What ist ego? Without ego, life would be difficult. From time to time I have to think about myself and my concerns in order to survive. It’s not so much about killing the ego but taking a look behind the curtain.
What is this funny thing called ego?
“Ego” is the Latin name for “I”. What is meant by “ego” is not entirely clear. There are several aspects that come together:
The ego is the image I have of myself.
It is the one who says “I”. I identify myself with my body and my mind and thus separate myself from others. I am me and you are you.
The ego is the one who takes care of me so that I can survive, who defends me, who sees that I have enough to eat and who also likes to accumulate more and more.
The ego is a collection of concepts, rules, beliefs, opinions, interpretations, dogmas, ideas and fears. It is often deeply hidden in myself. This part of me becomes a constant voice that controls me.
Where does the ego come from?
The ego is an result of education and experience – and maybe of past karma.
Is the ego good or bad?
Often the ego is seen as something bad. However, it is quite right and necessary to think of myself. As always, it depends. There are many rules that are right and important – like moral principles. The ego becomes negative when it wants more and more, and when it doesn’t care about others.
What is the problem with the ego?
The problem is that rules guide me, that don’t fit anymore. Because I rarely look for better rules and I don’t adapt them to new circumstances, because I am not aware of them.
These rules are highly subjective. Others may have completely different rules. This is the reason for many conflicts.
This side of me comes from the small child I was at that time. This ego is fearful, extremely sensitive and vulnerable. Again and again it feels attacked, is sad, insulted, offended or in a bad mood. It wants to be loved and recognized and it wants to look good in front of others.
This ideas of what I am and how I should be, limits myself. I use only a tiny part of my almost limitless possibilities.
What can I do?
I could ask myself and explore whether I am really what I think I am. I could ask, are these rules still appropriate? I could change them or give them up.
But it’s almost impossible to do it on your own.
Good friends can help, enemies (they will most likely tell the truths!) and special professionals like therapists. I might observe and ask others. How do others react on me? Do they like me? Are they avoiding me? This is the path to self-knowledge. It often hurts. But it’s worth.
I can free myself from social conventions, ideas and beliefs and worry less about what others think. I even try to be skeptical of my own views. Too often I have changed them. Do I know the ultimate truth?
Does the ego exist?
In one way it does. Otherwise I could not suffer from it. It is like reality in general. It is there and yet it doesn’t really exist. It is there and at the same time it is only imagination.
Can I live without ego? Can I lose it and find it again? How do I experience what the world is like beyond my imagination?
Without ego, life would be difficult, because from time to time I have to think about myself and my concerns in order to survive.
It’s not so much about erasing the ego – it’s about taking a look behind the scenes and experiencing a state without ego.
I can observe. What is in this moment? Am I the one I identify with? Am I my name, my job, my status, my money, my home?
In meditation, I can occasionally come to a state beyond my ego. In stillness sometimes my thoughts and feelings come to rest. Without thoughts and feelings there ist no ego. There is a state of “fully awake and no thoughts”. But this state is not permanent. As soon as thoughts appear, the ego is there again.
Without thoughts there is something like floating, light, happiness and gratitude.
When “I” is no longer there, I can „see“ what is. I can hear what the pines say and the wind.