Most of us are familiar with the term’s EGO and SPIRIT, but we are not familiar with the nature of the two energies. The ego self is connected and validated by external forces through the five senses, while the spirit is our intangible, internal, intuitive self. When many of us think of ego the first thing that comes to mind is an egotistical excessively conceited narcissistic individual. While this may be true in some cases, the ego is far more complicated than that.
Few people are aware that the ego side of us can be very insidious, having FAR more control over the way we think, react, and live our lives than we may have recognized! How our ego identifies itself, and how it relates to others, and the world around us, is far different than the way our spirit identifies itself. Unfortunately, most humans live life predominantly from an ego perspective, never really being formally introduced to their TRUE internal self, which shows up far too infrequently.
When a child is first born the ego is barely developed. I’ve yet to see a spiteful, angry, resentful, dogmatic baby with an attitude. Before a child even becomes aware of their own physical body they connect primarily with the touch, feel, and sound of their mother, and others around them. A child is inherently needy, everything is all about them, they are helpless on their own. They demand food, drink, attention, toys, always craving instant gratification. If we did not teach and guide our children, give them some direction, morals, and certain rules to follow, they would continue to be impulsive, acting out on urges, needs, and desires as they get older. As the ego’s desires and impulses grow stronger, they may even tie up their parents and take over the house, many growing up to be thieves and murderers! They would do what is necessary to survive and dominate.
In a civilized society, however, children learn how to manage their instincts and develop them into socially acceptable behaviors. Parents are the first role models in a child’s life and have a powerful impact on how the child’s personality develops based on how they learn to interpret their observations and experiences.
THE EGO IS A BYPRODUCT OF OUR ENVIRONMENT AND INTERACTION WITH OTHERS
Parents, who were programmed by their parents, and governed by society and CULTure, unconsciously force their beliefs and attitudes onto their children, influencing and shaping their thoughts, decisions, behaviors, habits, and personality or “personal reality.” As the child becomes more aware of themselves, the ego grows, and they begin to see themselves as separate from all others at various levels, dependent on their environment and how they perceive it. This false sense of separatism is what defines the ego nature. The ego works very hard to maintain the ILLUSION that we are separate from everybody and everything in the world. Feeling superior or inferior to others based on race, gender, looks, or intelligence is an example of separatism. This fear-based understanding of the ego self is rooted in insecurity masking the feeling of not being good enough.
Through the influence of parents, society, culture, and past memories, the ego self develops its OWN belief system, self-image, personality, and the resultant emotions that we often firmly attach ourselves to as if this was who we REALLY are. The more ATTACHED we become to our ego identity, the more pain and suffering we will experience in life. Most of us only have the ability to view ourselves and the world through the eyes of the ego, which is a very limited view at best!
The primal ego’s main focus is to look out for our physical survival and safety, which is a good thing. But when it comes to protecting our emotional safety, belief system, and our seemingly important self-image, the ego can surely get in the way and make a mess of things. The problem with the ego is that it tends to be very self-focused and narcissistic in its “I, I, me, me” approach, creating many unnecessary internal and external conflicts. The ego can stir up a lot of needless negative energy as it deludes us into thinking that we need this fear and resistance to get by in life.
Narcissism can intensify as you become more attached to your beliefs, your possessions, your desires, people, looks, and status. Many of us were either physically or emotionally abused, controlled and hyper-criticized or coddled, all of which can lead to extreme overbearing ego personalities!
The more attention we show the ego, giving in to the illusion, the more destructive it can be. The ego takes everything personally and is always defending itself and what it believes to be reality! Of course, some people are more delusional and egotistical than others. How many people are in jail or dead because one person didn’t like what the other one said or what they stood for? Sticks and stones…we all know how the saying goes, but the ego has a mind of its own, sometimes going to GREAT lengths to protect its self-image and belief system.
Take road rage for example. How often do people risk their lives and the lives of others chasing someone down on the highway after they cut them off? For what? To prove a point? It could have been a complete mistake or the person could have been on the way to the hospital. That’s the quick to react, irrational ego at work!
The ego is quick to judge and label ourselves and others, falsely defining based on appearance, personality, social status, achievements, monetary wealth, past memories, expectations, comparison, and a belief system we have established throughout our lives. These beliefs, most of which are disempowering, whether they be cultural, political, religious, philosophical, or stereotypical, DEFINE our sense of reality and how we view the world. While many of us have similar beliefs or ideologies, our ego established belief system is unique based on our individual experiences, creating even FURTHER separation between our “TRUE selves” and others.
The DOGMATIC black and white thinking of the ego creates fear, animosity, and separatism, preventing one from identifying or connecting with their spirit or “true self.” This highly limiting conventional belief system that we are accustomed to is also responsible for the majority of us never coming close to reaching our full potential in all areas of our life whether it be spiritual, financial, educational, health, or relationships!
The voice of the ego can be a bit NEUROTIC and overbearing, easily drowning out the voice of our INTUITIVE spirit. The ego dominated mind thinks unconsciously and irrationally, from the lower brain, always managing to get in its own way. The mental chitter chatter never stops, going from one neurotic obsessive thought to the next, replaying various past events and daily interactions. Always OVERTHINKING and worrying about what’s to come or most likely NOT to come.
Deepak Chopra allegorizes the mind to a monkey: “In Buddhism, the mind is likened to a monkey peering out at the world through the five senses. Monkeys are notoriously impulsive and fickle, liable to do anything without notice.”
A dominating ego reality keeps us distant from the spirit, inner peace, contentment, and true happiness. Although one does not want to identify themselves by their ego dominated self, this individualistic, self-centered view is essential for one to have the opportunity to be reintroduced to their spirit self.
One must first know who they are NOT before they can know who they are! If there was only darkness one would never know light. If there was only cold one would never know warmth.
In essence we are NOT really who we THINK we are!
THE VOICE OF THE SPIRIT ON THE OTHER HAND IS CALM, GENTLE, AND ALL KNOWING
The spirit represents our conscious mind, always PRESENT and fully aware, never identifying with the delusional ego. The sprit is pure love, altruistic, TRUTH, free, detached, fearless, FLAWLESS, always good, beyond limitations, and represents our “true self”. The spirit is our permanent “higher self”, everlasting, beyond time and space, and NEVER dies!
Our “true self” never judges ourselves or others based on race, religion, history, education, social status, looks, memories, or beliefs. The spirit does not take offense and has no need to DEFEND itself, it is always perfect just the way it is. When we see and hear through the eyes and ears of the spirit no conflict can exist within ourselves or with others. We all share one common ground in the spirit, creating UNITY, not separatism. No one person is better than another in any way, shape, or form!
The reason most of us suffer as humans is because we are much more attuned to the voice of the fragile, insecure, easily broken ego than that of the all-powerful spirit. The ego is who we THINK we are. The spirit is our essence, who we REALLY are outside this physical realm, total awareness, beyond personality!
The EGO says I need “this” to make me better, the spirit says I am ENOUGH!
The ego can’t see beyond the five senses. The ego is inherently ATTACHED to this temporal world and can only exist as long as the physical body survives. The ego dominated self is INSECURE, defensive, judgmental, restricted, fearful, self-obsessed, impatient, resistant to change, stuck in the past, and worried about the future. The ego has a burning desire to be in control. It is always looking for external stimulation or fixations like tv, smart phone, sex, food, drinking, drugs, possessions, rumination, and other addictive behaviors as a means of achieving a false sense of happiness or distraction from self. True happiness CANNOT be found on the outside, ONLY from within!
If you’re thinking the ego can be a bit negative, you’re absolutely right. But as negative as the ego can be, the idea is not to get rid of it, but to acknowledge its behavior, understand it, learn from it, calm it, silence it, and RISE above it to a higher level of conscious awareness. You want the ego to be influenced by the spirit. The first step is recognizing that the ego is not who “YOU” really are.
This process of transcending the ego is too often misconstrued as meaning to throw away the ego, but that is the wrong interpretation. To transcend does not mean to erase, it means to surpass, outshine, overshadow, and exceed beyond limitation. If the ego did not exist, you would never be able to identify with the spirit. It is only through the realization of the ego dominated self that allows one to identify with their “true self.” School the ego or the ego will school you!
“The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self.” –Wayne Dyer
In order to free your minds and connect with your “higher self” you must first realize that the social MASK we put on each day for ourselves and the rest of the world is only a fictitious reality. It’s not who you really are. Putting on the social mask isn’t really the problem, but attaching to it is. It’s like an actor playing a role in a movie, they are not the same person off set. The part they are playing is not who they really are.
While all of us play a certain ROLE in our physical bodies, we need to understand that our reality has nothing to do with the role we play. For instance, my name is Brian, I am Caucasian, I am a grateful proud father, I am a personal trainer, nutritionist, writer, researcher, holistic health coach, spiritual mentor, and entrepreneur. While all these things are true, they are just part of my STORY, they do not define my “true self.”
Now don’t get it twisted, the role we play in this life is very important, and we should always strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be, utilizing the various talents that we were blessed with as individuals. Just don’t fall into the ego’s trap and define and attach yourself to this role!
When we are able to make the SHIFT from ego identity to spirit identity there is an OVERWHELMING sense of RELIEF and peace that follows. This shift will not happen overnight by any means, and like anything else takes practice and a consistent effort, but the rewards are truly PRICELESS!
Although we don’t know when, the physical body will one day perish along with the ego. The spirit self is eternal and forever. I don’t know about you, but I would rather attach myself to something safe and permanent with the freedom to choose, than something unknown, temporal, and constricting.
After all we are spiritual beings with human experiences, NOT human beings with spiritual experiences!
http://www.amandalinettemeder.com/blog/2014/2/24/the-voices-in-my-head-the-difference-between-ego-intuition-higher-self-and-spirit -this site has great exercises for identifying the voice of the spirit and voice of the ego.