“The ultimate aim of ego is not to see something but to be something.” ~ Muhammed Iqbal
To a certain extent we need ego to exist in this physical dimension/plane. Without it, we would never get to experience the feeling of being a person, of meeting others, of being sad, angry, of falling in love, etc… The illusion of ego is necessary in order to play this little game of life we have going on. However, technically, the ego doesn’t actually exist.
It’s completely dependent on our belief in it in order to “be” something. But before we jump on the “death to ego” bandwagon, we must recognize that without ANY ego, we don’t get to take part in any of this. And before we go trying to kill it and fight with it, we must also come to terms with the fact that you can’t kill something that isn’t even real.
The mere desire of wanting to get rid of something stems from the belief that the thing you are trying to get rid of actually exists. So on one hand we have the fact that a certain amount of ego is necessary in order to participate in life. On the other hand we have the issue that the ego causes us suffering. It causes us to buy into beliefs about ourselves or about others that aren’t true and limit our experience of the world.
Also, it feeds of fear, complaints, worry and problems. So how do we find a balance between the two? How do we surrender to the necessary parts of our ego, the ones that we need in order to experience life while at the same not buying into the fear based belief systems and attachments that our ego has formed?
If the ego is something that our consciousness is required to experience in order to live life in this dimension, how do we go about making our ego our slave instead of our master?
“Spiritual transcendence is transforming the rigid ego attachments into acceptance of self and others.” ~ Lynne Namka
It is important to first remember that ego’s worst fear is being “found out” so to speak. The minute we shine the light of our awareness on it, it’s like turning on the light in a dark room that you thought a ghost was in, only to find that there was in fact nothing there at all.
This is exactly how the ego works. People spend years believing in all the stories it is creating about reality only to later find out it was all a lie. We could have literally decided to believe or not believe or create even any story we wanted to about our lives. But the ego does not want us to know that.
It masquerades as “us”, causing us to think that we are the ones generating the ideas and beliefs in our minds but in actuality we are the awareness that is behind the thoughts and ideas.
This is the most important thing we must realize when becoming master of the ego. Once we come to terms with the fact that it is not us, we can start identifying where our ego is causing suffering in our lives from a place of presence rather than identification. From this level of presence we can observe the ego without judging it and without fighting with it.
Which is exactly what the ego does not want. The minute we accept it, it can no longer “fight” with us. We simply recognize that it is trying to feed us a story and observe the story rather than believing or feeding in to it. In this pure observation rather than belief, we transcend the “fear” or “problem” the ego is begging us to believe in.
And it is at this point that we start running the show, we decide when we can use our ego to our advantage, meaning when our ego is giving us a belief that will cause us happiness and when the ego is giving us something that will cause us more suffering. Quite literally, in complete acceptance of our ego the conflict ceases to exist. And as a direct result of this acceptance, we are better equipped to control our thoughts and ideas.
For example, let’s say a person becomes angry, if the person completely accepts the “what is”, which is, in that moment they are angry, and they feel the anger rather than focusing on the story that the ego is building up as to the “why” they are angry, and who is to be blamed etc… the anger cannot bother them for long. It becomes just a feeling, and as all feelings, it eventually passes.
Making your ego your slave instead of your master is a process that won’t happen overnight. The ego has a tricky way of creeping back in ever so often pretending to be real and true. The more we start operating out of the present moment we are then able to create space in between our thoughts. This space becomes the foundation in which we are able to take back control of our own psyche.
Do not fight with your ego. Do not try to get rid of it or kill it. Surrender to it, make friends with it, observe its nuances and when you begin to recognize a thought pattern that is starting to cause more suffering than you would like, simply, observe it without believing in it. The ego is feeding off belief, and wherever the belief is placed is exactly the energy that will be amplified.
Think of the ego as your imaginary friend, use it to your advantage when you need it, but the minute it starts to limit you or anchor you in fear, turn the tables on it by shining the light of your consciousness on it. At this point you can get a good laugh at it and say to yourself, “Silly me, for a minute there, I actually believed you were real.”