“But I don’t have an ego” you might mistakenly think..
The word ego is often misinterpreted, but it’s basically your human identity – you know, the one where you were given a name that you learned and then you learned social constructs and how to show up in that identity in order to be accepted, loved and out in front.
The problem is that it’s also the cause of all our pain and suffering in our lives.
Think about it.
Think about any of your human problems.
If you were identity-less, would any of those problems matter?
The ego is very attached to an identity.
The ego LOVES and needs to get offended.
The ego is never equal. It’s either feeling offended or being offensive. It needs to be either above or below others. It lives in comparison and competition. It thrives on fear.
The most important thing it needs is an identity. Without your identity, it cannot survive.
Here’s a few more things the ego needs:
It needs to be right. It’s massively attached to it’s own ideas and beliefs.
It needs to be in control.
It needs to feel special.
It needs to always be doing.
It needs to have representations of security.
It needs to be needed.
It needs to be liked.
It needs to take everything personally.
It needs to be appreciated.
It needs to be important & recognized.
It needs to be a victim.
The ego is resistant to change and is unwilling to listen to advice or feedback from others.
When we are operating from ego, we become so entrenched in our own way of thinking that we ignore the needs and wants of our clients and fail to develop our business in a way that meets their needs.
A common misconception about the ego is that only rich or successful or famous people have one. If you make yourself small, you might falsely believe that you are a good humble person. Nope, you are making yourself small because of your ego. You fear what people will think of you so you hide.
Without an identity, without a self, that also means that you have no past nor future that you are attached to – because there is no you.
It may be difficult to get your head around all this. If it is, that’s normal. The job of the ego is to keep your identity alive and it will do it AT ALL COSTS. It’s actually just innocently doing its job, believing that it needs to keep that identity alive.
But it’s not necessary in order to function.
We can continue to use our minds for functional things. Obviously, we still need to give our name when we vote or go for a doctor’s appointment.
We still have likes and dislikes, but without the stressful attachment.
Our true nature trusts it all.
Our true nature understands that there is a much bigger picture at play here.
It’s only our ego that would dramatize everything. The greater the suffering, the greater the self-identification.
Notice people who are obsessed with their problems… that’s their ego at work.
There is a simple solution to all your pain.
And it’s not spiritual by-passing and it’s not repression and it’s not disidentification.
It’s a knowing and a trusting, that a higher power is at play in your life’s design and surrendering to that – and being in near constant communication with it.
With that surrender comes a lightness.
You go with the flow.
It doesn’t mean that you stop enjoying the fun human experiences that you currently indulge in. Keep partying… just notice that all the stress you experience comes from your attachment.
When I feel offended now, I ask myself “where is the Niamh that is offended?” She can’t be found because she doesn’t exist. She was made-up. It doesn’t always work. When I am very triggered, the ‘Niamh’ character is very present, much to my ego’s delight.
Psychiatrists reading this might think that what I share is dangerous. Of course, it means that all the textbooks and years of work they did becomes pointless. Their ego wont like that very much. They are invested in their approach being RIGHT (remember that the ego loves to be right).
There is definitely a place for the work that psychiatrists do. It’s needed to live in “personhood”.
Personhood is what a great spiritual teacher called Mooji refers to when you are living from the space of a human who is attached to an identity.
Many would argue (and have argued with me recently) that we should not drop our ego. I notice that this comes with a very strong “I know mind”. The “I know mind” is the arrogant mind that believes it knows the answers and that its answers are THE RIGHT answers.
I don’t know about you, but I have no interest in being right. I am only interested in being free.
I’ve come to realize that any practice that strengthens our identity, separates us further and brings us away from peace.
I’ve also realized that it’s incredibly difficult to obliterate the attachment completely. It sneaks in through the cracks. Spiritual ego is a thing. The best thing is to just belt up and enjoy the ride of discovery with lightness. Awareness is key. When you can catch the egoic attachment and switch gears to operating from your true nature (the you without an identity), your life will begin to feel lighter. You take people and situations less seriously – and best of all, you take yourself less seriously. And in my experience, taking myself less seriously is a big relief :-).[Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash]