This post helps you understand what the ego is as well as how to recognise it within you. You will also learn how the ego survives and gets its fuel from your actions and thoughts. Once you have this knowledge, you can see through its tricks and allow it to balance. In time, you connect with your sense of wholeness and inner peace.
What is the ego?
The ego is basically a thought structure within you that forms the basis of who you think you are. When you refer to yourself as ‘I’ or ‘me’ you are addressing the ego.
Without a doubt, every living being has a sense of ‘I’. What’s more, all forms of life need this reference for a sense of meaning, structure and point of view. The main reason why the ego exists in humans is so they can also have their own feelings and opinions. It is these qualities that allow you to express yourself as a distinct being. Therefore, the ego has a place of value in day to day living. In a balanced state, the ego allows you to live and function in an aligned way.
From the moment of conception, there is some form of ego present within you. On the whole, this is part of your natural self and has no intention to be a problem. Having said that, in a state of low awareness, you build up the energy of both thoughts and emotions. Due to this, the structure of the ego grows denser. When this happens, it becomes a problem due to the ego going out of balance. Henceforth, you find it easy to become lost to its energy and drive.
As the pace of the imbalanced ego builds, you feel separate from the flow of life and its intelligence. At this point, your thoughts govern every part of your existence. It’s also common to mistakenly believe that the ‘I’ or ‘me’ structures, make up who you are.
In truth, the ego is only one aspect of your being. To know this, you have to be aware of it as a separate entity.
How do you find and recognise the ego?
Pay close attention to your thoughts and see how most of the time, they either attack or defend something. Especially any thinking or concept based on the themes of ‘me’ or ‘I’. For example: ‘I can’t be happy because of ‘(fill in the blanks)’, or ‘No one cares about me’.
Once the ego structure becomes strong within you, it takes on its own identity. In essence, this can feel like another person living inside you. See if you can notice how often your mind insults or bullies you. Furthermore, watch how it can come up with arguments as you try to question or make sense of it. A common term used to describe these are your ‘inner demons’. In reality, they are just bundles of thought that have strong momentum in your space. Or to put it another way, inner demons are just the ego taking different forms.
The ego also has a childish quality where it can push too much for attention and approval. If it does not get this, it torments, blames, fights and rebels against all who oppose it. You can see how this manifests in the real world when wars and disputes take place.
Notice these type of activities, and you will see how they all stem from similar thought patterns. To this end, each one is a method that the ego uses to defend and reinforce itself. As soon as you see this mental circus within, you recognise and grow wise to its tricks.
What are the tricks of the ego?
It’s important to clarify that the ego wants to survive and will try to coax you into falling for it. For that reason, it takes on several facades that can easily deceive you. These can appear as both positive and negative states of mind.
For the most part, the negative side is the one that is easiest to notice. By and large, because of the discomfort, it produces. In this case, you can easily lose yourself in hatred, anger, pity, as well as meek or victim type thinking.
On the other hand, the positive ‘me’ can first appear as desired and balanced. However, if you become lost in such thoughts, they can do as much harm as there opposites. In short, these can take the forms of excess pride, too much self-love and a feeling of superiority.
Both the positive and negative imbalances can pull on each other. Take the case of a person that has excess pride and consequently, fears loss. In the event of a loss or tragedy, they may also lose themselves to anger and grief. In effect, this can drive bad behaviour, revenge as well as acts of anguish and guilt. Although it may look like the person in question has control, the truth is that they have very little. To a large extent, because the ego dominates their thinking and actions.
In sum, losing yourself in either positive, negative or both forms of the ego create more pain. To that end, they drive you toward actions that make their presence heavier within you. With all things considered, this is how it holds its place and runs your life.
How does the ego survive?
All living beings need some form of attention to exist. For instance, most plants need attention in the form of light to create energy. Similarly, the ego must have some form of attention, and it will do what it can to get this fuel. The ego’s main source of power is your focus by thinking and acting upon it.
Using pain and discomfort to get your attention is the wiliest trick of the ego. Thereupon, it will attach itself to as much pain as possible to hold your focus and keep itself in place. Watch your mind closely when painful thoughts, guilt, fears or memories arise. In response, you probably try to ignore, argue, make sense of, avoid, or fight them. These are all ways that you directly or indirectly make your thoughts stronger.
At first, it may seem as though you have got rid of the thoughts, only for them to return later. The ordeal feels like an inner war that features a cycle of constant victory and defeat.
In effect, this cycle traps you in its energy, and you grow addicted to the suffering it causes. For this reason, it can feel like some parts of you do not want to let go of negativity. You may have noticed this in yourself and others who may ‘want’ to suffer out of fear, penance or self-sacrifice.
Moreover, your resistance to these states of mind is the ego in disguise. That is to say, the energy that fuels the ego comes from it doing battle with itself. As a result, it’s easy to attract many forms of conflict in your life.
Do you see how the ego uses you as a vehicle to fuel its own imbalances? Now that you know this truth, its influence cannot survive for long.
How do you get rid of the ego?
It’s important to note that you cannot remove or get rid of the ego by using effort. You can only become aware of its presence and way of operating. After that, the ego can no longer hide or pretend to be you. From here, you can allow it to balance and reduce momentum in force.
Life experience provides the simplest way to dissolve and balance the ego. Mainly because things never stop changing and moving. If a loss or change happens in your life, the ego will sense feelings of tension, fear and grief.
Instead of fighting the tension within, what would happen if you allowed it? The mind will naturally oppose any hurt or low states. While it may be true that these feelings are unpleasant, they are the only weapons that break the imbalanced ego. It is through this break or space that allows your true self beneath to shine forth. Subsequently, the ego turns on itself and begins to break down its own structure.
At this time, you will notice higher volumes of mental noise and stress. To a great degree, because the ego is on the verge of defeat and will fight to survive. You may also feel weak, lost and depressed as the ego’s force ebbs away. These are signs that the thought structures within you are breaking down.
Rather than trying to resist or change these low or unpleasant states, the best approach is to allow them fully. As opposed to looking for an escape, solution or trying to find assurance in some way. Soon enough, the ego parts way as balance and wholeness come forth.