Most 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.
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!