I feel the need to clarify the notion of “ego” for myself. We who need to learn write.
Ego is simply a Latin word for “I.” Self-Realization is the purpose of life so what harm is there in focusing on and burnishing the self or “I” that the ego is? Is not the deepest realization of that the fulfilment of life?
The process of Self-Realization actually sees us move from an exclusive sense of the Self to an inclusive one, from a narrow sense to an umbrageous one. It also sees us put our self-importance aside and realize that only the One is important – and the One in everyone.
Exclusivity and self-importance are aspects of the ego, OK in their domain. If we remained cave people, they’d be important survival skills. But where we’re going, they have no further usefulness. They’re set free, retired!
Inclusivity vs. Exclusivity
Joking aside, the ego is exclusive. It refers only to the limited identity of the Third Dimension, not the limitless identity of the highest planes of existence. Our job is to move from any imitation of identity to a limitless identity, is it not?
Ego is a survival mechanism, unique to the individual. It’s useful in our ongoing efforts to remain whole and uninjured and provide for ourselves. It weighs courses of action that’ll promote survival and avoid injury, argues for the most effective, and attempts to steer the will to act on its wishes.
These basic survival concerns being satisfied, ego then seeks pleasure and avoids pain.
It’s become a commonplace to say that “ego is the guardian that turns into the guard.” (1) What started as the servant turns out later for most of us, I think, to be the master. Our fears, our concerns all emanate from the ego.
The ego has to be transcended if we’re to ascend the ladder of spirituality, from Third Dimensionality, where the relative, 3D ego and mind flourish, to the various bodies of the higher dimensions, with their higher Selves, free of the ego and lower-dimensional mind.
The ego builds its survival wall and defenses out of beliefs. Beliefs steer the ship, provide the motive power, etc. And the ego tends to believe in its own self-importance, superiority, entitlement, and so on. Fairly caveman-level behavior, just overlain with a patina of civility.
These beliefs wall off the ego and its lower-level consciousness and keep it separate from others.
The ego has to be transcended for us to proceed to te higher dimensions. It has to be left behind. It has to be given full honors for keeping us alive and released on permanent vacation.
The path that leads upwards, I’m told, is one of increasing inclusivity. There is no future in exclusivity.
What Exists and What Does Not? What Expands and What Disappears?
A sense of self-importance leads to arrogance. A sense of selflessness (egolessness) leads to love. Arrogance puts barriers between us and others. It blocks our experience of the joyous companionship of others. Love invites us to expand and deepen that society and companionship.
With regard to self-importance, it’s in fact paradoxically true that we are the only one that exists, that we are ultimately important, etc. We are God, who is the only one that exists, despite the numerous temporary, illusory forms that God takes. As God, we are important. As a being deemed to be separate from God, we lose the ground of our oneness and the basis of our importance. We remain important but the sense of it “densifies.”
The loss of all seeming separation from God awaits us achieving existence on the highest-possible plane. And we’re not there yet … or we wouldn’t be here.
Again paradoxically, our sense of self does expand and expand. Is this puffery? No, it’s spiritual growth providing that what expands is our sense of the umbrageousness of the One Soul. Truth is what expands and illusion disappears as we mount the ladder to heaven. Achievement of bliss causes our knowing and expanding to accelerate for the time we’re in bliss.
The sense of the one Self we are grows – and blossoms with the progressively-higher experiences of enlightenment that open up to us. It’s said by sages that the fourth-chakra experience of spiritual awakening leads us to understand that we are penultimately a brilliant and eternal Light, Self of the All Self.
Sixth-chakra savikalpa samadhi or cosmic consciousness has us see that we are one with the Energy that comprises all of creation (the Mother). Seventh-chakra Brahmajnana or transcendental consciousness has us see that we’re one with That which transcends and contains creation (the Father). And our sense of the Self keeps expanding infinitely past that point.
We see one body after another fall away, until we reach a state of formless existence. However that still goes on within the dimensional framework and we’re all of us beings that transcend the dimensions. So our spiritual evolution continues, until only God is left. We disappear even as we emerge. Again paradoxically.
When we let go of the exclusivity of self-importance, with the arrogance it leads to, we’re able to embrace the inclusivity of oneness that we all are, with the love it leads to.
Miracle of miracles, we find that the pleasure, joy, and happiness we sought by indulging the ego is in fact to be found by transcending it.
(1) Clint G. Bridges, “Ego,” Truly Alive Magazine, at http://www.trulyalive.net/ego/.