The ego is the part of us that identifies with our body and the personality of ourself. The ego is the little ‘I’ which thinks thoughts such as: “I am good.” “I am bad,” “I’m much better than that person,” “I am inferior to everyone else”.
Previously, I looked at how to reduce the influence of the ego. In this article I thought I would look at reasons why it is a good idea to reduce the ego.
Ego is Caught in the duality of good and bad
For every good thought, there is an equal and opposite idea. For example, when we have a tremendous sense of pride, we feel an equal measure of humiliation when our pride is punctured. When the ego criticises other people, the ego feels an equal measure of guilt when the roles are reversed. To avoid feelings of inadequacy, we should not seek to just avoid doing the wrong thing, we should also seek to reduce our ego; it is this that will enable us to detach from feelings of pride and humiliation.
Ego knows no Peace
When we live in the ego, we always will find inner peace an elusive goal. The reason is that the ego constantly worries and doubts. When we are subject to these thoughts a lasting peace cannot take hold. To attain peace of mind, we need to let go of the ego and live in the here and now. See also Seven steps to inner peace
Ego lacks a sense of oneness
The ego likes to be loved, appreciated and adored. But, in the love of the ego, there is an expectation of receiving things in a certain way. When the ego loves it is about possession. It wants to hold on to and own another person. The love of the ego is conditional; it gives in expectation of receiving something in return. True love is about creating a sense of oneness with other people. When we identify with others to such an extent they no longer feel separate from ourselves, we will can give without expectation. But, this experience cannot be achieved through identifying with the ego.
The ego can never be perfect
From the ego’s perspective the secret of life is to always do the right thing and be the right person. The problem is that this is impossible; it is simply human nature that we make mistakes. There will be times when the ego will inevitably feel disappointed. The solution is not to avoid ever making a mistake; the solution is to reduce the ego, so we can enjoy life, even if we don’t live up to the high expectations of the ego.
It is the Ego that divides.
Conflict arises because we feel separated from other people. We see others as the enemy and therefore we feel threatened by them. The ego may not like to admit it, but it constantly doubts and worries about what people think. The ego identifies with our limited self and so this inevitably leads to feelings of Inadequacy. From this feeling of inadequacy the ego gains a desire to assert its superiority. This leads to displays of outer strength. This desire to assert supremacy is a constant source of conflict in the world. If we could let go of the desire to prove our strength and supremacy, a peaceful co-existence would be much easier.
The ego is Nearly Always wrong.
Analyse what your thoughts say about yourself. The ego is tricky because sometimes it likes to make us think we are really good; the ego gives us a false sense of pride and superiority. At other times, the ego can swing to the other extreme and make us feel miserable and hopeless. Neither extremes are true, the ego often likes to trick us into thinking we are the wisest person; but, it is similarly wrong when it makes us feel miserable for a tiny mistake. Holding both extreme views about ourselves encourages us to have a misplaced idea of what we are; both lead to unhappiness.
Photo: Yellow Mountain by Atulya, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries