The ‘Ego’ is a term first used in the West by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and has now entered mainstream personal-development parlance.
Many new clients say to me things like “I hate my critical Ego – it’s always nagging at me”… “my Ego’s running my life”…”my Ego’s out of control, I just can’t help myself”. They believe their Ego is some kind of monster that has no rightful place or purpose within them, and want to eliminate or somehow ‘kill’ their Ego, thinking that only this will allow them to be ‘better’, ‘happier’ or more ‘balanced’. So it can come as quite a surprise when I tell them that I believe these are ALL fundamental misunderstandings of the nature and role of the Ego!
If you can recognise some of these ways of thinking of course I do understand that it can sometimes feel like your Ego is working against you. Certainly the uncomfortable emotions it generates will often make you believe that it’s a negative force to be grappled, fought or battled with – but ultimately this is an illusion.
I also fully acknowledge that your Ego can create unnecessary confusion and complexity in your thinking, leading to unhelpful diversions in your energy, emotions and actions. Indeed, your Ego can absolutely tie your life up in knots – but only if you let it.
So why not tame your elusive Ego, make friends with it, and even learn to love it?
In this and my next blog post I’d like to explore with you the wonderful (and not at all murky) world of your Ego so you can begin to understand its true purpose and mindfully take control of it and your life – once and for all…
You cannot change what you don’t understand
Defining the Ego
The Ego is a word that’s increasingly used in describing a ‘state of mind’ or an action of the mind. It’s worth noting that current meanings can vary and often have little to do with the original Freudian interpretation.
I use the term Ego regularly in my therapy work and writing when attempting to describe how the state of your mind or thinking becomes imbalanced, as it moves away from a more harmonious and authentic state of equilibrium – what I refer to as Wu Wei, and enters an agitated state of inauthentic flux. When you’re ‘in your Ego’ or operating from a place dominated by your Ego rather than your Authentic balanced self, it’s as if your mind has swung into or between two extremes of an energy (this can be the energy of any emotion, thought or belief) rather than remaining closer to the calmer, more harmonious centre of the energy. This is what I call the ‘Emotional Pendulum’ effect, and is what many of my clients suffer from.
So essentially the Ego represents the disrupted energy of your authentic emotions, thoughts or beliefs – it’s not a separate entity or state of being, rather it’s an extreme expression of wholeness and Oneness of the beautiful authentic you.
You and your Ego are part of the Universe, not apart from it
This is also why you cannot eliminate your Ego – it’s part of the energy of you and, as quantum physicists are now demonstrating what Taoists have known for thousands of years, you cannot kill energy! Your Ego energy just needs to be skillfully, compassionately, calmly and patiently managed and brought back into its harmonious Wu Wei balance.
The disrupted Ego energy of your authentic mind is also disharmonious with the natural flow of the Tao and all Universal energy. In the same way the energy of your authentic or higher-self has a tremendous positive spiritual vibration attached to it so does the Ego, but of course the energy and vibration emitted is very different and so will resonate and affect you and those around you on a different energetic, spiritual and emotional level.
This is also why, when thinking about or using the term Ego in reference to yourself or others, you should always be very mindful to examine and understand the energetic meaning and translation being received and transmitted (I have written more fully about the power and vibration of words in an earlier blog article).
The beginning of all wisdom is to call things by their correct name
Taoists have no direct word or translation of the Ego, other than ‘inferior’ or ‘lesser’ man or ‘inauthentic’, but the Tao Te Ching speaks freely about the paradox of its characteristics, such as:
- Don’t compensate by being clever, this breeds hypocrisy and sleight of hand!
- Can you clear our mind of all the dross, without throwing away the Tao?
- You may amass gold and jade in plenty, but then the more you have, the less you are safe.
These are just three examples highlighting how your thinking and beliefs can swing out of balance and become aligned with the Ego’s confused goals and expectations of avoidance, separation, holding on and protection, rather than focussing on the Tao and the Oneness of the Universe, and on trusting, sincerity, honesty, letting go and abundance.
Taoists will also refer to the Ego as your ‘Human Centred Mind’ or ‘lower vibration’. When you’re aligned with the Tao or Universe and are balanced and authentic this would be taught as your ‘Tao Centred Mind’ or your ‘Authentic Self’.
The Ego is a very important emotional energy that will always be part of your authentic journey and personal transformations. The key is embracing and managing this energy so you can live harmoniously and to your fullest potential – in my next blog post I’ll consider how you can do just that…
‘My Ego is part of the Oneness of me’
‘I choose to love every part of me’
‘I’m learning love my Ego more every day’
‘I am mindful of the energy and vibration of my emotions, thoughts and beliefs’
‘I choose to live in my harmonious Wu Wei’