The mission of a spiritual path is not to destroy the ego, but to integrate the ego with spirit or the heart with the mind. Yet, so many people confuse walking the path of enlightenment with squelching the ego. Without the ego urging us to wake up each morning and get some work done, we would wallow in sleep. Yes, the ego plays a positive role and truly spiritual person understands that. Yet, like the coyote trickster in Native American legends, the ego trips us with tricks and traps, which we learn to avoid.
So often we confuse the ego with what we consider evil in the world. The ego plays the games of separation and divisiveness well. In fact, the ego masters these games which come to us in many guises. And the further along we are on our life path, the more challenging it becomes to recognize ego’s tricks and traps.
For instance we join a new thought spiritual community and think we have reached enlightenment. So then we bandy around mantra phrases to others we feel act less enlightened. When a tragedy strikes in someone’s life we sigh and then utter the empty phrase, “You create your own reality.” And in a sense maybe we do create a reality through our thoughts, feelings and emotions, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Lurking beneath the surface of our conscious mind we encounter patterns, beliefs and DNA emotions passed down to us from our ancestors. So our so-called reality is partially created by the hidden parts of ourselves.
When we encounter someone going through a hard time we fall into fear of catching the other person’s predicament like a contagious disease. And entanglement does occur on a psychic level especially for more empathic types (sensitive), but this is another story. So the ego comes into protect us by distancing us from the other person. This is fine and the role of the ego. However, next time this happens to you, don’t pull out the smug spiritual mantras and toss them at the other person or pelt them with them. I see this image of the spiritual seeker pelting the other person with rotten tomatoes–as if go away and take your negative energy with you!
We do this by hurling advice at the other person. Sometimes advice is required and it does the trick, but only when it comes from the place of love and a full heart. If advice comes from fear then it is useless. The other person counters with “But I have already tried that…” And it’s true sometimes people just want to rant which is their ego preventing them from accepting real healing. The trick is to know the difference between the two scenarios. And in order to do this we must check in with our heart and see who runs the show. People are more likely to accept advice when it comes from a place of love and detachment rather than fear.
The Illusion of Separation
Ego plays dualistic games especially at higher levels of spiritual learning. People find false shelter in their religion or spiritual practice then they separate people as being on the spiritual bus or off it. The problem with this approach revolves around turning other people off. Spiritual smugness or righteousness never heals anyone and instead of attracting souls to a sweet nectar of the Divine frightens them away.
I’m seeing this game played out in my life and in the media. I know of a woman who celebrates her Jewish faith and culture to the point where she turns me off. While I tend to embrace other cultures, I find it off putting when someone acts as if their culture is superior to other cultures. This particular woman also considers herself a peacemaker which she constantly boasts. Yet, every conversation I have had with this woman she comes off as defensive and aggressive while asserting the superiority of her faith and traditions. She simply doesn’t recognize the ego’s trick with mirrors and projections. She believes she is a peacemaker so she doesn’t notice her hawk-like tendencies. And not to single this particular woman out since I see this scenario played out with activists, religious folks and new thought followers. In fact, it plays out with every human being on the planet to some extent. Recognize it in yourself and seek the road to healing.
Over identifying with Labels & Lifestyles
A true spiritual seeker realizes the shallowness of labels whether those labels come from their spiritual practice, culture, tradition, ethnicity, sexual preference or profession. I have fallen prey to this ego trap which separates me from experiencing Unity Consciousness. We all have to an extent and the media promotes this illusion. Really, if the channels are correct, we are one huge blog of amber light and any separation from the True Source is a fantasy at best.
Yes, we arrived on the physical earth plane in a specific body, with specific situations we wished to experience through various lenses we call labels. And I’m not saying we can’t identify with those labels, but not to get attached to them for they are illusions at best. We only chose those lenses to experience life lessons to propel us along our spiritual paths. Yet, when we get caught up in labels whether it is lesbian, gay, Hispanic, religious-but-not-spiritual or starseed, we separate ourselves from Unity Consciousness. Face. it we are all spokes on the same great wheel. We are the homeless man on the street and the billionaire woman running a television production company. When we judge others, we judge ourselves and when we judge, we entertain the illusion of separation. The ego emerges victorious in his tricks and we play the fool.
Have you ever watched someone completely full of themselves walk into a post or wall? Well, that’s what ego does to us. Ego fools us to thinking we are better than others or worst than others. The ego asks us to compete instead of cooperate or to go to war with another who thinks differently than us. We go to war with nations or people who don’t foster our air of superiority. No one is better than anyone else because only one being exists that includes all of us. Excluding others equates with cutting off a limb from the body.
Recognize that Only Love is Real
We have heard this phrase multiple times in our lifetime especially if we listen to spiritual teachers. This ancient phrase sticks around with us because even in this day and age we have yet to learn the true meaning. What does love look like? What does love feel like? How does love walk into a room? How does love show up in your life? And when love shows up do you chase love away? Well, you do if you allow ego to have control. Ego works best when it serves spirit. Spirit = Love.
Love represents the most powerful emotion and shows up with a mother lifting a car to save her child. Love shows up as acts of compassion big or small. Love shows up when we choose to pick litter off the street without judging the person or animal that littered the street. Love shows up when we share what we have with strangers and not worry how the stranger will pay us back. Love does not dwell in the act of reciprocation. Love receives and gives equally well. Love recognizes other people’s gifts. Love encourages. Love trust and has faith that all is already well and as it should be. Love believes in Divine Order. Love heals. Love teaches. Love causes tears of gratitude to gush from our eyes. We all know what love feels like even when we say we don’t.
Then ego crashes the love gathering and suddenly we trot out those labels. One of the worst questions someone can ask me these days is “what do you do?” I simply have lost track of all that I do and I am beyond the era of caring about what people do for a living or with their lives. Labels have lost their allure as they will soon enough for everyone. This time-space reality is a farce at best. Our goals are ego tricks and traps to leave us feeling stuck if we don’t reach those goals or empty if we do.
The biggest trick or trap to watch for is anything that causes us to feel separate from anyone or anything else. As long as we play that ego game, we never reach enlightenment or return to God. The Source calls to us, but first let’s lose the baggage by integrating the ego into the servant role of spirit.
I am an intuitive coach and astrologer. Find out more at Metaphysics for Everyday Living where I combine spiritual practices with practical living. And check out Whole Astrology, Whole Music Experience and Digital Photo Therapy.