interpretations we make about our circumstances.
To draw attention to your authentic self, realize that underneath your tangled story lies your core essence which is love and light. For the ego is merely a facade masquerading as a Venetian mask to conceal the real self.
Consider this, why do you identify with the egoic voice instead of the expression of the soul?
It might remind us of people who criticize us, in contrast to caring parents. Naturally, we are attracted to the negative to justify our self-esteem. To transform the voice of the ego, become conscious of your limiting self-talk and examine your hurt and pain for what it actually is a smoke screen.
Undertake this by going into silence which allows you to connect with the stillness of the inner self. Relaxation and Meditation practice is an effective means to connect with your soul, because it drowns out the mental chatter in place of connecting with your authentic self.
The authentic self will never lead you to believe that you have anything to defend, prove, or be puffed up about, because your true identity is not determined by what your ego or the world has to say about you
The Principle Of Wholeness
Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment
There is a vast undercurrent of longing to be noticed within. This pure awareness is known when you shift your attention away from incessant thoughts and focus on the stillness.
The clue to developing a relationship with this aspect of our being is to turn down the narrative of the egoism.
We shouldn’t try to destroy the ego, rather integrate it into the wholeness of our being so we are not a servant to it.
What we let go of is our ego-identification. Our ego functions and ego personality become less stressed, defensive, and constricted; ego-identification is no longer experienced as the centre of who we are.
Sometimes thinking about fear is the call of our soul to reconnect with our inner. Therefore, sometimes fear is a sign that directs us to silence within. So when that debilitating thought arises, just pay attention through pure awareness.