The Ego is that part of Self that we recognize as our “identity”. It is not our True Self because it does not encompass our Spirit, or that part of us which originates from the Creator, or the Universe itself. The Ego is the earthy, primal, basic part of us that is responsible for our survival, advancement and proliferation. In some sense, parts of our Ego are “involuntary”, much like our heartbeat or breathing. In religious terms, the Ego may represent the “carnal” nature or “the flesh”. It is directly tied to the physical body, the mind and the ethereal part of the Soul such as the conscience and the paranormal. The Ego translates the information it receives through the mind, which is then filtered through the unique temperament of the individual. Someone who is more disposed to “Thinking” will analyze the data carefully. Someone who is more of a “Feeler” will assess the emotional content and engage or disengage with others as deemed appropriate.
Any basic understanding of psychology will include the work of Dr. Abraham Maslow. Maslow is credited with the development of the Hierarchy of Needs, which identifies and categorizes human needs from the basic necessities such as food and water to more sophisticated needs such as altruistic service to mankind. Maslow’s theory suggested that certain needs are so primal and necessary that they must be met before higher, more sophisticated needs can be addressed. In fact, basic needs are so important that the Ego will go to extraordinary lengths to see that they are met. This is obvious when it comes to physical needs, as in the case of starvation or extreme thirst. However, in regard to psychological needs, the picture is not so clear. The need for Trust, Security and Validation are powerful and failure to meet these needs constitutes major trauma. The Ego will attempt to maintain congruence and eliminate cognitive dissonance whenever possible. In other words, it wants things to make sense.
Although the Ego is extremely powerful and capable of superhuman feats, it is limited to the material, physical world and vulnerable to Negative Energy. Ignorance, Deception, Anxiety and Doubt are just some of the principles of Negative Energy. As the Ego attempts to make sense of circumstances and incoming data, Negative Energy creates erroneous conclusions, unrealistic fears, and self doubt, especially when one is growing up in a negative, dysfunctional environment. The less one’s basic needs are met, the more Negative Energy is generated and the Ego must compensate for mental, emotional and psychological trauma. Irrational beliefs such as “something is wrong with me”, “I am not worthy of love or affection” become entrenched. Coping mechanisms such as lying, addictions, fantasizing and other obsessions are developed. In extreme cases, survival techniques may be employed which could include: disassociation (multiple personality); hyper-vigilance; extreme defensiveness; hoarding and violence. Add failed relationships, job loss and addiction to the mix and Positive Energy becomes a distant place.
In many cases, it takes a precipitating event to weaken the Ego enough to allow Positive Energy to shine Hope, send in Love and awaken the Spirit to new Life. Recovering addicts call it “Rock Bottom”. However, as the individual begins to recover, the Ego renews its strength and begins wrestling for control once again. It is at this point that Acceptance and Surrender become vital as a daily practice. The Spirit must be allowed to have access to Positive Energy and Surrender to the Principles of Life and the Ego must continuously be denied control of the Will and Intention. This is not so much a “choice” as it is Intention. The recovering individual must set his or her Intention to Surrender to Wisdom, Health, Truth, Serenity and the other Principles of Life by relinquishing control to his or her Spirit rather than the Ego. This will require disavowing old irrational beliefs, coping mechanisms, substitutions and self preservation techniques and adopting new practices of meditation, acceptance, study and application.
One must begin a new journey, relinquishing the old, embracing the new. The objective is to fully become the True Self which includes a healthy, renewed Ego as well as a connected and surrendered Spirit. This will include a healthy heart with clear and firm boundaries of Self which regularly invests in and gives of its gifts, talents and resources. Age and time are not factors as one must learn to adapt to change and be present in today’s energy.
The Ego is not our enemy; rather, it is the part of our self that must learn from the Spirit and Universe to appreciate the value of Life and its Principles and Surrender to the vitality that comes as a result.