Thursday, 22 July 2010

What Is The Ego?

Ego is defined by Merriam Webster's dictionary as an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others. Hence in the society we live in egoists are considered to have a lack of respect for other individuals and their beliefs. As most egoists believe that they are better than the society that exists around them. The word “ego” has an unpleasant connotation and in this post we will examining the ego.

Within esoteric and spiritual schools the world “ego” is thrown around a lot. What  is the ego? The ego is your individual sense of identity; a mask that you wear that wants approval and power from others. In essence it is the belief that you are a separate individual and that you are in control of your world. It is the “I” that identifies with thoughts, feelings and desires.

In Tibetan, ego is called dakdzin, which means “grasping to a self".” Ego is then defined as incessant movements of grasping at a delusory notion of “I” and “mine”, self and other, and all the concepts, ideas, desires and activities that will sustain that false image.

If we place the ego under scrutiny, we will find that it is a collection of past thoughts and memories which have been retained from our personal existence. It is a mass of uninvestigated beliefs and values that drive our life though we may not be aware of it.  The “ego” is our default operating system which we use to navigate life.  Descartes’ reference in his statement, “I think therefore I am” is simple to himself as a person, a self limited to the body, emotions, thoughts, desires and nothing higher or deeper than that, a being whose consciousness was unexamined and unexplored.

The average man thinks that he is body and mind, with an emphasis on the body. But with self-questioning and reflection it shows that although he is these things and is associated with them, that he is in fact neither of them. Everyone possesses throughout their life this “I” but you have to sincerely ask yourself who is this “I”? The body although inseparable from it, is something used and lived in, as a house is lived in and used. Think! What does the “"I” stand for?

The “ego” is all that you know as yourself. Hence enlightenment is striping away all that you will know as yourself, it is like a death. The “ego” is the centre of human individuality and that which separates a man from others, which makes him a person, an individual being, is his “ego”.