The Ego Has Many Facets But You Can Recognize It

By | September 10, 2023

For most people, it is difficult to recognize the ego — their attempt to do so makes them confused. But I noticed that if you persist enough, you’ll understand how tricky the ego is and how it operates. The ego is a very sophisticated, complex mechanism, so it must be observed. There’s no other way around it; only through observation, you can grasp the ego in its essence.

You might read books about the ego and feel like you have a concise understanding of it. You don’t. Reading won’t get you far enough if you don’t inquire into it. But before trying to get to the bottom of the ego, some serious consciousness work is necessary. I recommend you do some consciousness work so that you can raise your level of awareness.

There are many ways in which you can grow in consciousness. I think you heard about meditation, or about doing concentration exercises. It doesn’t matter what you prefer as long as you have the discipline to do it — focusing your attention on your breath or on various objects counts as consciousness work. You develop a one-pointed mind, in which laser-beam focus becomes available to you. And that will make you more conscious, allowing you to notice what you previously couldn’t. It is like having access to a new dimension of being, seeing stuff that wasn’t available to you earlier.

As you continue to observe yourself — namely what occurs in the back of your mind — you notice some processes that have nothing to do with you: compulsive thoughts, emotions, sensations, or mental states that are somehow uncomfortable; all these arise in your conscious awareness. The more you observe yourself, the bigger your spatial awareness will be, and the easier it’ll be for you to recognize whatever appears in your awareness.

Emotions are a facet of the ego. If someone makes you uncomfortable, realize that it is not the person out there that’s the cause of your uncomfortableness. That awkward feeling occurs on the inside, and it is a manifestation of the ego.

A compulsive thought is also a facet of the ego. How many compulsive thoughts do you have daily? I bet you have countless thoughts.

An impulse is part of the ego. You might have a craving for sugar or junk food. That impulse won’t go away unless you recognize it as being part of your egoic identity. And even then, it will still be with you until you relinquish it — it might take you years to let go of a strong impulse because it was deeply ingrained in you.

Your body — which is your identity form — is the ego. You can slowly relinquish your identification with the body. Nothing will happen so don’t be scared of such an idea; you won’t lose anything. Even after transcending the body, it will function normally, and you will be in touch with it, enjoying it in its depth.

The ideas you have around people affect your worldview and create an ego. Any judgment is self-judgment, and therefore ego. If you happen to judge people, ask yourself: “Why am I having so many thoughts around this person?” How does it affect me, knowing that I use a lot of my mental energy to form my opinions around others? Since judging others deeply affects my worldview, why do I do it?

A necessary exercise is to notice what’s happening in the back of your mind — the compulsive thoughts you have as byproducts of your negative emotions, judgments, and beliefs — and recognize that as an egoic activity. You can even label a compulsive thought as ego. Or a burst of negative emotions as ego. Whatever is troublesome to you is part of the ego.

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” ― Eckhart Tolle

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