Most people are aware that the ego is an obstacle to personal spiritual growth and progress; and yet, often, for many of us, the term is ill defined and even in professional circles there are multiple definitions that are all somewhat accurate.
I generally find that the most useful definition is simply “our self image.” The ego is a collection of all of the answers the mind has collected to the question “Who am I?”
The big issue with ego is that none of the answers the mind supplies are really accurate. Is the body the self? Is it our thoughts, feelings and beliefs? Is it our habits?
All of those things can change and none truly encompasses the self. Thoughts, feelings and beliefs all shift and change and aren’t truly stable. Even beliefs that have been held for decades can change. We can adopt and eliminate habits. The body transforms over the course of time.
And when the mind processes information, we have to deal with the reality that perception is limited and biased. The mind in trying to understand itself tends to look at outward expressions of inner processes and often misses a great deal.
When we believe in the ego, when we trust and put our faith in our self image, it gets in the way of growth and progress. When you look to the past to understand who you are and what you are capable of, the reality of your potential and all the ways that you can grow and change are overlooked. Things like “potential” which is infinite and undefinable aren’t really incorporated into the picture of ourselves we develop over time.
The simple reality that memories can be, and often are, forgotten challenges the idea that ANY of our memories and experiences truly define us.
And yet, we persist in thinking that our history has anything meaningful to say about our true nature…
When you begin to become suspicious of the idea of a limited, definable self you can begin to incorporate the vastness of your potential and your ability to transform yourself. You can become who you want to be instead of who you were and came to believe that you are.
Thank you for reading and God Bless,