Many spiritual teachers have said that all life is suffering, and most wonder what is the ego that causes this. Certainly as we look at conditions worldwide, we see much suffering and we may question if a way out of this dilemma exists.
We seem relentlessly programmed to make choices and decisions that lead us into further suffering. Circumstances that lead to pain often seem beyond our control. What is the ego that causes all of that.
Our experience tells us that we have many different parts to ourselves which are in conflict with each other. Sometimes we are afraid and sometimes we feel secure. Sometimes we are angry and sometimes we are calm. Sometimes we are discouraged and sometimes we are positively hopeful.
It is likely that you have heard that we have a higher self, a transcendent self, a subconscious mind, a super-conscious mind, an aura, and a soul. The apparent separation of each of these elements is actually only a perception of separation, and that perception is the actual cause of the suffering and pain that people experience.
One way to experience this shift in awareness is through meditation which provides a way to connect with the field and consciousness of creation, and a way to listen to the voice of inner guidance that emanates from the infinite divine presence.
What is THE EGO?
The confusion that clouds our experience of this arises from the fact that there are fundamentally two major components of who and what you are. The part of you that you naturally think of as “yourself” is the personality which has developed since you were born.
The personality is formed from traits you acquired from your parents and from your experiences. Underlying the personality are many sub-identities with traits which are mostly composed of beliefs and emotional reactions. This collection of identities and reactions collectively comprise the ego.
The ego is the aspect of who you think you are that was developed over time, living in states of separation from your soul. The ego is driven by many defenses to protect itself from whatever it perceives as a threat to its security, comfort, or existence.
Most of the traits that you think of as being fundamentally human are actually defensive characteristics of the ego. These include emotional reactions, beliefs, judgments, criticism, and blame. The ego relies on survival strategies to cope with the many threats it perceives due to its view of separation.
Although all people have similar reactions and defense mechanisms, each person develops a unique style and preference for particular defenses. Be this as it may, the underlying core similarities are recognizable.
THERE IS MORE TO YOU THAN THE EGO
Beneath the surface experiences of the ego is the deep part of you that is always aware of its connection to the divine source of love and light. It is present with you now at this very moment, but with most people it normally operates below the level of conscious awareness.
This is the soul or true self, also called the higher self, the divine presence, enlightened consciousness, awakened self, and many other names.
What defines your spiritual evolution is the gradual bringing to the surface of your awareness of the true self. As it emerges more and more, it gradually integrates its awareness into the perceptions of the ego. This soul-merging process erases the sense of separation and, therefore, the ego’s defenses fade away. This process continues until the ego’s traits completely dissolve.
Whatever role the ego plays for you can be replaced and managed better by your true self or soul, and this is what makes awakening and spiritual enlightenment a process rather than a destination.
Because time is required to get in touch with the many overt and subtle aspects of the ego, its dissolution leading to the emergence of the true self may take time.
The good news is that once a person becomes aware of these truths, the process proceeds much more rapidly. Meditation enables you to disconnect from the realm of the five senses and the perceptions of the ego and open to your inner realities and soul connections in ways the five senses could never provide. I call this process The Soul Solution which is the title of my book.