The Struggle of the Ego
Getting Off the Roller Coaster
Though this book is born of complex issues, it's rational is founded in the belief that the complications of life, (which all to often stem from the complications that we put into our lives), have answers which are revealed in simplicity. One of the most profound source of answers lies in our personal or Inner Truth. Within this Truth, resides our freedom. This truth is most easily revealed by developing intuition.
To simplify for discussion purposes, we could say that there are only two emotions, that being Love and Fear, (all others are simply subtle variations), but when they are seen in the light of a quiet frame of mind, fear begins to reduce its strangle-hold over us as we separate our Truth from a fearful and confused state of mind.
This process then brings to the forefront of our thinking the things that are in the interest of our well-being. To be able to look at fear in one hand and truth in the other, will enable choices that are not associated with confusion, but rather, have a hallmark of Confidence and a foundation of Love. Such choices will be made with clarity and peace since what is good for us, and what will serve us, will be seen to be more available as we come in tune with our True Self. From this, we can now be confident to express what we are feeling within, from a knowing that our motivation is linked only to that which is good and right.
Like other books which deal in personal development and present a description of human nature, I have put forth an interpretation of Human nature which has allowed me to build new and significant understandings. It is the approach I have taken that has allowed me to understand the reasons behind the way I lead my Life. It is my own model of THE EGO.
Immediately, I must emphasize the importance of not getting bogged down by the use of the term EGO. Keep in mind that it is only a LABEL. What is truly important is to peacefully understand that it is only used to allow a structure of thinking to be established. This can then allow your own unique and perfect understanding to be pursued and developed.
Theories are all well and good and they have their place, but ultimately what is most important is what we are feeling inside, as well as the right action appropriate with those feelings to bring us properly through our difficulties. We are feeling creatures. We have needs, wants, hurts and desires, and when the expression of our feelings is denied either by ourselves or other people, a most important part of ourselves is killed off.
Be patient as I explain the aspects of my thinking in accordance with how I brought newness into my life. This first Chapter asks you to open up to a new avenue of thought. The essence of the concept I talk of is simple in itself though the implications can be far reaching. That is, they can be as deep and revealing as to the extent that you are willing to pursue them.
YOU ARE A DIAMOND:
When you come to know a person through either a close association or even from just listening to a description of someone, you naturally obtain an understanding of their nature. You become familiar with their thinking, their likes and dislikes, and in fact, any number of aspects to their identity. In short, we get to know of their personality. This overall concept of people is, in fact, only that-- General or Overall. In common usage, the word Personality is employed to enable us to define character in easily understood and relatable ways. However, just like a Diamond, we are Multi-Faceted, and when we care to look deeper into Human nature, we come to see that there many sides to our personality and that all of them shall provide an input into the way in which we lead our lives.
There is a part of us which responds to external events. It operates on information through experience and it is the most dominant aspect of all creatures that walk this planet. Its prime purpose is one of survival. Though it is only one of many parts of our nature, it is in a front line position of evaluating what it sees to bring about the required responses. It is part of our animal heritage.
In this world of matter and form that all animals are a part of, the vehicle we call the body has its natural limitations. It is vulnerable to damage and pain; requires effort to maintain, and is in need of a mechanism to ensure its continuance and safety. Within the animal kingdom, such a survival feature works fine, but within human nature there is a further aspect to consider. We have Spirit, Self-Awareness, and a conscious link with the Infinite that no animal has ever known. Through this link, the survival aspect of the animal is raised into consciousness along side the Spirit. It then sees, feels, contemplates, learns, and remembers. It acts upon worldly situations and relates feelings with events. It is the EGO.
Immediately upon hearing the word Ego, we tend to connect it's usage with pride and its association with vulnerability, (That is, My Ego could be hurt if I was led to feel inferior, or the Pride we talk of where someone has an inflated opinion of themselves). However, these descriptions which most people readily identify with are only illustrating one particular trait or outward action of the Ego.
Dictionaries typically define Ego as:
"I or Self"
"The conscious thinking subject".
Here you will notice how each example is essentially describing a level of awareness.
This human part of consciousness that we are getting to know also has a Spiritual counterpart and that is called the Soul. Since being human is to be finite, the Soul being infinite and immortal is then revealed as our TRUE SELF. Our humanness is but a vehicle, and part of that vehicle is the Ego. It has Purpose, and it is good.
EGO IS ONE OF MANY PARTS:
Along with the Ego, there are many other aspects or natures that make up the complete individual. There is a part of you which has humour. There is a part of you which is creative. There is a part of you which is sexual. There is a part of you which gets angry. There is a part of you which is Spiritual, and there is a part of you which hurts. You have your logical thinking parts and your caring parts and they all piece together to form the person that you are. These many parts that belong to all people are all good parts, but sometimes during the course of a lifetime, knowledge and learning can have an association with bad choices or negative situations. It is here that our development as an individual can become misguided as our life unfolds.
OUR NATURAL NEED FOR ECSTASY:
If we have traveled down a road that has made us feel like our life lacks direction or purpose, that it is a struggle or that it feels like it is without control, then some aspect of our nature has become dominant and brought about disharmony. Many times, ignorance alone, of Life and how to live life, will keep us bound in situations that rob us of the growth and joy in life that we all seek. Through such a lack of harmony and balance, a person can feel like they are fragmented or have lost the essence of peaceful unity that is found within all of us when we are whole. A person will constantly search for ways to ease the burden caused from continued unsuccessful quests for happiness. Carl Jung, forerunner of modern Psychology has these thoughts:
"The human Spirit will naturally seek its ecstasy, and if it cannot find it legitimately, it will find it illegitimately."
When I first came across this thinking, I thought "Wow!", Here was an explosion of information delivered to me in only a handful of words. We all seek happiness, but sometimes the quest for happiness can be misguided or misdirected from the lack of a genuine experience of Love, or that a chosen path has failed to unfold its imagined promises. In the most extreme cases, negative cycles maintained by desires that can only become fulfilled by external means, can, in time, bring a person to a state of deep emptiness.
EGO HAS A DUTY:
Your True Self is gentle and loving, always content with the simple aspects of life, but the actions of the Ego are essentially one of survival. For all the wrong paths the Ego has led you down, it was only trying to do what it thought was right. It has only ever known the things that it has encountered during its lifetime and the things that you have given it. All these experiences are summed together and become the subconscious role-model for behavior. Our Egos gather information from the world around us and in doing so have a very hard time when trying to deal with the abstracts or unknowns of life. These abstracts and paradoxes in life are contained in the Spiritual connection we have with the Universe.
Very often, after using or hearing the word Universe, I am tempted to think of vast amounts of Space and brilliant free-floating Spiral Galaxies, but in a Spiritual context, Universe is used to define All things in creation, and All means All; including those magnificent galaxies, and of course, yourself. Yes! You are equal to all things in creation. You have worth, you have value, you have a purpose. You were formed in Love, to grow in Love. You are the meaning of life
From what has been discussed so far, we can begin to see a potential for inner conflict as Ego interacts with Spirit thus bringing about confusion or uncertainty. The person living the Spiritual life style has learned that one's True Self is revealed in Spirit, and that a life lived harmoniously is a recognition of the physical world being just one part of one's overall personal evolution. Being Spiritual does not automatically imply an association with religion; the essence of being Spiritual is to be able to identify with Life and Love and the power of Life and Love. It enables a unique bond with the world where suddenly the aloneness of individuality is transformed into a freedom for self-expression that enables a oneness with all people from a motive of Truth and Love.
ACTION FROM FEAR:
If I were to become involved in a situation where I experience
Anxiety; (perhaps a dread of involvement), or
Anger; (from a threat to my own or someone else's well being), or even
Awkwardness; (where fear inhibited a need to express what was truly within), I would have gone through three very distinct stages.
From such an event or situation, there will be:
- The feeling response to the event from the True Self.
- Fear generated by the Ego from the Implication of the feeling response.
- The emotional response then trying to protect me.
By learning to tune in to your reactions by simple observation, you will be able to heighten an awareness of yourself. Your feeling response is that silent knowledge that comes from within, and it will always be present before any fear. Though the fear may come charging in at a very rapid pace, it will always be triggered from your original feeling response. These feeling responses do not necessarily always have to be peaceful or loving. There are times when the feeling response might be anger (perhaps Protective Anger, or an instinctual response that prompts you to rightfully and thoughtfully assert your self).
It is when we rationalize or begin to deny what is true for ourselves that the emotional response of the Ego trying to protect us can then be allowed to assert itself. Obviously, in the process of getting to know the subtle interactions of the Ego and the inner truth, one must observe and rationalize these various responses, but when the rationalizations motivated from the fear response are done without awareness, the individual is caught in a blind cycle leaving no room for growth or renewal. The rationalizations of the student of awareness are motivated from Love and a need for growth.
Now you will be able to choose whether or not to respond in accordance with the original feeling response or the fear based response. By beginning to nurture an awareness of that part of yourself that I call Your Truth, then in time you will start to see that you have alternatives to the way in which you can lead your life. It is at this time that you can begin to take control of your emotions and attitude.
Here it can be seen that when we experience any form of fear, it will always be linked to some event, so when the Ego senses a potential for pain, it will activate fear, or an automatic response based on old and long forgotten fears, but still resident within you below the level of conscious awareness, (i.e. the sub-conscious). When unawareness in thinking to the responses of the Ego continues, it will sustain a cycle of unconscious or automatic reactions which we sometimes wish we hadn't auctioned. Have you ever said:
"Why did I do that?"
"Why do I always do it like that ?"
If you find such ways persisting, while at the same time you wish they wouldn't, then your actions and responses are illustrating a motivation of fear. Here is a way of living that has come from the Ego being allowed to govern the outward responses to events. Over the course of many years, patterns become established in our makeup to reveal themselves in everyday situations. These aspects of our nature are learned patterns and are such a common part of the makeup of society, we get fooled into thinking that not only is it perfectly acceptable, but that it is normal. However, what is common, is not necessarily normal or acceptable, and if we wish to be liberated from the limitations that fear will cause in our lives, then we must activate a new way of thinking that will replace blinding confusion with enlightening Peace.
EGO VERSUS TRUTH:
Another fear-motivated action of the Ego is to disrupt the flow of good and positive thoughts. Since the truth will always reside within us, we will always have a potential for inner conflict when the Ego becomes dominant in our thinking. Here, we can begin to play games with ourselves or other people as we deny what is really happening within.
"Should be's", and "Shouldn'ts" are born of conflict from what you are experiencing, (Your Truth or feelings), and what you are fearing through the surfacing of your Truth.
In response to all these paragraphs about feelings and the inner truth, you might begin to say, "These feelings of mine, I wake up on Monday morning and FEEL like not going to work! "Does that mean I'm justified in Staying Home." Be careful. So subtle and lightning fast is the response by the Ego that it's response can be easily confused for an original intuitive feeling issued by the silent inner truth. You have to practice identifying one from the other.
This truth is as mysterious as our Spiritual nature and requires no justification, ratification or approval. Our truth just IS. It simply exists, and since it is linked to our Spirit, the Ego will always be the cause of our difficulties when as the two operate without integration.
Our Truth is willing to step out into the unknown, but the Ego will want to guard us so it then activates fear. The Ego will look into a library of experiences to compare and evaluate the potential for pain and bring forth a response. Sometimes this library contains:
Unfinished books (Incomplete learning experiences).
Worthless hand-me-downs (Behavior that may have served another, but is not the Role Model suited to you).
And some are Out rightly false (Learning associated with assumption and ignorance).
But our truth is a form of Faith. We know faith does not require evidence or facts because it operates on the sense of a certain Rightness or Goodness that resides from deep within. They are feelings of a kind of knowledge which has no questions associated with it. It is the Ego which generates the questions to pollute the purity of such feelings and leave us with choices that can confuse us or even end up hurting us.
To cultivate an ear that listens to the truth offered by these inner feelings, is to allow your INTUITION to develop and therefore assist you in the task of inner-unification. To achieve this would then make you a talented, happy, whole, and fulfilled person.
When we are WHOLE, we have simply looked at all our personality aspects and put them into their proper perspective. All these qualities can serve us in our personal growth when they are united. It is only when they are unbalanced in the input to the life we lead, that they misguide us and coerce us into making bad choices that bring us pain.
I am of many parts...
...and my goal is to make
My goal is to
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Staff, H. (2008, November 28). The Struggle of the Ego, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/alternative-mental-health/still-my-mind/the-struggle-of-the-ego