Oooh yes, today’s post is all about that frenemy of ours, the ego. And, if you’re wondering why I called it a frenemy instead of an enemy, it’s because we keep it so close, we appease it and tend to it, yet we so often want to kill the darn thing. It truly is akin to that frenemy relationship. Anyways, let’s dive into it, shall we?
So, the ego, as you know is a cunning character that takes so many different forms. At the overt and more obvious levels, the ego manifests as cockiness, jealousy, and feelings of separateness. And, some of us fall into the trap of thinking this is it– that is what the ego is. Simple– just work to get over these states and you’ve conquered the ego. However, once one becomes aware of these manifestations of the ego in their life and begins the path of healing and reconciling with their true nature (aka getting over the cockiness, jealousy and feelings of separateness), one may seem to have conquered the ego, but this may not be so. This is where many people often fall into a trap. We may not be contending with the overt ego anymore, but once these incarnations of the ego are overcome, it devises new ways to enter into our lives. I see myself at times in the thick of this trap. And, in fact, I’m sometimes so stuck in it, that I’m not even aware of it. I’d venture to say that despite our work, many of us are there together in the muddy egoic swamps at times. Sometimes, it’s something as seemingly innocent as feeling special about our “gifts” or feeling like our souls must be quite advanced or other such concepts that when you really sit with them, are kind of silly!
I digress for a moment here. Our essence recognizes that we are all truly gifted and it is our purpose to be of service and to be of service means not just to do something for someone. Our task is to cultivate our essence and in so doing, that process will reveal our gifts and then we are to share the gifts. Because it is in sharing our gifts which allows us to shine our light that we create the energy and space for others to discover their gifts and shine their light. And, that is how we are of highest service.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
But, let’s go back to the many faces of the ego for a minute. I was on the phone today with my dad and I was talking about how the ego just seems to put on a new mask every time you feel like you’ve overcome an aspect of it. That led me to say that we always have to be “on guard against the ego”. And now as I write this a few hours later, I realize that is NOT it at all. It’s actually the opposite. If anything, being compelled to be on guard against the ego is another mask that the ego is donning. The ego, not our true essence, is what is compelling me to have that sense of needing to be on guard to catch it. That’s because it’s the ego that keeps us trapped, keeps us small and keeps us in that place where we actually need to be on guard. Being on guard means you’re closed, you’re holding yourself back, and it is akin to being in the fight, flight or freeze mode. Being on guard means that you are not free. You can’t let go in other words. This is not spirit talk, this is ego talk. Our true essence compels us to let go, to be free and to allow.
Now, the ego has been on so many people’s death row for a little while now and probably with good reason. I mean it takes a drop of realization and connection with your true self to feel its lightness, freedom and love as opposed to the heaviness of the ego. So, no wonder people want to be done with the ego and embrace their spirit! However, we overcome the ego, not by sinking down and resorting to its own tactics. The ego thrives on war. And, it’s in war that you need to be vigilant and on guard against the “enemy”. On the other hand, the strength of our essence, stills our divisions and all the fractionated parts of “us” and allows us to see the holistic, big picture. It’s like in the Bhagavad Gita when Krishna drives his chariot between the two armies and stills the battle as he gives his teachings to Arjuna. Killing the ego is a drive compelled by the ego itself. There is no killing the ego, to aim to do so only strengthens it. Spirit overcomes all by shining its light and love. It is in that way that it tames the ego. Therefore, we overcome the ego by cultivating our essence– our true spirit. It is from that place that we become aware and we see beyond the illusions of ego (in any of its manifestations). The heart extends love and beauty in all directions.
Check out this video and listen for the main underlying message. The key is not to demolish the ego, but to let the heart be in the driver’s seat.
Photo credit: Masks by exfordy
© 2012, Melina Schetakis. All rights reserved.