In places like this, in spiritual literature, in self-help media, we will encounter the word “ego” endlessly. Every time we encounter this word, if we’re able, it’s helpful to watch the reaction that arises within us to the words surrounding it. That is our own ego rising up and waving “hello”. It’s likely to try and assert its control over us and our reactions, and the way it will depends on the context it’s used in. Sometimes the reaction is self-satisfaction; a mental pat on the back. Other times it will rise up as self-righteous anger; a defence mechanism. It can us to draw closer to others, but will assure we remain steadfastly a separate entity. It can also cause us to lash out at others; again assurance we remain firmly rooted in our own little box of self-identity. Either way, it’s a self-defeating habit if we want to grow more deeply in spiritual understanding.
If we’re able to become aware of this as an observer and not an unconscious participant in the antics of the ego, we can become intimately familiar with it. It’s through this un-attached relationship that we can begin to watch it’s influencing dissolve. We will begin to see less of a need to react emotionally. We gain the insight into the illusory stories the ego writes to sustain itself in its position of control.
But this is not a curse. There’s no need to demonize it. What the ego does when it arises is presents us with a perfect opportunity. It shines a spotlight on hazardous and destructive mind-habits that keep us from any real understanding of who we are. It illuminates its own illusion.
When we realize this, and learn to embrace it as our own inner guru, our inner life will begin to experience a shift. We react less. We suffer less. We cling less. We experience less conflict. We have more clarity. We feel more peaceful. We experience a depth of effortlessness. We experience life more fully. Yes, the ego can work for us if we learn how to watch it and develop a conscious partnership with it. Give it a try.