That part of the human mind that many see as the cause of fear, addictions, crime, disease, wars, and pretty much all types of suffering in the world.
What exactly is this "Ego" that so many spiritual gurus talk about?
Why do so many regard it in such a negative light?
Better yet, if it is so bad, how do we transcend it?
My current understanding of ego goes like this:
Everything that exists in this world is made up of energy. Even Einsteins formula, e=mc squared shows that energy is all there is.
So if you imagine this universal energy like light shooting out in all directions to brighten up a whole room, we as individuals are like highly focused beams of light brightening up a small area (think of a laser pointer) .
We have some degree of control over the focus too. When we are very "mind-identified", we are looking out for our own survival and possibly even at the cost of other's well-being. We see ourselves as individuals separate from each other and from life, meaning our laser beam is extremely highly focused.
Ego is the thoughts that come through us that identify us as an individual.
As we connect to universal "source" energy, we begin to merge with all of existence, as if the laser beam is reducing its focus to become more general. This often happens when we reach meditative states, are "in the zone", or achieve peak experiences in sports.
In these states, we are more ego-less; we are everything. It's like the saying that athletes repeat while playing; "I am the ball."
Creation seems to happen through an ebb and flow between the two states.
People experience discomfort if they become too highly focused, too identified as individuals who are separate from source energy; too much in the ego.
They forget that we are all of the same light, we are just focused in different directions, with different lenses.
So in this sense, our minds are tools for us to focus our energy and life experience in order to help create more effectively.
In today's world, we live in the information age. Many describe it as the "attention economy"; we are constantly exposed to large amounts of news, advertising, scientific discoveries, education and more through television, radio, and especially the internet.
In an effort to function with all this information, our minds filter things out for us. They create meaning, save it to memory, and then move on to the next thing. We can call this a "thought program". If a similar situation arises again, the mind references the memory and then runs the old program to determine its meaning in order to save mental energy.
For example, when you were a kid, one day you probably looked up at the sky in awe as a giant machine flew through the air with a loud noise. You later found out that the machine was called an airplane and that it flew through the air with people inside. Perhaps the next few times one flew by, you pointed and said "airplane."
Your mind began creating a program for an "airplane flying overhead" so that eventually you would hear the plane flying for a split second and then the program in your mind would run and you would filter out the whole experience so that it was almost completely out of your awareness. This way, you would be able to focus on more important things like your homework or hanging out with friends.
The problem that many of us have in today's world of information is that there are so many things we give our attention to, our entire life becomes a series of programs that run inside out mind.
We no longer experience life, we only experience thought programs.
This is why so many spiritual leader stress the Power of Now. It is in the moment that you experience life. It is in being present to the moment that you find your power, your happiness, and your connection to universal energy. The present is all you have.
The degree to which you are in the present moment is the degree to which you feel alive.
So how can we tell if our life is becoming a series of thought programs that occur in our mind?
We will feel less connected to source energy.
This will manifest itself as disease (especially cancer), depression, a lack of purpose, a general feeling of unhappiness, a view of the world as a scary or dark place, blame towards God or others, low self-esteem, a scarcity or win/lose mentality, constant judgment and criticism of self and others, constantly experiencing unpleasant people or events, and just about any other negative state of being you can think of.
Do you know why things become boring or routine? It's because one has been doing the same things over and over until they are only experiencing programs and not the actual thing anymore.
So what is the way out of it?
One way is through what's called A Course In Miracles. The course itself, contains three parts: The Text, The Workbook, and the Teacher's Manual.
The part that I recommend is the workbook. It has been highly recommended by David Hawkins and many others as the path to healing addictions, physical disease, and many other mental and emotional disorders.
The workbook is not a typical book that explains concepts for you to understand. It is a series of 365 short lessons that walk you through mental processes that will help you come to sudden realizations to transcend the ego.
It doesn't give you the answers directly as much as lead you down a path so that you can realize the answers yourself.
It's sort of like Zen koans:
For centuries, secret doctrines of Zen learning have been transmitted from master to disciple in the form of seemingly absurd riddles called koans. Intense meditation upon these is said to lead to enlightenment.
Zen, of which the koan exercise is a tool, is a Japanese sect of Buddhism, which in spite of having masters and monasteries believes paradoxically that nothing can be taught.
The logical mind is considered to be the greatest stumbling block on the way to satori (enlightenment or a sudden a-ha), as is evident from this koan: A monk was asked to discard everything. "But I have nothing," he exclaimed. "Discard that too!" ordered his master.
The workbook contains a lesson a day for a full year. Each lesson requires only a minute or two to read and that you do few simple mental exercises.
It is recommended that you read an introduction to prepare you for the workbook course. David Hawkins recommend to not use the Course in Miracles Text as the introduction as he says it views ego in a slightly negative light.
If you are new to spiritual concepts such as the ego, then you will probably want to read something like The Peaceful Warrior, The Power of Now, or A New Earth to get a good foundation before you begin.
The reason is because when we start, the ego may convince you that "I don't need to do this exercise" or "this course seems too weird" or some other rationalization that will stop your progress.
Also, be aware that this course uses common religious terms such as God, Christ, and Salvation. I can understand if you have some resistance to those terms and religion in general. This course is aimed at conveying universal spiritual truths to those who are familiar with the Christian Religion.
So if you have yet to make peace with those words, I suggest that you perform TAT on any negative past experiences with religion, parents, authorities, or beliefs that still bother you. For instance, you can simply hold the TAT pose and say the word "God." Then do it again for "Jesus", "Christianity", etc until they no longer give you a negative emotional charge.
To begin the course, simply enter your name and email address at the bottom of this post and you will receive a lesson a day for the next year. The email system I use sends them out at intervals that are roughly 1 day apart with a day break before every 10th lesson (in case you fall behind).
If you have already started the course, simply choose the lesson you want to start on and you will begin there. (You can also view each lesson via the website here).
I have only just started the course about a month ago but am having some profound realizations already. Supposedly by lesson 80 or so you may experience sudden physical healings as well.
Make sure you are committed to undertake this and willing to face your ego. Best wishes on your journey and be sure to post any comments about your experiences below.
By the way, here is a video that gives you a good idea of the benefits people receive after taking the course. It's taken from an upcoming documentary about the success of A Course In Miracles:
Enter your details below to begin:
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