From the time you are born, you are taught to identify your ego as the “I”. You learn that “my name is ________” , and soon you proceed to “this is my toy car” and “I am upset”. You identify yourself with things and if you did not get what you wanted, you get angry. You experience suffering. You also identify yourself with your gender, race, religion and country. All these make up “me and my story”. From young, you are already conditioned in your thinking.
If you break the “me and my story” down, you will find that they are comprised of thoughts. Know what mind clutter is? It is very possible that you go through life, never having a break in the stream of your thoughts. One thought follows another. There is no space between them. You become completely identified with the unending stream of thoughts that go on inside your head. Your beliefs are the thoughts that you repeat over and over again in your mind and those which become charged with emotion. You will even go to war if anyone dares to challenge your beliefs
Thought after thought is really a collection of past memory. It is not about the here and now. The moment you think, you are already in the past. A mind that is constantly occupied is not free or open. It cannot be joyous because it does not know spontaneity. It only thinks that the self is joyful, which is therefore an illusion because it falls short in the experiencing. You can only be happy when you feel joyous in the now and not when you think you are joyous.
The stream of thoughts become the voice in your head. You find yourself having inner conversations with this voice. You become your thinking mind. You also associate intelligence with a mind that is analytical and critical. It is a dichotomy that having good grades or a high paying job, a benefit from having a thinking mind, do not necessarily make you happy.
Me, Me and Me
The ego is strengthened with a “me” or an “I” in almost every thought, every emotion. There is a “me” in my relationship with the rest of the world. Your ego wishes to be whole. It is not whole when it is incomplete or threatened. Its root driver is that “I am not enough” and therefore it seeks to find ways to fill the gap. It invests itself with a “me” from thought to thought.
The ego aims to make the self complete through possessions. It therefore has a great need to attach. It equates Having with Being. It is about “I have and therefore I am”. My possessions make me who I am. My possessions add color, variety and spice to the story about my being.
The ego thrives on comparison, on superiority. If everyone owns a big house including yourself, then your ego is no longer happy. It needs to have a bigger house, a nicer car, a fatter wallet, etc. How others perceive of you affects how you perceive yourself. Having the same amount of material wealth or being of equal status or social standing does not make your ego feel better. On the other hand when the perceived value of what you have rises in comparison to others, your sense of self worth goes up! You cannot be in a greater state of delusion!
When your ego is diminished, there is a need to defend or react. You get consumed by your anger or rage when you think “he or she did this to me” repeatedly in your head. Your life mission becomes one of making others wrong, simply because they do not share the same beliefs. It is always someone else’s fault! If there is no human you can point a finger at, there is always a non-physical entity â€“ such as God - to blame. With so much negativity, it is no wonder your life has been pretty miserable so far!
Dissolving the Ego
To attempt to let go of the ego is not quite possible. What you can do is to create awareness that it is your ego that attaches. In reality, your essence is not your ego. Your essence is of the same consciousness as everyone else’s. In form, you may look different from another human; but at source, you are One and the same.
Your true essence is therefore separate from your ego. You can recognize your ego. You know it through its attachments to physical possessions or thoughts. You are attached to a material thing, when you experience the fear of loss. When you become anxious, upset or frustrated, you are also attached to the “I am”.
Albert Einstein referred to the “I” as an “optical illusion of consciousness”. When you recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. Its survival is dependent on you perceiving it as a reality. As soon as your illusion dissolves, you are at the beginning phases of transformation.
It is important to clarify that there is also nothing truly wrong with feeling a sense of pride, in the strengthening of the ego. What you need to be aware of is not whether the ego is right or wrong. To say that it is “right” or “wrong” is once again applying judgment, a doing of the ego. More importantly, it is about recognizing that the ego is simply unconscious. Awakening arises when you realize that you have been going through life sleepwalking!