Ego consciousness

What is the Ego?

Ego consciousnessMost people are familiar with the concept of the ego. But until you begin regularly meditating, you might not realize how much of your thinking and behaviors are influenced by the ego.

An easy way to think about the ego is that it exerts a pressure in wanting to emphasize our specialness, our individuality and separateness. Individuality certainly has its place as we all have unique souls and a unique set of experiences. However, the soul in us recognizes that all people are in essence the same. We all have basic needs of survival and acceptance.

When operating in soul consciousness, our awareness is that all people are connected. We are all brothers and sisters spiritually though have our own bodies. The body is said to be the temple where the soul resides. Obviously our bodies are separate but our souls are connected energetically. Ideally  the soul governs our consciousness, not the ego.

Because in the modern day era, soul consciousness is not widely taught, we have lost a sense of this higher consciousness. The ego consciousness is more concerned with physical and emotional survival as opposed to the soul which thrives on love and purpose. Without proper guidance, that quest for survival exceeds beyond just basic physical needs and begins to influence our social need for belongingness and importance.

An individual that is operating from the ego tends to behave in ways that accentuate their self-importance. This is because the ego is short-sighted and has determined that being perceived as important leads to a feeling of peace. It is true that temporarily, having one’s ego stroked will trigger positive emotions. But in the long run, this is not how inner peace is attained and sustained.

And so long as the ego is unchallenged, one’s life becomes a mad grab for the admiration and attention of others. Or it might be excessive attention from the gender you are most attracted to. Or from the status you receive in your career. These are outer sources of affirmation.  Receiving affirmation from others or from achievements is not inherently bad. What is problematic is if one’s self worth is determined by this attention. It sets a person up to be perpetually chasing more and more of that gratification.

If you feel you are under the influence of your ego more than your soul, you probably experience life as a roller coaster. This is because one day, everyone loves you and thinks your hot. Another day, they are critical of you and gossiping behind your back. And a third day, they barely even notice you.

Allowing the ego to govern your thought process means you become dependent on love and attention that is totally beyond your control. This can be a recipe for an emotionally turbulent life. So long as the ego is governing your mind and your decisions, you risk being very disappointed, or at times elated but elated temporarily until the high from the person’s attention or the most recent achievement fades.

The influence of the ego will lessen once you truly realize that the pursuit of ego gratification is a losing proposition.

Not the ego

While meditating, it can be a useful exercise to replay your prior day and identify to what degree your actions felt influenced by your ego. And when you identify those times, explore your emotional temperament.

Egos are often triggered by negative emotions. Once you can see the pattern, you can begin to replace it. Changing a habit involves awareness first, a decision to do something different and then a relentless persistence in implementing something new until it replaces the old habit.

The influence of the ego will lessen once you truly realize that the pursuit of ego gratification is a losing proposition. You get sporadic and unpredictable short term gains and constantly need to hustle to keep that energy flowing.

By contrast, the soul finds it’s strength within. There is a consciousness to the soul that KNOWS it is fine and unique. True, we all like to feel good within our social groups. There is nothing wrong with that.

In fact, the more you are in touch with your soul and acting from the awareness of your unique and true personality, generally the more praise and positive attention you receive. The difference is that the kind of attention your soul elicits doesn’t always line up with what your ego values.

Over time, you will see that chasing the desires that fulfill the ego will tire you out and are always fleeting. Pursuing a life that considers the desires of your soul will have tremendous meaning.

For simplicity sake, consider that your soul typically wants 2 things; love and purpose. Love represents the feminine need we all have, and purpose represents the masculine. If and when you can attain a good level of both, you will feel relaxed and your ego will hardly trouble you after that. I recommend meditation as a way to get there!

reducing the ego's influence

How Your Egotistical Nature Slows Down Your Spiritual Progress

The ego is mysterious. It has an agenda to help the individual survive. The ego is an inherent part of each human being. Then why is egotistical behavior so problematic?

Let’s consider the whole person. Assume the idea that the human being is a soul (permanent) that resides in a flesh body (temporary) and contained in the package, each person is given a mind and a system of feelings and emotions. In addition, other factors are at play including a desire nature (stimulated according to our wants), a will (a force of action based on our decisions) a conscience (an internal gauge of knowing right from wrong) and an ego (?).

I have discovered that egotistical behavior becomes active when we are at risk of being perceived in ways that are incongruent to how we see ourselves. If a person thinks of you for example as being stupid, but you think you are smart, your ego wants to right that wrong.

Or let’s say someone you know is achieving something that you would like to achieve. You have a fear that this person will be perceived as better than you (incongruent with your own view). Your ego tries to fix this by equaling or surpassing that person. Egotistical!

The ego might be a factor in the spouse you choose because you see that person as a reflection of the level of person you think you are. You, or at least the part of you that is driven by ego, wants to make sure the person you marry reflects the level at which you see yourself. This could be regarding looks, income, status, intelligence, education, family pedigree etc…

When the ego is active in influencing your thoughts and actions, you will be taken off your spiritual path for the simple reason that the soul does not have a motivation to be perceived as ‘great’. While the ego is trying to pump you up in the eyes of other people, the soul is waiting patiently to get back to productive work.

The soul in its pure state is just fine as it is. True, we may want to grow, improve our skills, achieve things that benefit humanity, our families and even our own lives. But the soul does not need recognition the way the ego does.

I have had people attend my classes and propose that while driven by egotistical factors is not always ideal, many great things can be achieved because the person was motivated by the ego. To me, this implies that unless the ego was activated and the person was trying to improve how others see them, then no progress would have occurred.

I disagree. The soul is motivated to realize it’s full potential. And yes, ego as a motivator can inspire a person to work real hard and achieve greatness. What I am proposing is that if the end sought is recognition and glory, then there will be pain and disappointment when that adulation wears off.

In contrast, the soul in you is fine as it is. And yet, it seeks to express, grow and give glory to life (or God). The soul does not need the credit for it’s greatness because the soul did not create itself. In fact, when greatness is achieved and the motivation is pure (based in soul) there is the elation of Spirit regardless of who notices.

And ironically, those motivated in this way often do receive a lot of outer adulation because of their modesty and humility.

When the ego is active, fear and self-centeredness are also active and these energies will run in conflict to the Spirit which is love. Some progress may be possible but the motivation would be corrupt.

To have a pure motivation, the soul needs to be engaged.