Hint: The ego is not the enemy
Most spiritual communities preach that in order for you to progress on the spiritual path, you need to go through an “ego-death.” Such teachings certainly came from people with a higher awareness of the situation; unfortunately, unless we look at those teachings from the same level of awareness, we misunderstand them and it creates challenges in our lives.
What is the ego?
The ego is the combination of our beliefs about ourselves as well as life. What beliefs? The belief that we’re a body as an example. The belief that we’re Sam, and that our life is about fulfilling orders from dusk till dawn. The belief that the Earth isn’t an entity of its own. The belief that we’re alone. Etc. Those beliefs, together, create our conception of life according to which we live.
It is this entity, built out of beliefs, that is the ego. Why isn’t it so obvious for most?
- Because it’s the norm. And when something is the norm, most assume this must be all there is to life
- Because we’re not always taught how to deal with intense experiences in our lives. The kind of experiences that unleash strong emotions. And because those emotions are often left to themselves, in time, they turn into beliefs
Our beliefs exist deep into our subconscious, governing our lives from behind the “curtains.”
The ego is not the enemy
When we make someone or something into an enemy, we are emotionally invested into our position, and it blinds us; we lose sight of the bigger picture.
Think of the ego as our “avatar,” just like the one we’d create in a game — the game of life on Earth, in this specific timeline.
Together, the body and the mind give birth to the ego. It is through the use of the ego that we’re able to function in the world and deal with “normal” matters.
When we turn the ego into an enemy, we’re basically being mad at ourselves. What’s the point of this?
Living based on our ego only is dangerous
It’s true that having an ego is natural and normal. However, unless we awaken to our higher nature, let’s simply call it “awareness,” our ego, which is supposed to be a tool, uses us. This is visible in the world today. You can see it for yourself.
The spiritual path therefore, is about learning to function in the world — from a higher level of being.
How do we do this? By dis-identifying with our ego, as most believe, not as a matter of will however. This dis-identification naturally happens as we become more aware of our recurring thoughts and emotional reactions. For the most part, what we consider to be “us” is mostly stuff we have accumulated from our environments.
Learning to be more aware of all the subtleties in our mind naturally brings out all those things we believed were ours, when in fact, they weren’t. With this realization, they’re simply discarded. A practice like meditation can help with this.
In time, our awareness of the bigger picture prevails. We may still be known in the world as Sam, people’s favorite Amazon deliverer. But something has changed. Our presence is different. Our ways are imbued with a higher quality. And so on.
Depending on our highest path, we may keep delivering packages to encourage our coworkers and teach them how to do a better job at it, as an example. Or we may switch path, and become a renown teacher in spirituality. It all depends.
I hope this piece helped you see your ego in a new light. To function in the world, you need some amount of ego. But your ego is just a tool; You, as an awareness, are its master.
As a final note.
Most people embarking on the spiritual path, actually, even those who have been on it for a while now, are confused about what they should do due to the conflicting information out there.
What’s the cause? People trying to compensate their lack of understanding through the use of fancy explanations. The result? Confusion.
The spiritual path shouldn’t be confusing. It requires simple directives and consistency on your part. If you resonate with those teachings, I wrote a book with the only purpose of helping you understand what the main blocks to spiritual growth are, how to overcome them, and grow spiritually as a result. Check the book here.
Thank you for reading!