Your ego is a false idea about what and who you are. It is an idea you took over from other people.
Babies don’t have egos. But they start to get one as soon as they realise they have a name. As soon as you have a name you develop the delusion that you have an identity separate from other people. But, in reality, your sense of who you are is defined by your relationships with those same people – ‘son’, ‘daughter’, ‘pupil’, ‘friend’, victim’, etc. Your ego is like a distorting mirror held up to you by the people around you. And when you start to ‘see’ yourself as others see you, you start trying to live up to the expectations that those others have formed about you.
For example, your parents and teachers speak about you as ‘the shy one’, ‘the noisy one’, ‘the brainy one’, ‘the stupid one’, ‘the sporty one’. After persistent indoctrination you start to identify yourself by these concepts.
If the ego that was handed to you was all about having to be a high-achiever then your ego will condemn you to a life of failure because, no matter how clever, successful and hard-working you are, you will never match the ideal you have been set.
If your ego is based on the idea that you are stupid, ugly, or worthless then you are also condemned to a life of failure. Simply because each time you identify with your ego you will act according to expectations.
The Ego is based on frustration. No matter how hard you try, you will never live up to the engrained demands which it carries.
What is worse, the Ego will repress, dismiss or delete your your emotions, your basic needs and your personal genius in the misguided pursuit of ego-strokes – flattery, approval, status, power, or lurve.
Identifying with the Ego creates anxiety and dis-ease – the pre-symptomatic state in which Headmind splits from Bodymind and you are no longer living in your body, in the moment, acting spontaneously as your experience dictates. You become alienated from yourself, from others, and from life itself.
But there is a solution. Next up, I will be writing about how to discard your ego.
‘Wherever I climb, I am followed by a dog named ‘Ego‘.