What Is the Ego?
It is the sum total of your thoughts, beliefs, mindset and feelings. It is what we believe we are. It is our individuality. We identify with this ego, protect it, and believe it is who we are.
In the name of the ego, we behave and act as we do. Often, this leads to clashes with people with different egos and set of beliefs, to misunderstandings, to obstinate behavior, and to unkind conduct.
The ego is like a mask or certain attire that we put on ourselves. This often leads to living in a small and world and to limited thinking.
The ego controls and dictates everyone’s life. It is like a computer program that acts as it was programmed, and which takes hold of your life. To a great extent, it is the product of your environment, education and life’s circumstances, and most often, it limits your life and does not allow you to change and try new things.
Suppose you put on a colored set of eyeglasses. This will make you see the world as red, blue, yellow or any other color, depending on the color of the glasses. The color glasses distort your vision and your grasp of reality. To see the world as it is, you need to remove the eyeglasses.
Imagine that for a moment you drop your identification with the ego, which is what you think you are – your personality.
What will happen? Suddenly, you are free of identification with anything. You are free from your thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Will you stop existing? No, you will continue existing. Your consciousness would sharpen immeasurably, since it will not be limited. Without an ego, you are still very much alive and conscious.
In this state, all your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and whatever is associated with who you think you are, are gone.
You can certainly be very much alive, conscious and active, without putting any label on yourself. You do not have to be this or that in order to exist.
It is possible to wake up from the identification with your personality – your ego. This is called spiritual awakening. You stop limiting yourself and identifying yourself with a particular individuality, set of thoughts, or point of view.
When you rise above your ego, your consciousness extends beyond the body, personality and immediate world, and you experience a sort of “formless consciousness”.
You go on acting and functioning as usual, working, eating and conducting your daily life, but your consciousness is as if on a “higher” plane. You behave calmly, with common sense, more efficiently, and with a free and unlimited mind.
Why It Is Important to Rise above the Ego?
What do you gain by rising above your ego?
What do you gain when you stop identifying with your ego and giving it power over your life?
By rising above the ego, you rise above life’s problems. They will still be there, and you would have to deal with them and solve them, but your consciousness will be as if in a different dimension. You would take care of whatever you encounter in your life, but whatever you pass through or have to deal with, would not affect adversely your mind and feelings.
Rising above your ego means that you stop letting it chain you and dictate your life. This would bring happiness, calmness, and a sense of power into your life. You will become mentally and emotionally unaffected by the circumstances of your life. You will gain real peace of mind.
Rising above the ego frees you from limited thinking and from the shackles of your mind. You will not be swirled into petty desires, misunderstandings and conflicts, and would be able to deal much better with whatever you encounter on your way.
Rising above the ego will help you become aware of who you really are, of your essence. You will understand that the ego is like a mask that a player on stage puts on, and that it is not the real you.
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You need not be afraid that you might become passive and weak by taking off the ego. Taking off the ego will extend your awareness, and make stronger, more confident, kinder, more considerate, and more understanding.
How to Rise above the Ego
Each day, find a few minutes to be alone, where you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably, take a few slow breaths, and relax your body.
For a moment or two, let your mind follow whatever thoughts and feelings pop up, and then stop and ask yourself:
- Are these thoughts and feelings a part of me?
- Are these thoughts and feelings mine?
- Do I need them?
- Do they add anything to my life?
- Why do they come?
- Where do they come from?
- Why do I think or feel them?
- Who is it that is watching and experiencing these thoughts and feelings?
Do not try to find mental solutions or reasons. Just ask the questions, and wait for the answer to come from inside you, like an intuition.
At the same time, try to watch your mind dispassionately, aware of the thoughts that pass through it, but not identifying with them or following them.
This is a certain kind of meditation. Meditate in this way each day, once a day, twice, if you have the time. After you get used to this meditation you can ask yourself the above questions during the day, whenever you have some time. You can do so when your mind is not occupied with something in particular, such as while walking, waiting in line, or traveling in a train or bus.
While asking yourself these questions, pay special attention to the state of your mind and awareness. Do these questions make you more aware of your consciousness, of yourself, of the essence beyond the ego, which is the real you?
If you continue with this meditation, there will come a time when “a new” kind of consciousness would arise in you. Try to stay in this “new consciousness”, fixing your awareness on it whenever you remember.
This process will bring into your life inner peace and inner silence, which will lead you to experience the consciousness beyond the ego.
Tips for Rising above the Ego
What else can you do to rise above the ego, and stop allowing it to dictate your life?
Here are a few tips:
1. Learn to gain control over your mind and thoughts by developing focus and concentration.
2. Learn to stop the nonstop chatter of your mind.
3. Learn how to bring inner peace into your life
4. Stop taking things personally and letting outside factors affect how you think and what you believe, by developing a certain degree of emotional detachment.
“We must go beyond the constant clamor of ego, beyond the tools of logic and reason, to the still, calm place within us: the realm of the soul.”
– Deepak Chopra
“When misunderstandings grow cut your ego.”
“That which comes and goes, rises and sets, is born and dies is the ego. That which always abides, never changes, and is devoid of qualities is the Self.”
– Ramana Maharshi
“Complaining is one of the ego’s favorite strategies for strengthening itself.”
– Eckhart Tolle
“The ego is always looking to find something – the spirit can see what’s already there.”
– Marianne Willamson