All About Ego

San Miguel de Allende 1What is the Ego

The ego is one of those words that is thrown around in many different ways, and can have a different meaning depending on the context. Psychology speaks about the Ego and the Superego for example. In everyday conversation, we talk about ego as being equivalent to over inflated self-importance. However, in a spiritual growth context the meaning is specific and through understanding what the ego is and how it is formed we are better able to deal with it. We need to deal with it because ego prevents us from realizing our Unlimited Potential.

The Ego is the body of pretension

In spiritual growth, the ego is the body of pretension. The dictionary definition of pretension is “false claim.” The ego pretends it is something it is not. What the ego falsely claims to be is the Authentic Self. The ego does everything it can to mimic the Authentic Self. However, it is unable to do so. As the ego is false and the Authentic Self is real all the ego can do is to pretend it can create the same qualities as the Divine. So, for example, the ego tries to create dominion, a positive aspect, meaning to have command over one’s self and life, but instead is only successful at creating domination, which is oppressive control. The ego tries to create love but ends making co-dependence. Ego tries to create self-empowerment (true personal power is always accompanied by humility) but instead creates power and control at the expense of others. The ego tries to create fulfillment and contentment in life, but is only able to create temporary happiness which soon wanes and turns into discontent.

The Ego can only pretend to have qualities of the Divine Self

The ego can only pretend to create qualities of the Divine self. However, it is a very good pretender and from an early age, it has the average person convinced that it is real. Ego embeds itself deep into society. Ego permeates our families, our schools, and our workplace. Even our religions are fraught with ego. A priest preaches abstinence from sex for example, but is unable to control his own sexual impulses. The face he wears is different from how he acts. This is pretension, or ego. Ego is so prevalent that most people know nothing else. Because of this connection to our Authentic Self is lost at a young age only to be replaced by something that is not real, a false personality or ego.

The Story of the Ego Creation

The ego has embedded itself in the consciousness of humanity from the beginning of human time. Here is a story about the birth of ego.

It was long ago, the sun had only made one cycle around the Source Star. At that time the one Over Soul was playing with physicality, dreaming pieces of itself into human bodies. It first extended itself and dreamed a human being into the earth-life-system. It started with one human and then dreamed another. This was fun, moving from oneness into individuality. Individual bodies and the experience of individuality were new experiences for the Over Soul. When one human being would meet another on earth they knew they were the same, just extensions of the same Soul. They greeted one another as themselves. “Hello, me,” one would say to the other. “Hello me,” would be the reply. As the Over Soul was playing with its extensions into physicality an idea was created, “This is so much fun. What new experiences I am having. What if each extension of me pretended not to be me? That would be even more fun!” Now when each human being greeted one another they pretended they were not from the same source as the other. They greeted one another with, “Hi you who are not me.” As this repeated and more human beings were born, pretending to not be from the same source. Soon another entity began to take form. This entity was the ego. It lived on pretension. As the ego grew stronger soon the human beings forgot that they were pretending. Due to the ego, the gift of Individuality turned into the curse of separation.

How Ego is Formed

To heal ego it is helpful to understand how ego first forms in us as individuals. Ego is intertwined in our wounding. As a young child we are naturally spontaneous. We express our feelings in the moment. In many families, spontaneous emotions are looked down on and we soon learn to suppress them. As soon as we hear our first “no,” or “don’t do that,” we begin to change. A young child naturally wants to please its caregivers. When its caregivers display displeasure over the child’s expression, to please his or her parents the child will begin to suppress how he or she feels. What is happening when we suppress our expression is that we are suppressing who we are. We make up a different face to show to people. We pretend to feel different from how we feel. When we pretend to be something we are not, ego is born. Parents, school and society have certain expectations about how we should act and who we should be. A mother wants her little girl to be a princess, when she is more comfortable being a tomboy. The little girl tries (pretends) to be a princess to please her mother and ego is born. A father wants his son to be the sports star he could never be, when in fact his son is more interested in playing the guitar. The boy suppresses his desire to play music and tries to be the sports star his father wants him to be. He changes himself into something he is not and ego develops. Abuse in any form, be it physical or emotional, causes wounding. As a child, we believe that everything happens because of something WE did. One day daddy comes home drunk. We walk into the kitchen where he is throwing chairs around. He sees us come into the room and yells at us saying that if it were not for us being born the family would not have so many problems. The next day he is nice to us (he is feeling remorseful) and tells us he will buy us a bicycle. But the next day he is drunk and angry again. He has completely forgotten about the bicycle he was going to give us. This pattern repeats itself. Each time we try to figure out what we did to make father angry and what we should be doing to make him feel good. We become ashamed of whom we are. In our desperate attempt to please him we pretend to be someone we are not and ego becomes deeply embedded.

Wounding occurs when a basic need isn’t met

Wounding occurs when, as a young child, one of our basic needs is not met. Three of these basic needs are love, acceptance and approval. If you are born a girl for example, and you know daddy wanted a boy you do not feel accepted. You are wounded, become ashamed of whom you are, and try to be someone else. This trying to be someone else is fertile ground for the ego. Let us say for example, that from a young age, you have a strong desire to play music. It gives you deep fulfillment and joy. However, your parents want you to be a doctor. They do not approve of you playing music. This lack of approval causes a wound and you try to change yourself to meet your parent’s approval. You suppress your desire to play music and study hard to be the doctor your parent’s want you to be. This changing of self into something to please others gives birth to the ego. A child is abandoned by a mother who is unable to cope with life. On a deep level, the child feels unloved. The child grows up in foster homes. In each new home, the child tries to change itself into someone who will be loved by his or her surrogate parents. As soon as they change themselves, ego is born.

By the time we are 6 we are entrenched in ego and have lost the Authentic Self

By the time they are six years old most people are firmly entrenched in ego. They have developed a personality (false persona) in an attempt to be who they believe their caregivers want them to be. It is not long before they have lost touch with the Authentic Self they truly are. Because we are entrenched in ego, it is difficult to know who we are. Each layer of ego cuts us off from our Authentic or Divine self. For most people all they know is the false self or ego. Because they live from the place of the false self, most of their lives are false. All they know is that which the ego attempts to create. A person may move in and out of relationships, for example, trying to find what they believe to be love. However, the ego’s attempt at love turns out to be nothing more than a form of co-dependence.

What is co-dependence

Co-dependence arises when we try to get another to fulfill the needs we have that only we can fulfill ourselves. When as a child we are wounded, a hole is formed in the energy body. This hole energetically attracts people we believe can fill the hole. However, holes that are formed during childhood can only be healed self-to-self. It was our up bringers that cause the wounding and the resulting hole by not fulfilling a basic need, but when we become adults only we ourselves are able to give ourselves the need that was unfulfilled. In other words, if we did not receive love as a child, a basic need is not met and a wound is formed. This causes a hole in the energy body. To heal the wound we must find the need that was not met, in this example a lack of love, and give ourselves the need. In this case, we must love the inner child to grow him or her up. When fulfill our unmet needs self-to-self we heal the wound and fill the hole with the love of self. In a co-dependent relationship neither side of the relationship have done the work they need to do for their own healing. The holes in their energy body attract others with whom they believe can fill their energetic holes. It feels wonderful when they are with someone who energetically and emotionally can fill their holes. They believe it must be love. It is not love. It is co-dependency, which is of the ego. When a person has not done the healing necessary, and the other person leaves, their holes are left wide open and they experience great pain. This is co-dependency. Each person depends on the other to fill their holes. As humans, we all have basic needs we must receive from other humans such as love, companionship, and so on. However, when the need is one that was not fulfilled as a child such as love, acceptance or approval and a hole is formed, only we can fulfill these needs self to self. Trying to get another to fill our holes is ego. It is ego’s attempt to create love. The relationships that are the capable of moving the deepest into true love and intimacy are those where both sides have done the healing work necessary to heal their wounds and fill their holes. In such a relationship true love, which can only come from the Authentic Self, can grow and flourish.

All people know is ego, they have no other reference point

Ego is so enmeshed in society and individuals that more times than not, people know no other reference point. What the average person refers to as happiness, love, fulfillment, freedom, power and so on, are no more than imitations, cleverly created by the ego. It is no wonder that people have so much difficulty with relationship, career, and family. Most ideals are based on something created by the ego. True love, power, happiness, fulfillment and freedom can only come through what is true – the Authentic or Divine Self. From the time we are children we amass layers on layers of ego. Part of a spiritual path is to peel off these layers of ego like peeling off the layers of skin from an onion. As we peel off another layer we become closer to what is real in self.

The Ego is the source of dysfunction

The ego embeds itself in us at a very young age. Like a genetic disease it is passed on to us by our parents. The ego is the primary source of dysfunction in our families and society. We are all wounded to one degree or another. It is this wounding that cause problems in our potential. It manifests through relationship difficulties, unhappiness, lack, difficulties in finding a fulfilling job and so on. Healing ego and coming back to the Authentic Self is an essential ingredient in realizing our Unlimited Potential.

Different Characteristics of Ego and True Desires

A question that comes up often is, “How do I tell the difference between and ego desire and a desire that comes from the Divine Self?” Ego desires and true desires that come from the Divine Self have different characteristics that can help us distinguish between the two. True desires are often long-standing. They may become more intense at certain times in your life than others, but in general, they are a theme or thread that moves through your life. If you have had a long-standing desire that keeps urging you from deep within the chances are it is a desire of the Divine Self. Another way to monitor your desires is to imagine them realized and the fulfillment that comes once they are realized. For example, you want to by a new car you have seen on commercials. It excites you to think about owning the car. Imagine yourself owning the car for two years. Will the excitement have worn off? Or will the car continue to fulfill you? What fulfillment does the car bring you? Is it an instant gratification or is there a deep fulfillment. It could be either. For some a new car may be a true desire as it is an extension of self. It is fulfilling. For others a new car may be something that gratifies them in the moment, but after a while, it becomes like any other of their possessions. When looking at a desire another thing to monitor is its depth. Is it a surface desire or does it come from deep inside? In general, true desires come from deep inside. Surface desires are of ego.

The Divine Self/unlimited self cannot come through the ego because it is false

In the context of our unlimited potential, our unlimited Divine aspects can only come through a potential that is based on truth. When our potential is covered up with layer upon layer of false self, it becomes difficult to realize our unlimited potential. Our unlimited aspect comes into structure when it enters our potential. It does this much like water flowing into an ice cube tray. If the tray is broken, the water may leak out and no ice is formed. Alternatively, even if the water is able to stay in the tray the ice that is formed may be deformed because of the broken tray. The same is true for our unlimited potential. The unlimited essence, when it comes into our potential, which gives it structure, becomes manifest into our lives. However, if the structure is covered by ego the unlimited essence may not be able to come into our potential. Instead, it leaks through us like the broken ice cube tray. On the other hand, if our unlimitedness is able to come into our potential but we are in ego, the unlimitedness may become perverted. When this happens what becomes manifest in our lives will look different than our unlimited potential. To realize our unlimited potential we must become aware of how ego blocks us. We must identify where our life is built on pretension. As stated in the first chapter the first step is awareness. Be aware of how you work. Be aware of the mechanism of your thinking. Note how you respond and react to situations, people and things. Be aware of any habits you have in your responses. Witness and observe yourself in every aspect of your life.

A Process to Dismantle the Ego

The following is a process that when used consistently will begin to dismantle the ego. The ego is the body of pretension. It pretends it is something it is not. It cannot exist in the light of truth. Truth requires honesty. In any situation, ask yourself this question, “Am I being totally honest with myself?” Ask yourself this question before you make a decision, no matter how big or how small. Ask this question before you begin to tell someone something. Ask this question before you ask another for something. Be aware of your thoughts. When you are pondering or thinking something over ask yourself if you are being completely honest with yourself. Make it a habit to have integrity. Integrity is related to the word integral. To be integral means to be whole or undivided. Ego creates compartments in self. We may show one face to our boss, another to our intimate other, and yet another to our family. We change our self depending on with whom we are. Each change of self is like a sub-personality. Often these sub-personalities do not know one other. This is fertile ground for the ego. When we have sub-personalities we are not whole or integral. We lack integrity. To have integrity we must be completely honest with ourselves. With every act, ask yourself, “Am I acting with integrity?” Keep your awareness engaged as you do this process. Notice your ego’s reaction. Note any resistances you have. As you do this process, you will begin to chip away and loosen the ego’s grip on you. This enables your unlimitedness to flow through you.

Love and Light,

Kristopher


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