See through the Ego
Ego is your self-image or the "you" that is to be perceived by others.
It is based on the combinations of conditionings, social settings, opinions, status, names, roles, relationships, appearance, objects, etc, - all the things that must be used in order for you and others to describe who You are. And that You is so often varied in different settings and environments. Without taking in to account all the fragmented descriptions or labels, You might find it hard (or even unable) to define who You are.
Ego is the Thinker Inside You who conducts the Judgmental and Analytical Thinking and chases those Thoughts endlessly.
Ego is the Chatter Voice Inside You telling you: like or dislike, do this or avoid that, good or bad, right or wrong, harmful or useful, acceptable or unacceptable, safe or unsafe, secured or unsecured, etc, to maximise the chance to survive, to protect itself from its own fears, and to take a step closer to whatever it desires.
Although Ego is needed for our convenience and survival in the world and especially in the civilisations, We are not our Ego. The Authentic You can only be experienced when you're Not defined by the labels or bounded in material conditions, and when you're detached from endless thoughts or automatic reactions.
The Authentic part or the Real You is the Silent Witness - who is witnessing the thoughts arising and subsiding in your head - who is witnessing your emotions and reactions, the events that come and go in your experience - and be able to choose to reset and reprogram them all at will.
Ego feels like a force or compulsion that invokes an automatic mode that drives you to react in certain ways toward things that happen, which mainly to protect its survival, controlling power, pride, security, habits, and its own fixed belief and perception.
So long as we let our Ego take control over us, make decisions and take actions in Life instead of our Authentic Self, we would not be able to see and understand our Life Purpose, because we loose touch with our True Self, and the True Self is the only part that would be in alignment with our Life Purpose.
We're normally too focused in chasing our thoughts, lost ourselves in desires, fears, anxiety, hope, despair, expectations, success and failures. When we feel so lost and exhausted, we wonder: What is that all about? Why am I here? For what? Who am I?… And What is the Purpose of Life?
I believe that many of us have arrived to questioning these big questions of Life. But so often, before we actually try to find out the answers, we go back in the karmic circle - a repetitive loop/ patterns of dysfunctional and involved thoughts, beliefs, choices and reactions that lead to predictable, again and again (often undesirable) outcomes - and forget about the questions and the determination to find out the answers.
It is the Ego's ignorance that holds us back.
We trust and just follow the Ego's urges and never doubt it if there are truths and different perspectives far beyond the Ego's belief.
When we first hear someone saying: You are not who you think you are! You are not the Ego.
There would be two potential reactions:
. We would straight away deny that statement and refuse to know more about what it really means.
It sounds mad, impossible!. Why on earth you are not who you think you are!!
This might not be the time just yet to do further work as who has just commented and made the decision to deny to look further is the Ego. We would get no where at this moment in time.
. But the Time Will Come! Sooner or Later! - The Time when we start wondering that we might have had a false perception about ourselves, and we start sensing an urge to look beyond our Ego to find out something more authentic.
To make it easier to see through the Ego, I would like to propose to categorise the Ego into three types. We all have these typical types of Ego within us, either each one in a particular phase of Life, or quite often they are interchangeable and multi-layered at all times.
1, The inflated Ego: which we tend to think about overconfident, arrogant, ambitious, aggressive type of people. But actually we all have this Ego type in us, although we might not recognise it.
It can be recognised by its yearning for approval and affirmation on its significance, superiority and self-righteousness. When we are in this state of ego inflated, we would not likely to invoke the questions about the Purpose of Life, as we so often mistake our Life Purpose with what we desire to achieve: approval, recognition, power, control, triumph, achievement, material success, and status.
This type of Ego would need and indeed attract to itself a lot of unexpected and disappointing events during its journey of evolvement (typically in business and family matters and other relationships), to deflate the Ego's false sense of self and break down its thick belief in its fantasy that it is superior, intellectual and that it has control over a successful life in which it has endless desires and achievements, one after another...
Only when you are hit with painful lessons, the Ego would shake off (for a while) its firm belief, you would then have the opportunity to really look into your true self.
2. The destructive Ego:
Many of us might have had the experiences of distrust and hatred toward other people, and/or self-hatred towards ourselves at some points in Life, quite often after a broken relationship, a failure, or series of unfulfilled expectations in Life, or maybe we were brought up in lack of support and reassurance so we believe that we are not worthy.
We develop destructive thoughts about other people and/or about ourselves over time. We develop the addiction to negativities to convince ourselves that nothing/ no one is genuinely good, kind, loving and supportive; and/or we are unlucky, unloved, and treated unfairly. We intensely focus on looking for outside factors to blame instead of looking inside and taking responsibilities for our own failure, discomfort, dissatisfaction and unhappiness. We do not genuinely wish others to be happy, lucky and loved even if we think we do, as we envy others' happiness and blame other people and the outside world for our misery and negativity.
This is where we often get stuck in our evolution as we are so caught up with projecting the negativity into the outside world and brooding over our own anger and hatred, rather than looking inside to realise that our reality is solely built on our own projections and the only way to change the world or the circumstances in which we are suffering is to make needed changes from within!
Self-hatred is difficult to be recognised as we tend to think: “I am/ used to be self-hatred, but that means I have no Ego or Egoless, only the people who are confident has an Ego”. Let’s look at how we think and feel:
“I am Nothing vs I’m Better than others; I am useless vs I am worthy; I am ugly vs I am beautiful, I have no motivation and inspiration vs I am ambitious and successful, etc” - don’t we see that all these thoughts are All-About-Me!. And that is the Ego. The Ego that desires attention, recognition and strive to regain its controlling power by playing the “victim role” or "drama Queen", the Ego that is so angry with not having the things that it desires so it plays the “pathetic role” to blame outside world for causing its pains and give itself the right to be negative.
With this type of destructive Ego, we quite often question ourselves: What is this all about? in a destructive way: Life has no Meaning to me or Life is too negative to be worthwhile! It would take us years and years, lifetime after lifetime to finally realise that we were just looking at our own projections of our negativity and destructive thoughts. Nothing would get better if we do not change our own perception and belief, and in fact our own vibrations.
3. The secular daily life Ego: - the most popular Ego type is when we become attached to a “secure life”. A life with daily habits, the same kind of jobs, the same way of thinking, with predictable patterns of behaviours, with familiar people and with the responsibilities we are used to with. We impulsively react to anything that happens which seems unusual and unfamiliar, to protect our secure life - the Ego’s comfort zone - where it feels safe and in control, where it won’t have to face its fears of changes and uncertainty.
It might take a long time for us to start wondering about the Purpose of Life, as we so often mistake our Life Purpose with making sure everything in Life is under control, stable and secure.
On the journey of evolvement, this type of Ego would attract to itself something extraordinary and startling in life that amazes us (or scares us) to kick us off the secular habits, secular way of thinking and believing to start wondering and looking into something beyond the Ego’s comfort zone (or our habitual life).
The Work to get the Ego out of the way to find the Purpose of Life would be the hardest part as the Ego always co-exists in us as long as we are living and interacting with the modern world of civilisations where we have to agree with certain rules of the games so that we can play our roles; ut it is also the most first important steps, as the Ego always sees itself as the centre of its own reality, it can’t see a “selfless” Life Purpose that is far beyond its self-centred imaginations.
So long as we remain human beings living in a civilised world, we always have the Ego. We can not completely get rid of it, but we can train ourselves to recognise when it takes control over us and not let it do that, to make the choices that come from our true nature instead of the control of the Ego. We can only come closer to find out and to live our Life Purpose when we become mindful and do not let the Ego take control or possess us.
* There are so many books and materials available everywhere about Ego. It would be helpful if we keep reading, and accumulating the understanding and knowledge about it, so we would be more skilful in recognising and preventing it from interfering our journeys.
I would also highly recommend meditation and mindfulness practice. Since I became more committed with frequent practice of meditation and mindfulness, I realise the tremendous benefits of it, it definitely helps to preserve calmness and clarity from being contaminated and consumed by the chaos and madness of endless thoughts, desires, fears and toxic emotions in everyday life. When our mind is clear, we truly live an authentic Life with our true nature, things in life would fall in place by themselves without struggling. Also with a clear and open mind we invite deeper layers of knowledge and awareness unfolding to us. By this way, we can see clearly and live out our Life Purpose, inevitably.