Have you ever found yourself worrying about what others think of you? Have you ever been obsessed with having the trendiest clothes and newest gadgets? Have you ever pretended to be something you’re not to win people over?
If you are like most human beings, the answer to these questions would be a resounding yes. Have you ever stopped and considered the reason why we are fixated on these things? The answer is simple. Ego.
Ego is that voice in your head, it’s the voice of worry and the voice of pride. The voice that says, “am I good enough?” and “I’m better than you,” in the same breath. It’s a large part of our beings, and it is utterly conflicted.
The ego’s desires are plentiful and eclectic and because of this, it is not easily satisfied. It may never be satisfied. It accomplishes one thing and conceives another, and on and on it goes. Oftentimes, the ego may wish one thing and in the next moment wish the complete opposite. These discrepancies go largely unnoticed and/or unheeded by the ego. Its desires are its desires, damned be the convoluted mess they may create.
So why do we feed our ego? Why do we take it so seriously when it is so clearly unreliable?
Perhaps the societal structures at play have something to do with it.
The sad truth is that many outside forces, like media and advertisements, are playing solely to our egos. Keeping us trapped in our mind’s insecurities and obsessing over our ego’s satisfaction. When we are constantly made to be worried about how we look, the ego will be more apt to purchase cosmetics and brand name clothing. When the fear of having no friends is instilled in us, the ego will adopt the personalities of popular celebrities to impress people. In short, the ego will create lies about who we are to fit in with all the people who are lying about who they are.
This is the plight of Ego.
It’s not a pretty picture, is it? No, of course not. It wasn’t designed to be pretty; it was designed to make people afraid. And how successful it has been thus far.
So how do we overcome it? How do we conquer the beast that lives inside of us? How do we have our ego work for us and not against us?
The first step is a cliché one. Accept that we have a problem. Or, to explain it more effectively, that a problem has us.
When we start to realize that our ego has us in a trance of sorts, we can begin to understand why so many things are going badly in our lives. Why our passion is skin deep and why our desires are superficial and short-lived. Why we’re angry and frustrated more often than we’re happy and worry-free. Why we feel worthless one minute and unbeatable the next.
Ego is all over the place, ungrounded, unhinged, and unwilling to accept responsibility.
With ego, everything is someone else’s fault. When we hear “ego”, we immediately think arrogance. It’s true, ego is the epitome of arrogance. “Nothing is wrong with me, everything is wrong with you.” Didn’t get a job? The manager is an idiot. Partner left us? They weren’t good enough for us. It’s entirely possible to live our whole lives with this skewed perception of reality, and many do.
The ego is obsessed with appearances, fully immersed with what it has and more zealously, what it doesn’t have. It’s all about gains with the ego. It’s about acquiring more things, becoming better looking, getting a better job. More, more, more. More of anything, more of everything. What desirable trait or object do you possess? The ego wants it.
This is not an altogether bad thing.
Everything has its place and the ego can be very useful when used effectively. When it comes to looking good, the ego may push you to exercise and become more fit. Professionally, the ego may convince you to seek jobs with higher pay and prestige. In relationships, the ego can convince you to find a partner better suited for you. These are not bad things, but when we become obsessed with perfection, we will find ourselves dissatisfied at every turn.
It’s not easy. When so many forces are working against you, when so many options are laid in front of your ego at every turn, it’s difficult to allow our true nature to flow freely. It’s difficult to rise above the pettiness of the ego and demand true greatness of ourselves. Many people find it difficult to acknowledge our spirituality at all.
The media doesn’t want you to believe that you are more than your ego. Because when you understand that you are bigger and stronger than all the nonsense they’re peddling, they lose their grip on you, and they lose their power. The media is not coming from a spiritual place, it’s coming from an egoic place. And like the ego, they need to be fed constantly to survive. And they only get fed when we feed into our fears and search outside of ourselves for fulfillment.
The goal of the media is to ensure that we only have eyes for ego, which keeps us blind to the source of our true power.
The good news? Our true power is inside of us.
Today, spirituality can be considered somewhat of a distasteful concept. People hear spirituality and they immediately think religion and/or God and many people are dissuaded by the mention of these things. Because in this concrete reality, concrete evidence is often needed to provide proof of such grand claims as the existence of God, which is only logical.
However, spirituality is only connected to religion if we choose to make the connection ourselves. Both religion and spirituality can (and do) exist without the other.
In my personal view, spirituality and religion are separate entities. Religion is a man-made construct, designed to separate people of differing faiths to keep them separated and disconnected from one another. Spirituality is an innate connection to the same Source Energy that we all have access to. Again, allow me to reiterate, this is my view. I would not go so far as to say that this is the ultimate truth, though my ego would have you believe it, this is merely how I see things from my perspective.
So how can we lessen our attachment to the ego and allow more spirituality to come into our lives?
There are many things we can do, and we’ve heard them all before. Meditate. Pray. Practice yoga. Get some crystals. Hug trees daily. Be a total hippie. Yeah, yeah. What else you got?
How can we embrace spirituality without becoming spiritual fanatics?
The simple answer: being aware. Awareness is key to connecting with our spiritual side and in lessening ego’s power over us. Being aware of the media’s intentions in its advertisements is a huge step in disconnecting from the endless wants of the ego. Becoming aware of our true nature and power will help all superficial whims to vanish from our view. Being aware of the similarities between all people will help bring us together in a world where we are tearing each other apart because of artificial differences.
Right-wing/left-wing, black/white, gay/straight, men/women… small potatoes, all. These differences mean very little in the grand scheme of things.
It’s the small-mindedness of the ego which seeks out differences between people to label and confine them. With Ego, there is always something or someone that is inferior and/or superior. The ego thrives on spotting those who are inferior and basking in their own superior glory. It’s these small “victories” that keep the ego going until they find the next small victory to bask in. And on and on, the search continues.
Ego is never truly satisfied.
Spirit, on the other hand, does not have the superficial wants that ego does. Spirit is pure. Spirit is true. Spirit is authentic. Spirt is strong. Spirit is what will lead us to salvation, if we let it.
When you choose to live more in your spirit, and less in your ego, you’ll stop labelling people and attempting to find the differences between yourself and other people, and start to understand that we are all the same and we are all connected.
It is difficult, yes. In a world where living in your ego is not only accepted, but encouraged, it is incredibly difficult to choose spirit over ego. The main reason for this is because you’ve spent so much of your life attempting to establish your ego. Building it, strengthening and fortifying it. It would be a terrible waste to throw away all that hard work, wouldn’t it?
Yes. Which is why we’re not going to discard the ego, but merely lend its helping hand to others as much as we do to ourselves.
It would, however, be a terrible waste to be so ingrained in our egos that we don’t allow ourselves to look farther than our own needs and wants. Because when we do that, we disconnect from a power far greater than anything the ego can manifest. Wasting that power would be the real tragedy.
It’s when we allow ourselves to be overcome entirely by our ego’s desires that we ignore other people and think only of ourselves. It’s this self-serving way of thinking that contributes very little good to society and the world.
Allowing more spirituality to enter your life simply means letting greatness rule over pettiness. Love over contempt. Strength over weakness. Understanding over judgment. Choosing spirituality means choosing to be who you really are and not just the idea of who you are.
Here’s the truth, choosing spirituality over ego is terrifying. It is. It’s a terrifying concept. Because spirituality is huge. It’s everything. It’s overwhelming. It’s so much bigger than the idea we have in our heads about who we are. It’s so much bigger than the way we are living now, and it’s scary to know that we can grow to that size. We can fit into that mold. We can be that big.
But, instead of allowing the truth of that to settle in, most people will reject it and choose ego instead, because it’s easier.
The Ego is small. It’s concerned with low-level thinking and is vibrating at a low-level frequency. Every decision it makes is based on some small idea, or to gain a little satisfaction. And when we make small decisions for small reasons, we produce small results. When you’re focused on producing small results, there’s not as much pressure to succeed, which makes for an easier ride. Many people choose this path because it’s easier to follow and because almost everybody else has chosen the same path. It’s hard to feel bad about yourself when everybody around you is doing the same thing that you are.
It’s when we shift our focus to the larger concepts and start believing that we are that big, that we are that great, that’s when we start to see big results in our lives. That’s how we create meaningful and lasting change. That’s how we become great. But few people think this way.
Many people choose ego over spirituality because it’s the easier path to follow. Not only that, but when almost everybody else chooses the easy road, you’ll have plenty of people to share the experience with along the way. There will be people walking a path like yours who will convince you that you’re doing well, when you’ve chosen the easy way out.
Finding an appropriate balance between spirituality and ego is challenging. When so many people choose to identify solely with the ego, you could be considered somewhat of a black sheep for identifying with spirit. You might end up spending a lot of time by yourself because many other people won’t allow themselves to relate to you. Many people will criticize and reject you. But, there will also be many people who will love and appreciate you. There will be people who can see your greatness clearly and who will allow that same greatness within themselves to shine through. And when you start to see the positive effect that you’re having on these people, you’ll realize that you’ve made the right decision.