What is the Ego? And why is there so much fuss about it among the health and wellness folks? Is it really such a villain? I’ve read many different authors and spoken to lots of different teachers and guides about this exact subject, and I still don’t have a totally concrete answer. But I think I’ve been able to sort through it all and distill it down to a more simple truth: Ego is the absence of Spirit.
Now what does that really mean? Does it mean that if you have an ego, and act from a place of ego, that you’re not spiritual? Nope – we’re all spiritual. We’re all souls at the heart of our essence. Ego is the personality of the body, expressing itself on earth, and disregarding the true essence of our souls: Divine Energy.
A lot of what I’ve read suggests that in order to live a fulfilling life, the two are mutually exclusive and cannot co-exist. In fact, many of the people I consider to be mentors advise letting go of ego entirely. It’s what’s worked for them. And it works for millions of people worldwide. I’m quite sure the Dalai Lama has let go of his ego. But boy, is that a difficult thing to do. I’ve been struggling with it myself for years now – but I think the struggle is over. Why? Because I’m accepting that I don’t need to let go of my ego; I need to acknowledge it. I need to honor it, acknowledge it and accept it. And in validating its presence, it will no longer hold sway over my life – which, actually, is a form of letting go.
Let me explain: my ego – our egos – have protected us. They have served a purpose, and they have taught us well. They have shielded us from harm, and allowed us to make decisions that put us directly in harm’s way, in order to learn what we need to learn in this lifetime. Our egos have helped us to create the building blocks we need in order to grow and awaken to our true essence. Without them, we would be wandering aimlessly on a path that we didn’t know existed, and in a state of ignorance that may or may not be bliss. Here’s the catch, though: Our egos, once they’ve served their purpose and we’ve learned their role, no longer serve us. Once we’re at a point where we are awake enough to move forward without their protective layers and filters, we need to shed them like a snake skin we’ve outgrown. And that’s ok. It’s healthy. But when something has helped you, do you choose to work really hard to ignore it, toss it aside, and pretend it didn’t exist, until you get to a point where it doesn’t exist? Or, do you choose, instead, to honor it, thank it, and allow it to move on all on its own, naturally, and peacefully? Again, it’s a choice. I admit, I initially chose the former – at times begging the Universe to release me from my ego. It didn’t work. Why would it?
Instead, I now see the simplicity of releasing it through love, and honor. Validating its role in my life, and thanking it for keeping me safe and bringing me my lessons to get me this far. Now that I am more awake, I can take it from here. In a way, I realize that I need to treat my ego like an old friend – a faithful old friend – not a villain. Many authors/teachers may disagree with me, but that’s fine. This is my experience – perhaps it’s yours too. For me, the ego only becomes a “villain” in our lives when we allow it to, by giving it the power to distract us from our true essence.
So, while there are many perspectives on the ego’s role in our lives, I’ve added one more to the mix. I still agree and accept that the ego, by definition, is the absence of Spirit. However, I don’t like vilifying it to the extent that we create an urgency to relinquish it. The ego has been a helpful partner, and needs to be dealt with as such. But as everything has its time – it’s ok to part ways, even with the most helpful of partners. In fact, parting ways is a sign of true progress and growth, because it symbolizes a return to our essence, our spirit. With that return comes humility, grace and peace. All blessings, if you ask me. And without the ego distracting us from our purpose, these blessings have even more room to grow and flourish.
So, thank your old friend. Offer it your gratitude for keeping you safe and bringing you your lessons, and allow it to go peacefully, happy in knowing it served its purpose. By loving your ego, you will set it free. Then you will truly know what it is to live in Spirit – as your Divine self – open to your life’s purpose.
In Love & Light,