Step Away from the Negative Ego
The ego is so maligned because it is understood primarily through its darker side – this is exacerbated by the way you are raised, especially in the Western world. The need to be right all of the time (i.e. not being allowed to make mistakes); constant competition with others in relation to wealth, status, education, career, looks etc (i.e. the need to feel or be superior to others); manipulation; fear-based actions…these are all detrimental ego behaviors which often arise from a sense of insecurity or ‘not being good enough.’ For some this way of life is clung to simply because it is so familiar. These negative qualities of the ego cannot be extinguished altogether but they can be minimized by shifting your focus to the true purpose of this facet of yourSelf.
The Servant of the Soul
Your ego (along with your body) kicks in when you are in physical danger by accessing the ‘fight or flight response’. This means that you will either run for your life or stay and attack whoever is threatening you, if this is possible. The ego works in a similar way when alerting you to more subtle dangers, such as the possibility of doing business with someone who seems somewhat ‘slippery’. This awareness may start at the intuitive level but it is the ego that will do the research required to back up this hunch. For example, you may do a Google search of the potential business partner and find something dubious in his background. Even if you don’t find anything, you may still have a nagging feeling that prompts you to investigate further, such as, undertaking a police background check or even hiring a private detective.
The ego also works on a psychological level (through the left/conscious brain) to protect you from traumatic and painful events via denial and repressed memories. On a day-to-day basis, it filters out the millions of pieces of information that bombard your senses by allowing only a few fragments of stimuli to enter your awareness. If you were conscious of everything all of the time you would go mad! So, thank the ego for keeping you sane.
The ego is also instrumental in most areas of life simply because action needs to be taken in a physical world. Getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, eating, looking presentable, cleaning your home, taking out the trash, driving to work or to school or to daycare. On a larger scale, major life goals, which are related to your soul’s purpose, also require much planning and preparation that the ego helps bring to life – this begins at the thinking level all the way to organizing funding, making appointments, writing, meeting people and so on.
Embracing your Ego
Your ego plays a significant role in maintaining your survival and fulfilling your mission on this Earth. Underlying this however, is a sense of self-importance that many ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’ folk frown upon. Self-importance does not necessarily equal selfishness and arrogance. If you didn’t have any sense of pride (i.e. dignity) why would you bother brushing your hair or teeth or setting boundaries with those who exploit you? If you were to sit or lie around all day contemplating your navel (i.e. meditating) you wouldn’t get anything done. So…love your ego and it will serve you but remember that yours is not the only ego in existence.