What your ego is and how to stop it from obscuring your inner peace and unconditional love
The origin of the ego
Where did your ego come from? It was developed to interact with the world, or you could say the world left it there. The countless number of blotches that make up your ego was all left there by life.
There are many different blotches that make up the ego. Let’s see how one of these could have formed. Perhaps as a child your baby-sitter used to physically beat you. The event left a blotch; one of many that ultimately made up your current ego. What is the result? Perhaps you automatically dislike every woman who reminds you of her, or perhaps you now adopt beatings as a standard practice for every child that is “naughty”.
That would be a relatively big part of your ego, but even minor preferences I dont like cold weather and even the good things can stem from your ego. What do I mean? If you donate money to someone in need out of kindness, that is not egoic behaviour. If you donate and hope to be recognised by someone as a great, kind soul, then that stems from your ego.
The ego affects how you perceive, and how you react
The ego now covers your consciousness, and it filters everything you sense and do. Its like trying to look through a pair of glasses that has been splashed with different colours of paint you cant see anything the way they truly are.
And since every ego has been shaped by different events, this also means you will never see anything the same way as someone else. This is the reason two people can look at the same event and have different interpretations; the reason one person can remain unaffected by an event while another falls into depression because of it.
Lets take an imaginary married couple, John and Vivian. They have a business together. One day the business goes broke and they lose all their savings. John might have come from an abundant family he grew up believing that money comes easily and naturally. He handles the blow well his ego filters the event and tells him that money will come back soon enough. Vivian might have been brought up to believe money is hard to come by; she despairs and crumbles. Same event, different reaction.
These filters affect even the small things. If John and Vivian saw an unfamiliar man and woman arguing, their automatic assumptions would kick in. John might assume the woman cheated on the man. Vivian might think the man beats up the woman in private. The truth might be something else entirely but it doesnt matter their history and ego automatically kicks in and tells them a story.
Identification with objects
That is one part of the ego. The pain they can cause is obvious. But theres another part that is the source of much of our misery.
What am I talking about? The egos identification with objects, people, and groups.
Have you ever seen a child and her newest doll? When you take the toy away from her, she cries and will do anything to get it back. But a few days later she gets a new toy and now she couldnt care less what happens to the old one. What is the difference? Then, the toy was a part of her ego it was hers. When you took the toy away, it was the lessening of the ego that caused the pain, not the loss of the toy itself.
And it is the same with us. As we grow older, the toy loses importance. Now its our hot girlfriend, our handsome husband, our house on the beach, our bank account.
It is not just material objects often times the ego also identifies with the body especially if the body is strong or attractive. Other common forms of identification would be social status or reputation.
Im not saying that having these are wrong; but just dont become identified with them. The moment you do, you plant the seed of suffering. Nothing is permanent; chances are you will lose it, whatever it is. You know youve begun to identify with something the moment you feel any discomfort, no matter how minor, at the thought of losing it.
Once the ego has identified with it, it is as much a part of the ego as our arm is a part of our body. And taking it away from the ego is as painful to the psyche as ripping our arms off. The ego has lost a part of itself.
This is the reason people kill themselves over lost love they have so completely identified themselves with their lover that losing them left the ego with nothing.
This is the reason the beauty industry makes so much money millions of women have identified themselves with their looks, or somehow tie their inherent value with their outer appearance.
This is the reasonwellalmost everything in the world is the way it is. Ego is the standard and the norm.
And worst of all, the ego is never satisfied for long. No matter what your goals are, youll only gain a temporary satisfaction from achieving it then your ego will force you to go out and seek more. Even if you became the best in the world at what you want, your ego wont be satisfied for more than a brief period. This means you will never be at peace you will always be seeking.