With the return to writing the first thing that I’d like to revisit is the concept of the ego in hopes of solidifying a clear, working definition in order to facilitate the greatest comprehension. For starters, this is not the ‘ego’ as outlined in psychoanalysis by Freud and Jung but rather is a more spiritual perspective that is referring to a self-identity, ‘character script’ with its likes, dislikes, attractions and aversions, and attachments all of which we believe is who we are, the ‘me’ and ‘I’. This ego identity is formed within our consciousness and to best understand the ego we must first clarify what is consciousness.
Consciousness: For all intents and purposes of this writing, consciousness refers to the soul, spirit, karmic inheritance, life force, or Qi/chi; they are all the conveying the same essence. In this human experience it is the accumulation of conscious experience of existence and therefore reflects an overall contextual awareness that has been learned throughout one’s seemingly separate existence from Divine Consciousness (the Collective – Oneness). Consciousness also refers to the infinite field of Creation as the Light of Life, however for the sake of this writing it will be primarily in reference to the personal sense of consciousness/a soul unless otherwise stated. Therefore, we can think of consciousness as the essence of life that illuminates and animates the human brain and thus the body. Furthermore, consciousness is the notion of an eternal soul that goes beyond the body and is not subject to death or birth.
With this defined we can now expand this definition to realize that consciousness is capable of “degrees of awareness” of itself, its context for life, and of Divinity. These degrees of awareness manifest on the physical plane as the endless expressions of form (physical life) on the earth or otherwise. The most limited degrees of awareness express itself as the minimum requirement for existence such as a single celled organisms that represent the building-blocks of life. As life began on the earth it was extremely basic and simple and had to begin acquiring energy from the external world in order to survive. As far as the emerging animal kingdom, the evolution of consciousness gave rise to the context of the personal ego/self that had to contend with ‘others’ and nature in order to survive. The use of the term ‘ego’ is referring to the sense of personal self and therefore the source/drive for survival that is inherited by all conscious beings in order to propagate life. The ego therefore is not an enemy, problem, or something ‘bad’, but rather is simply a biological inheritance that comes with being a conscious creation of life, human or otherwise. However, the ego’s proclivities are based on the degree of conscious awareness and responds accordingly. As consciousness evolves the nature of the ego becomes less aggressive and selfish in nature and takes on a more benign and harmonious approach to life. Animals representing these more expanded levels of awareness emerged with the advent of herbivores, maternal nurturing, pack/family loyalty, and cooperation.
Evolution of the Intellect
Eventually, with the emergence of early humans came the evolution and development of the intellect as the source of survival through its abilities of inspired tool making, inventions, and survival skills. The intellect’s ability to comprehend a context of life allowed humankind to be capable of experiencing an incredibly wide range of conscious awareness within the human family. It is this ability of having differing contexts for life that accounts for the vast spectrum of human behavior and differing perspectives we see on the earth today. The themes of consciousness within humans before evolving to a state of integrity are based in the primitive nature of the human animal focused on self-interest/selfishness, vindictiveness, disregard for the concern of others, and therefore seeing the external world and others as enemies to be contended with or manipulated and taken advantage of for one’s own gain. However, eventually this theme of consciousness was transcended in various cultures and tribes and humankind was able to begin to move into realms of group participation and cooperation thus bringing with it endless benefits from sharing common interests.
With the emergence of highly conscious beings on the earth their expanded awareness was able to help shift the collective consciousness into higher realms of overall awareness. Even though the conscious awareness of humanity has evolved relatively slow over thousands of years, as it reaches new heights the increase in Truth and lovingness with each advance is exponential in scale. Even the smallest amount of growth can be extremely powerful in the overall level of love and peace that it brings for self and all others. The evolution of consciousness is essentially the evolution of lovingness as the core of the selfish animal nature is transcended and our soul evolves into the purely selfless Self-Realized embodiment of Divine Love. It is at this point that Love itself becomes known to be the very essence that propagates the entire universe and is the source of all Creation.
The ego then can be thought of as simply a remnant and biological construct of self-identity that changes to match a being’s level of conscious awareness. The ego however, is not personal it is simply an inherited quality of being born human, or any other living creature of self-propagation. Therefore we can only have compassion toward it and its attachments rather than resentment or guilt. This is easy to understand as far as observing the human animal tendencies but when we add the fact that humans have the incredibly rare ability to understand context they therefore are enabled to ponder and seek their Source of Existence. This quality yields an incredibly resourceful ego that can also constantly evolve and become increasingly more sophisticated in nature as consciousness evolves.
Simplifying it into four primary groups, our ego self-identity first believes itself to be the human body/animal and therefore associates all sense of self as such. Thus, what we have, do, and biologically/genetically possess is very important and all lend to forming our sense of self. This range of awareness is quite obvious to notice manifested in society as those of us who are obsessed with materialism, physical vanity and dominance, and prestige. Everything pertaining to the physical form is therefore of absolute interest and is the source of all satisfaction and fulfillment in life. The identity on this level is the most basic, survival-oriented self and therefore a representation of our animal heritage and concerned with physical gratification/pleasures. As consciousness evolves this is seen to be limited and extremely lacking in fulfillment because it is bound by the physical world and in the physical world all things shall fade and pass. Out of body and near-death experiences are extremely helpful in facilitating a soul/consciousness to realize that the body is completely irrelevant as far as defining as lasting definition of who I am.
If destined to continue the identity then evolves to a state of associating itself primarily with the mind and therefore believes itself to be valued according to its knowledge and wisdom as an intellect. Consciousness at this point has realized that the body is extremely limiting as a sense of self and is therefore not possibly a true, everlasting self-identity. Thus, the ego shifts to its next idea of who it could really be. As the mind, the self-identity at this stage values everything regarding knowledge, intelligence, and the ability to think of things. It is therefore often obsessed with its own opinions and thoughts. Our identity at this stage can evolve to the state of intellectual and scientific genius but it is nevertheless missing out on the full potential of human life and still associated with form, duality, and Newtonian limitations such as causality. In general, the ego at this point associates itself with the idea that “I know” and therefore is the epitome of intellectual intrigue but when viewed from a higher perspective it is still simply grasping at smoke.
Next if consciousness continues to evolve due to spiritual exposure our ego-identity realizes that it is limited in its understanding and that the linear/scientific world can only go so far and there is more that is not being recognized and acknowledged. Humility and gratitude for our existence starts to have value and true love and appreciation emerges for the first time. Thus the ego moves into associating itself with the soul and therefore becomes ‘spiritualized’. Our ego’s identifying features and goals in the spiritual realms associates itself primarily with embodying unconditional love because we have realized our more eternal nature and therefore seek salvation and to create/seek heaven within. We at this point associate ourselves as a soul and begin to see the body/mind simply as a vessel for communication and only a transient form being used to express spiritual lessons/karma that need to be learned, understood, and healed in order to further our eternal progression. However, there is still an independent of Divinity, personal self clinging on at this point and therefore our sense of identity still hasn’t reached its full potential, although we are highly loving and accepting/forgiving at this point.
Next our ego identity evolves into its highest category within the human realm before enlightenment as an association within consciousness itself. This means that the ego has evolved to the realization that it is the observer/witness of life and therefore the body/mind is completely impersonal and unfolding of its own according to karmic alignment. Consciousness has essentially become conscious of itself and its unchanging presence in the background of all life’s experiences. This means that our ego has officially separated its sense of self from the human personality and realized that all of physical life is fleeting in nature and unfolding according to a much grander karmic alignment than is comprehensible. One could say that at this point the ego fully associates itself with the spirit/consciousness to the point that it realizes the body/mind is not personal (ie. who it is). Thus the sense of self at this point becomes very paradoxical in nature and signifies a shift into the realms of awakened or enlightened in which there is no longer any personal attachment to the persona/body-mind. Therefore, the ego has officially moved into its final stages within the human realm as an association within consciousness itself. Therefore the ego associates itself as a soul/essence of awareness completely and totally and releases any association or sense of self with the body/mind.
This is the point I’d like to temporarily stop at for now, for to go any further would be to venture into realms that are more or less beyond the scope of this conversation and can be found here if interested in continuing. For now the point is that our ego identities are ever evolving, increasingly sophisticated, and cunning set of belief systems that changes in concordance with our consciousness’ evolution of awareness. The ego’s belief systems of identity are an impersonal manifestation within consciousness that continues to associate itself with varying degrees of attachment to separate, independent identities and duality. To seek enlightenment then is to seek to transcend the ego and its beliefs in separation in order to realize the True Self as the Self-Realized mystic/avatar – Divinity Realized/Christ/Krishna/Buddha consciousness.
The Ego is Suffering
It is important to also see that the ego is suffering for it is the very source of all suffering to begin with. Without an attachment of identity there is no ‘one’ to suffer and nothing that would trigger suffering in the first place, all just simply would be, peacefully and perfect, As Is. The degree of the ego’s investments and attachments is in perfect agreement with our degree of suffering and happiness. For example, in the most closed-off ranges of human conscious awareness suffering is extreme and constant while happiness is completely absent. Contrarily, in the most expanded ranges of human conscious awareness suffering is absent and happiness and love are constant and increasingly ineffable in quality. As mentioned before, the evolution of consciousness is essentially the evolution of love and happiness. Therefore the only way to seek true happiness, love, fulfillment, and inner peace is to transcend the ego. The ego is the source of all suffering, for it is technically suffering itself.
To be devoted and dedicated to spiritual work and transcending the ego is the greatest and most noble service we could perform for ourself and as well as for all humanity. To transcend the ego is to awaken to eternal happiness and this happiness is then only perpetually shared with all humanity simply by our beingness/existence. This becomes apparent when we realize that all is connected through the Collective Field of Consciousness and therefore our personal growth is equally shared with all. To be devoted/dedicated to awakening to enlightenment is the most noble, charitable, and serviceable/loving thing we could dedicate our life to. We could say that the most loving thing we could do is seek our own happiness and liberation from suffering. The irony then, is that all we must do is love ourselves… the highest form of this being seeking enlightenment through transcending the limitations of the ego.
The irony only continues when we realize that the ego doesn’t exist in the first place, it is only a fabrication within consciousness that is only a temporary, fleeting, limited construct that we unknowingly agreed to because we were taught to. That is until a guru comes and expands our awareness with eye-opening Truth to ponder. In the meantime the ego must be accepted as real and then sought to be understood before we can ever transcend it. Hence we must master the con/ego’s tricks before we can transcend it. Upon Self-Realization all ego investment is seen to have been a dream or perhaps a period of forgetfulness and we wonder how it was ever believed in the first place. The obviousness of Truth becomes completely self-evident and with the limiting self-identity dissolved there is only eternal happiness, love, gratitude, and serenity in the background of all our experiences. All searches have ended and one is eternally home in the comfort of Divine Peace. It is the essence of ineffable love itself.
Let’s ponder these things for now and see what arises. As always, know you are loved beyond measure and are absolutely perfect in every moment. There is no measure to your glory for you are truly divine and accepted always and forever. All is exactly as it should be and couldn’t be any other way. All only unfolds for the greatest good and progression of all beings interconnected. It is therefore acceptance, gratitude, and surrender that are the fundamental core of our greatest power.
May you find what it is you are seeking.
Peace and Love always-