Friday, 1 March 2013

What Is The Ego And What Do I Do With It?

Depending on who you talk to, the ego is defined in different ways. One point of view says the ego is no good and another says the ego is part of our human experience. Is the ego necessary? What are we to think?

One of these views is expressed in quite a few spiritual circles. They say we must get rid of the ego. This particular view of the ego sees the ego as an enemy, as a part of the self to shun. Perhaps this perspective is seeing the ego as similar to the definition of egotism as defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “a constant excessive reference to the self; conceit; selfishness.” It would include an “inflated feeling of pride or a reaction of superiority to others.” Some would say this kind of person is egotistical.

Psychologically the ego is not usually thought about in this way. According to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the ego is an aspect of personality of a human being. It mediates the demands of the other aspects of the personality called the id and the superego. The ego is the part of us that prevents us from acting on our basic urges or more primitive instincts that flow from the id and also works to achieve a balance with our moral and idealistic standards, coming from the superego. It is considered to be connected to the conscious as well as the unconscious parts of our psyche.

Could the ego be a mediator and conduit for who we are in our physical form in this life?

To take this a bit further, the ego could be thought of as a representative of our eternal self and together with our body, houses our soul. This interpretation of the ego is in a sense the self being aware of this self. It is the conscious sense of “who” we are right now and our identity as an individual. In its healed form, it can relax and allow our deeper self to sing the song that only we came to sing. It can be our self expression of a much larger unified context.

As our life mediator, the ego learned all it knows from our cultures, families and communities. Understanding and working with the ego as a part of this life’s conditioning is a helpful framework to hold around this part of us. Seeing the ego in its rightful place is one way to help us live in the largest context of 'God Consciousness', the Universe or whatever you call the deepest/highest Reality.

By Dr. Jennifer Howard

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