What is the ego and how do you become free of it?

Aug 16, 2020 | The mind | 0 comments


This post helps you understand what the ego is and how to recognise it. Learn how the ego becomes imbalanced, survives, and gets its fuel from both actions and thoughts. You can then see through its tricks and allow it to balance. In time, you connect with a sense of wholeness and inner peace.

The story of Durga slaying the demon shows how to transcend the ego.

What is the ego?


The ego is a thought structure that forms the base of your identity. From the point of your birth, it’s present in you and doesn’t intend to cause a problem. In short, the ego plays a key role in the mind and allows you to live as an independent human. Once you understand how it works, you can use it with balance.

Your ego uses the terms ‘I’ or ‘me’ to express its points of view and means of living. As a human, you use these to act out your search for value, expression, and survival. To show this, examine the thoughts that centre around you. For example: “I am/need/want/feel XYZ”. Notice how these thoughts change through each stage of your life. They represent the shifting ego you consider as your identity. It’s a separate being that builds up by gathering past information. Throughout your life, the ego moves and changes within your space. It allows you to live as a unique person.

The ego only becomes an issue when you’re not aware of its effects. In such a state, you collect energy from thoughts, emotions, and the environment without realising it. Because of this excess mass, the ego’s structure grows denser. As this force swells and goes out of balance, it affects your brain’s content. Here, you become lost to the ego’s drive and struggle to make wise decisions.

You reconnect with life’s wholeness as you look closer at the imbalanced ego. Do the ‘I’ or ‘me’ parts of you cover every aspect of your being? Who is aware of them? You’re the space that’s conscious of the mind, along with its sense of ‘I’ or ‘me’. Once you grow aware of this truth, your brain’s energies balance and you can use the ego with wisdom.


The ego is a part of life, but you must be aware of it to prevent it from becoming imbalanced.

The ego is a part of life, but you must be aware to prevent it from becoming imbalanced.

How does the ego survive in you?



The ego survives in your space by feeding on thoughts and attention. In a conscious state, these help it serve a functional role and don’t pose any problem. In an unbalanced state, the ego gains fuel from fear or by attacking others. When this happens, it grows stronger and takes over your being. As you recognise this pattern, you break the cycle of fuelling the egos imbalances. To achieve this, pay close attention to your mind and see how it attacks, fears or blames. Witness thoughts with these motives – here are a few common examples.

“I can’t be happy because of (fill in the blanks).”

“My approach is correct, and everyone else is wrong.”

“I fear that something awful might happen to me.”

“My problem is their fault.”

“I blame him/her or myself.”

As you look at these thoughts closer, note how they revolve around the persona of ‘I, me or mine’. They also feature a sense of fear and blame. These are signs of the ego taking too much of your attention.

Once the unbalanced ego grows strong, it develops its own character. Here, you feel as though you have another person living inside your head. Notice how your mind sometimes insults or bullies you. Its motives are the same as people conducting such behaviour. The most common intent of these humans is to impose their power. When they gain a response, it supports their will to continue. The same truth applies when it concerns the misaligned ego. It fights or torments you to generate a reaction. What happens when you grow wise and face its patterns? As you sense the ego this way, you make the first step toward freedom by cutting its fuel source. In time, you can allow it to realign with life’s wholeness.


The Mahabharat war represents the inner war within the mind and ego. One of the main teachings from the epic is to let go and allow life/divine to be the guide.

The Mahabharat war represents the inner war between you and the ego. One of the epic’s central teachings is to let life be your guide.


How does the imbalanced ego hold power over you?


The imbalanced ego tries to hold power by tricking you into identifying with it. When you believe this being is your identity, it stays in place. By growing wise to such an ego’s tricks, you remove its power. From here, it loses momentum and ceases to pull you into any unwise actions.

The unbalanced ego lives on false notions and fears anything that might catch it out. It knows that when you become conscious, its power can no longer control your space. For this reason, the misaligned ego will try to tempt you into losing yourself in its energy. It does this by creating, distorting, then hiding under such thoughts and guises. Take the time to pay attention to these within you. Intense hatred, remorse, rage, pity, meek and victim thoughts are the easiest to notice. As you make progress with this, the ego cannot hide its false notions.

The most cunning trick of the ego is the positive ‘you’. At first, this appears joyful, but if you become lost in such thoughts, they form excess pride and arrogance. It’s important to emphasise that you must not try out-thinking the ego’s content. By doing so, you fall into its trap of identifying with it.

In an imbalanced state, the ego tricks you into thinking you’re in charge of your actions. For example, in the event of a loss or tragedy, you can lose your space to anger and grief. In effect, you act out of worry, revenge, anguish, and guilt. Here, you may assume you’re in control but you’re not. To a large extent, because the imbalanced ego controls your thoughts and actions. Once you see through these tricks and guises, your awareness grows. Soon, the egos surplus momentum dissolves, your inner space clears and you can make wise choices.

Both the positive and negative imbalances of the ego can pull on each other.   You feel any extreme as pain, and it affects your actions.

Both the positive and negative imbalances of the ego can pull on each other.


What happens as you notice the imbalanced ego?


As you notice the imbalanced ego, it knows it’s under threat. As a result, it acts more hostile. Once you understand this reaction, you don’t panic when the ego fights to defend itself. This phase starts the course of realigning your life and mind.

In a state of imbalance, the ego has a childish quality where it pushes for attention. Without this approval, it torments, blames, fights, and rebels against those in opposition. In humans of every age, this comes across during wars and conflict. When such disputes happen, what happens when someone gets no response or acclaim? Most times, you find more objection, outrage, and defensive reactions. These responses show how the unbalanced ego acts if under threat. When you notice this, stay alert to your thoughts and reactions. This level of consciousness ensures you don’t act out or identify with such content again.

The imbalanced ego creates patterns in your mind that attach you to suffering. How do you behave when painful thoughts, guilt, or fears arise? Do you try to ignore, argue, make sense of, avoid, or fight them? If you do, what happens? Here, thoughts seem to leave and you think they’re gone for good. Yet after a short while, they return with more aggression. This cycle mimics a trap where you grow addicted to pain.

Once your mind latches on to suffering, you don’t wish to release negativity or assume that pain is “right”. These patterns are obvious in people who punish themselves out of fear, penance, or self-sacrifice. Do you feel you should suffer? Do you wish ill or pain on others? Take heed of such states in yourself. They are acts of the unbalanced ego defending itself. As you realise this truth, the course of aligning your being starts.


When a being knows its under threat, it acts more hostile. This holds true for the imbalanced ego.

When a being knows it’s under threat, it acts more hostile. This holds true for the imbalanced ego.


How do you realign and balance the ego?


You realign and balance the ego by first viewing it from a distance, then allowing its mass to reduce. Such an ego takes less space in your being and lets life’s wisdom harmonise your mind. Once you know how this course works, you can allow its motion to happen without concern.

Life experience offers the simplest way to balance your ego because things never stop shifting. When change happens, view it as a chance to become more aware. In times of loss, you sense tension, fear, and grief. It’s important to understand that only the ego has these sensations. Can you allow them in full rather than trying to get rid of such worries? Once you’re conscious of your mind, you realise these emotions are minor events in your limitless space.

When you let go, suppressed mind contents such as fears, doubts and past pain come to your attention. This stage is challenging, as the brain opposes any painful or low states. These feelings are unpleasant, but they are the weapons that break the unbalanced ego. When you let them strike, they crack the ego’s shell. This opening creates the space that allows your true self to shine forth. As you move through this unfolding, you may feel weak, lost, and depressed. These are normal reactions. Here, it’s best to relax and allow this unfolding to happen at the correct speed. Patience is important at this stage as your ego’s misaligned thought structures dissolve.

As you move through the course of realignment, avoid looking for escapes, solutions or answers. Instead, let your suffering serve its purpose to transmute the ego. Once its momentum exhausts after a few months, it balances and serves a functional role in life. You can then follow up on aligned desires, goals, and activities without concern.


Many of the Hindu gods carry weapons that depict the inner tools you have to take apart the ego. 

Many Hindu gods carry weapons that depict the inner tools you have to take apart the ego.






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