There is so much talk about getting rid of our egos, that our ego is bad. Check your ego at the door. Strip away the ego. I’m not buying it. It all seems to be yet another way we make ourselves feel bad about who we are.
I love my ego. My ego is perfectly molded to have gotten me where I am today. Is it perfect for getting me through the next forty years? No. My soul is requiring some modifications. But once I get those modifications underway, I will be able to grow and evolve beyond where I am now.
When I speak of the ego, I define it as our personality, the part of us that sees us as separate from others and navigates our interactions with those others. It is our thinking mind. To me the ego is mind-based, whereas the soul (or higher self) is heart-based. For instance, my soul may want to be a lawyer, but without my ego, I wouldn’t be able to apply to law school, do the curriculum and pass the bar exam. In a courtroom, the soul may nudge to question a witness in a different direction, and the ego takes it from there. The perfect partnership.
The ego is also survival-based. The ego fears that we won’t survive and does everything based on that primal fear. You want to be a lawyer? Ego worries that you won’t make it and will set out to undermine your efforts by bringing up all sorts of other fears. If we decide to listen to our heart’s calling and ignore those fears, soon enough the ego will start to relax, let go of some of those fears, and get on board. The ego requires rewiring in order to cooperate with our soul.
What would we be like without our ego? Let me ask that another way. How could we function in a human body living on this planet without our ego? I understand that most of the gurus telling us to get rid of our ego are going after that state of Nirvana. We need those gurus to show us the way. We do need to access that state from time to time. It is the primary reason for meditating, so our egos can get the download. Because, hello… that IS who is listening when it quiets down long enough to hear. Can you imagine how frustrated your soul gets when your ego doesn’t listen? Like talking to a brick wall. In the quiet, the ego can hear the soul. When the both are working together… powerful, beautiful, effective. But a permanent state of Nirvana? I’ll save that for when I am done with this life. I intend to be fully human and make the effort to listen to my soul daily so I can have a better human experience. It is not my path to sit on the mountain. It is the way for some, but not for the majority of us.
Our egos are the vehicle that the soul shines through. I am reminded of one of my spiritual teachers. There is never a dull moment when he speaks to an audience. I find such brilliance in that. Would I listen to him if he checked his ego at the door? Would his soul be able to share his wisdom without it? Would I come back for more? It takes a lot of ego courage to get up on stage and speak your truth in an engaging way. Does he need to be mindful if how he is presenting is to garner attention or to be compelling with his message? I imagine it is a line he walks daily. It can be a pretty thin line that only he would know which side he is on.
So what do we do about our egos? Do we even need to do anything? Our egos are all about helping us to survive. In our lives, due to various circumstances, we may have picked up and habitualized inappropriate ways of surviving. Perhaps we survived by creating illness to receive comfort and caring because when we were children that was the only way to get it. Creating busy-ness so we don’t have to be alone with ourselves. Creating discord in our relationships due to fear of intimacy because we have been wounded before and have trouble trusting. Most ego issues originate in childhood because that was where the ego was formed. It takes some serious conscious effort to get rid of a habit that seems to have provided a benefit to us. The problem is, it probably doesn’t help us anymore. It just causes suffering because it doesn’t give us what we really want and creates separation from others.
Do we need to adjust some of the survival instincts of the ego? More than likely. But do we need to get rid of the ego? Definitely not. We still need it to not only survive, but to thrive.
What needs to be adjusted? That is for you to figure out. Take a look at the things you do. Then examine why you do them… I mean why you REALLY do them. If you want to make an adjustment, then it is time for some brutal self-honesty. Question why certain fears are coming up for you. Look those fears in the eye. Counseling can help. Journaling can do wonders. And for goodness sake … meditate … so your ego can get some darn good guidance! Your ego is on your side. Help it to serve you in the best way possible. And give it a little love while you are at it.