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Ego - What Is It?

By Cynthia Bampton

Today ego is a word that is used by many people and it can mean many different things. The way we use the word 'ego' at the Awakened Life Project is a very simple definition that is easy to grasp but difficult to remember sometimes!


At this time in history most of us live our lives from a deep conviction that 'I am separate from the other' and 'It’ is not possible for me - 'The "it' I am referring to can be anything from Freedom is not possible for me, happiness is not possible for me to I can't quit smoking, I can't have a loving relationship, to I can’t be what I desire to be etc. Believing these ‘ideas’ is a position of limitation and thus is a position of ego.

Ego is in everyone and its agenda is always the same. Taking the position of ego always holds us back from being a full expression of Consciousness, fulfilling our potential, living a life of Unity and Love with ourselves and others. Taking a position of ego is why we suffer and why we cause others to suffer.

We are at the point in evolution where we are becoming conscious that we are conscious and part of becoming conscious is to embrace the truths of non-separation and our unlimited potential. But to succeed in living a life of unity and unlimited possibilities we must also understand and become aware that there is a counterforce that doesn’t want us to wake up to these truths and this force is what we call ego.

So why does taking a position of ego cause us to suffer? There are two basic reasons. The first is because deep down inside we all know that we are ONE CONSCIOUSNESS and we deeply crave this Unity. We feel a longing to be together but our daily experience much of the time is to one of isolation and limitation. We don’t know what to do and everyone else seems to feel the same so we end up telling ourselves that ‘this is just the way it is’. But somewhere deep down we know that this is ‘not the way it should be, something else is possible.’

It is this impulse in all of us that knows that something else is possible; it drives us to reach beyond on almost ongoing experience of separation. But most of the time we are not conscious of this drive of positivity as our attention is on our suffering. So the cycle of suffering continues.

So take a moment and stop right now and put your attention inside and find a part of yourself that is very still and seems to be more YOU than anything else you know. You may experience it as something that is very reliable, something you can always count on even though you can’t touch it or see it or grasp it with your mind. This is the source of your being.

In todays society usually we are moving so fast and we are so habitually standing in a place of separation and isolation that we just accept that we are separate, isolated and alone. Speed is one of the ways that ego entices us to unconsciously maintain this separation. We lose touch with our own heart, the other beings, the planet, etc. But if we chose to slow down as we usually do in times of crisis this truth is realized again. Was it gone when we were so busy and moving so fast? No, we just chose to ignore it out of addiction to the movement of ego.

And what else happens when we hold ourselves separate? This position gives us the opportunity and capacity to do mean, nasty and sometimes violent things to each other and not feel the impact of our actions. This disconnection from the truth of One Consciousness gives us permission to do these things, not feel the effect and do them again. How many times have you spoken behind someone’s back, how many times have you lashed out at others when they didn’t agree with you? How many times have you seen a homeless person on the street and you walked past them without even a thought or you may have thought ‘what a bum that person is.’ So ask yourself ‘Do I allow myself to feel the impact of my actions on another person or am I more interested in seeing myself in a good light? Am I am more interested in being right then I am in being together? If I see I have acted harshly do I find it difficult to take responsibility and say ‘I’m sorry’?’

We all have an ego so don’t be disappointed in yourself if you are starting to see that you take a position of separation or limitation without realizing it. The good news is that if you start to become conscious of the movement of ego in yourself then you can start to make different choices. You can stop causing suffering to yourself and others by participating in Unity Consciousness instead of Ego consciousness.

To build a culture beyond ego we must embrace the whole picture. The ego will never be interested in you being a free expression of Consciousness, a free expression of your True Self. It's agenda is exactly the opposite as it survival depends on isolation, separation and limitation not unity and unlimited potential. This is easy to understand intellectually but very difficult to embrace and to live. Why? Because we are so identified with Ego consciousness as who we are that many times we end up having compassion for ego in the very moment that we are breaking free of it.

When we make choices to be One with ourselves and others, the part of us (ego) that doesn’t want this will start to make noise. It may say something like, ‘Are you sure you want to come together with that person, they have hurt you in the past? Or you may experience fear when you are doing something new or making yourself vulnerable to another. You may experience the voice of the ego saying, ‘Oh you better think about this more before you try it.” This voice is the voice of ego that wants to maintain control, it is not personal and it is not coming from the part of you that craves Unity and Love.

In the moments when you are reaching for something higher or attempting to do something different you may become conscious of this voice of limitation and fear in your own experience. This is the moment to see through the illusion of ego consciousness, to recognize that this is not YOU. In this moment you can to choose to do something different because you are not identified with the ego’s agenda as your agenda. You can choose to line up with the agenda of Love and Truth. You can liberate yourself from ego consciousness through your own conscious participation!

The movement of ego is in everyone. It can be very difficult to see it in ourselves and this is why we need each other. The only way to see the movement of ego in ourselves is to have a firm conviction that we want to be free of it and to find others that are interested in the same thing. This is the new culture that the ALP wants to create. A culture where we take responsibility for ourselves (both the good and the bad) and we care enough about this new culture to support the other to do the same thing!

God (or we as God) has created the perfect system to bring Unity into this world, into our lives. If we are willing to follow our own authentic desire to be together, to not separate, to evolve then in that moment we are the solution to all that is wrong in this world. In the moment we chose non-separation we are being real time expressions of Unity Consciousness.

Is ego a problem? No, not from this perspective as ego consciousness is the evolutionary driver that pushes us to transcend ego consciousness. We suffer because we take the position of separation and limitation and identify with the fears and desire of the ego as ourselves. But it is this suffering that pushes us to reach for something more. This something more is the truth of UNITY that we know to be true deep in ourselves. ‘The so called problem of ego’ points us to this Truth. So let’s get interested in seeing this impersonal movement of ego in ourselves, lets get interested in stopping the suffering we cause to ourselves and other and let’s get interested in being together in a completely different way.

There is a lot to say and understand about the movement of ego. This article is an attempt to open up the dialog!


Click here to read a post from Sara Silva entitle Ego's Funeral.



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The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


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