Have you ever wondered what the “ego” really is?
I don’t mean Freud’s id/ego/superego. I’m talking about how common it is for spiritual writings to describe how important it is to move away from the ego and into higher realms, the more expanded places of spirit. This has seemed vague to me—I know it’s not a good thing to be ego-based, to let my ego control me, to live from my ego. But it’s kind of like Timbuktu: it’s out there somewhere (or rather, in here), but where exactly is the ego? And how would I know it if I saw it??
One of my favorite images is of seeing David Hawkins (the author of Power vs. Force and many other provocative and paradigm-changing works) addressing this issue on stage during a lecture. Here was this skinny man in his mid-seventies, walking back and forth on stage, holding a teddy bear. “Here you are, my little ego,” he cooed lovingly. “You are the big trouble-maker, but really you’re just doing the best you can, aren’t you?? [kiss, kiss]”
I suddenly understood. The ego is that part of us that comes from our threatened animal self. It’s who we are when we go contracted, when we pull in, when “something happens” and we shift into our automatic state of response to threat.
Since that moment, I’ve further developed my understanding of this perspective on the ego . If you go download my Inner Map here, you’ll see that any state that exists Below the Line is our ego selves. That means any “negative” emotional state (meaning any state that uses up energy) like mad, sad, or scared is actually the human equivalent of animal threat brain, or Reactive Brain. Since humans create from whatever state we’re in, getting caught in the ego, in Reactive Brain, means that we’re likely to stay in the vortex of whatever vibration we’re in. That’s what the sages have been warning us about, that we go into Reactive Brain and then get stuck there, believing the contracted reality that we’re creating.
I want to take a moment to echo David Hawkins, to send out compassion to every human’s ego/Reactive Brain. We’re all doing the best we can with the brain we were born with, a brain that is designed to instantly protect us from danger. As we begin to love this part of us, we can help it gently remove its grip over us. And the teddy bear can transmute from being a slathering beast into a cuddly companion.
The RIDE (Relationships Ignite Dreams and Empowerment) Program begins 9/28/12. For more information, go here.