Understanding “Ego” in Today’s Spiritual Times

Bodies and minds will always be subject to the sway of nature, which makes possible the diversities of life and was never meant to be destroyed or got rid of. The word “ego” traditionally represents awareness completely identified with mind and body, therefore the emphasis is placed on the preservation of complex ideologies and the perpetuation of pleasurable sensations. It can go to great lengths to carry out this mission, while justifying subtle or gross acts of violence; either internally against oneself or externally against the “other.” We are all familiar with this definition of ego; and this particular entity does need to go and the idea of destroying it is correct.

What happens after this destruction? I can tell you from experience that there is a personality that remains with seemingly similar attributes of the former ego. Many in the spiritual community still call this ego and therefore say “do not destroy the ego” etc. Right. We do not want to destroy this particular ego that is healthy and functional, as it must be present for practical affairs; but it is important to make a distinction if we are going to use the same word for two very different entities.

The truth is the latter is an evolved version of the former, so they are both “ego” but have two very different effects within the scheme of things. The evolved version is not compelled by self–preservation alone but is under the sovereignty of a balancing principle which can’t but act in the direction of bringing homeostasis to all minds and bodies under all situations without acceptation. This balancing principle is sought by the dysfunctional ego which acts as a catalyst for its own evolution after it catches small glimpses coupled with the realization that it is “me” who stands in the way of experiential grace flowing through my life. Here ego offers itself to the living fire of evolution which turns out to be Love itself and evolves this ego into a servant; where it forever stays prostrated at the foot of its maker.

-Atreya Thomas

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