Forget Your Ego

On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, I had made some submissions on this issue under the title “Be Happy – Shed Your Ego”. Since ego causes most of the problems we face in dealing with others, this issue attracts our attention again and again. Since it affects us too much, why should we continue to keep it with us? We are sure that once we get rid of it, our true nature will emerge.

To analyze the breakdown of an intimate relationship is a daunting task. Is it worth the effort? No one can answer this except the person caught up in such a circumstance. Even then, no one can be sure if their efforts will give them a better understanding of this complex dynamics. By delving into the connections that people have in their relationships, more mysteries than truth expose themselves. We start to realise the many different lines of communication that are available to each partner. Which ones are used and the manner in which they are used are open to each individual and hence the complexity. There is no formula to predict how a relationship may turn out. But certain truths did present themselves to me.

For some time, I had been feeling that the marriage which was solemnized between me and my wife had reduced to just a formality of association and we needed a break down of the relationship and live alone. I researched all the available data and case histories that available data and case histories that dealt with the ‘walk away wife’ phenomenon, I wanted all the information possible to try and figure out why my wife of 27 years wanted out of our marriage. Certain questions kept coming back to me. Did she fall out of love with me just like that? Was it depression, kid-life crisis, hormonal imbalances? Was I looking for reasons or just excuses to explain a sudden marriage break-up? My son, daughter and I were at a loss to come to any cognitive reasons for such irrational events. Then the truth hit me.

There were no real answers or solutions on the conscious level of the mind. I had to go beyond the mind of thoughts to the core of the problem, the ego. The ego that the mind creates in order to give it a means to confront the onslaught of the outside world, it is a world itself that it feels threatened by. Certainly, fear has its place in the dissolution of relationships, just as it does in most of our activities. I began to sense her rears. Fear of the future, of being inadequate, of time slipping by. I examined my children or raising them alone. I realised that time, contributes greatly to fear. The past no longer exists except as bits of memory and the future is not here and is only an image in our mind of what might be. The only time that really exists is the present moment.

There are as many ways to view the world as there are persons in it. The point of perspective is not how you view it but from where you view it. Through the evolution of the brain of modern man, the mind was created. A mind that is aware of its own thoughts. The mind is also in-charge of protecting the organism it inhabits. Working with the automatic system, which controls involuntary responses and functions, it creates defence mechanisms, which ensure the organism’s survival. To assist in the processing of the stimuli received from the senses and the responses to the outside world, the mind has created what is referred to as the ego. One that is geared to take on the onslaught of the world. It has a defensive nature that is constantly on alert for threats and attacks.

The ego interprets the information presented to it by the senses and cognitively assesses them and through the mind, produces thought. These thoughts are then transformed, by the ego, into emotions. Emotions are the body’s response to thoughts. Our emotions arise out of these thoughts.

The problems created in man’s responses to world are created by the ego going too for in its nature to perceive what is threatening to the organism and its self. It begins to believe it’s who we really are. A fallacy that creates untold damage to the world it inhabits. By believing it to be who we are, it will also defend itself against all possible threats.

Mental threats such as verbal assault can be viewed by the ego as possibly diminishing its foothold as the self. The thoughts created in response can create emotions such as hostility to wards the person verbally attacking it. What real damage can the verbal assault have upon the organism? None, for it is a imagined threat but the ego does not differentiate between real and imagined and still feels threatened. These types of emotions are fed back to the ego who now puts itself on higher level of threat alertness. A cycle has been created and induces the ego to perceive more and more stimuli as possible threats, that which we train our body and minds to do. Can it more easily be done? The world is now perceived to be a hostile entity with imagined threats all around us.

All of us go through life at level of threat alertness designed by our own egos. Some do not let such perceived threats dictate their responses while others are ready to take offence to the point of violence. It is the level of dysfunction that we allow the ego to obtain that determines our reactions. A runaway ego may even go to the state of mental paranoia. It is not what is said to us, felt, or thought about us that does harm, it is the ego’s reaction that creates the damage.

The ego is in a constant state of self-enhancement to make itself feel more secure. It seeks to acquire more material goods, power, prestige, and so on. The emotional feelings, such as contentment, happiness, and false contentment, happiness, and fulfilment, that it receives in feedback from its acquisitions further push the ego to seek more. But just like drug addiction, this feeling is temporary. It is an insatiable thirst. The ego wants more at any cost.

However, we can all do something to alleviate this dysfunction. But it to alleviate this dysfunction. But it cannot be done on the intellectual level. The mind is ill-equipped in this pursuit. By taking notice of how our mind and ego work, we can begin to function at a higher level.

From the higher self, we begin to see the world as it really is without the judgmental nature of the mind interfering. The mind differentiates the world into groups with similar attributes, for that is one of its purpose. But the ego goes further and separates them. Them higher self sees the world and its different features but does not considerate them as separate entities. It sees the connection that all things share. They are part of the whole all creation. The higher self sees itself as a part of this whole. This underlying truth transforms the way we interact with the world around us. This is the essence of compassion. The deep rooted sense that we are all connected. Who would do harm to someone or something that they know they are connected to or a part of?

My search for answers led me to see that the ego causes most of man’s problems in dealing with one another. When we dispense with the ego our true nature is brought forth. We may give up our ego to be happy again.

Be Happy – Forget Your Ego.