Ego: We all have it, but most people don’t really understand what the Ego is. According to Eckhart Tolle, the author of the two most influential “spiritual” books of our time, “most people have identified themselves so completely with that voice in their heads – that incessant flow of involuntary and compulsive thoughts plus the emotions that accompany them – that you could speak of “possessed by their spirit.”
By: Arjun Walia
As long as you are not fully aware of that, ”he continues,“ you use that thinker to be who you think you are. This is the selfish mind. We call it selfish because of the feeling of Self, of I (Ego), in every thought, every memory, every interpretation, opinion, vision, reaction, emotion. Although unconsciously speaking, from a spiritual perspective.
All statements are from the book A New Earth.
Then he explains how our thoughts and thinking patterns are determined by our past experiences, from family life and upbringing and the environment in which you grew up.
“The core of all your mind activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions and reactive patterns with which you identify yourself most strongly. This entity is the Ego itself. ”
That Ego is full of all kinds of thoughts and emotions with which we identify ourselves. As a result, we play all kinds of roles in different situations without being aware of it. We identify ourselves “collectively” with, for example, nationality, religion, race, social class or political preference.
The Ego also contains personal identifications. Not only with possessions, but also with opinions, appearance, long-term anger, ideas about yourself that you are not good enough, whether you are successful, or that you are a failure. ”
He also describes how our Egos are in fact all the same:
“The content of the Ego varies from person to person, but they all work the same way. In other words, Egos only differ on the outside. Deep down they are all identical. How are they the same? They live on identification and separation. When you live with the Self conceived by your mind, consisting of thoughts and emotions, that is your Ego. Ego is the basis of your insecurity, because thoughts and emotions are naturally short-lived and fleeting. Each Ego is constantly struggling to survive, trying to protect and increase itself. In order to uphold the “I-thought” it needs the opposite thought “the other”. And the most opposite “other” is the “hostile other”. This unconscious egoistic pattern hides the compulsive habit of seeing and complaining about others’ faults in particular. Jesus referred to it when he said, “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s or sister’s eye, when you don’t notice the beam in your own eye?”
5 Important features of the Ego
Complain and resentment
Usually complaining arises from the lack of gratitude and awareness. It is a feeling that puts us in a victim role, a feeling that “something has happened to you.” That is the “I” that Tolle refers to. Complaining is the result of your mind who, according to certain beliefs, believes how “something” should be and then finds it wrong if that “something” turns out completely differently. It is – as Tolle points out – “a story made up by the mind that you fully believe in.”
“When such an Ego gets in your grip, complaining – especially about others – is a habit, unconsciously, of course, which means you don’t really know what you’re doing.”
Part of this is guilt, which is often accompanied by complaining. When you feel that someone has “done” something to you, you are completely engulfed by your Ego. Of course this does not apply to all situations, but it does in most. Judging and complaining about another usually reflects ourselves and our inner discomfort. Complaining as “he is this” or “she is like that” is simply – again – a story that makes up your mind based on different observations and experiences.
This happens all the time. Having thoughts about another person generally indicates that your mind is making up a story, “good” or “bad” doesn’t matter.
“Placing negatively charged mental labels on people, be it straight in their faces, or more common: talking about someone to others, or even thinking about someone else, is often part of this pattern. The use of swear words is the crudest form of labeling that stems from the Ego’s need to exercise power over others and to be right. “Acorn, bastard, bitch…” all irrevocable statements against which you cannot argue.
The Ego then searches for others to confirm and encourage those views. We hide this tendency by claiming that it is quite normal to confide in others when we are angry, but in reality it is no more than gathering people we know will ‘support’ us and who share our views. ‘ agree’.
“Resentment is the emotion that comes with complaining and putting mental labels on people and it adds even more energy to the Ego. Resentment means bitterness, indignation, feeling hurt or offended. You hate the greed of others, their dishonesty, their lack of integrity, what they do, what they have done in the past, what they should or shouldn’t have done. That’s what the Ego likes. Instead of condoning the unconscious in others, you label it as their identity. Who does that? The subconscious does that in you, your Ego. Sometimes the error you observe in others is not even present. It is a total misinterpretation, a projection of the mind conditioned to see enemies, with which the Ego makes itself great and superior. On the other hand, there may indeed be an error, but by focusing on it, sometimes excluding everything else, you amplify it. As you respond to another, you strengthen it in yourself. ”
“Not responding to the Ego of others is one of the most effective ways to not only transcend the Ego, but also to dissolve the collective human Ego. However, you can only become unresponsive if you can recognize someone’s Ego behavior as an expression of collective human dysfunction. When you realize that it is not personal, there is no urge to react as if it were personal. By not responding to the Ego, you will often be able to bring to light the mental health of others, to the unconditioned consciousness, the opposite of the conditioned consciousness. “
Unresponsiveness, calm and inner peace is key. This inner state of mind will also affect the others in the “spiritual community”. Those who strive to reduce the Ego will be continuously challenged by people like this. Selfish emotions like jealousy and disbelief will emerge that you can soften by not reacting. One can even bite into disbelief so much that one thinks that you “hold it” or “build it up.”
“Sometimes it is necessary to take practical steps to protect yourself from people who are still in a deep unconscious state. You can do this by not treating them as enemies. One only becomes an enemy when you personalize the subconscious mind – the Ego. Not responding is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. Another concept for not responding is forgiveness. Forgiveness is condoning, or better: seeing through. You look straight through the Ego at mental health, the real essence in every person. ”
Tolle clarifies that complaining should not be confused with tolerating bad behavior or poor quality. He uses the example of soup that is not served hot enough. You can tell the waiter that your soup is not hot enough and that you would like it to be brought to the correct temperature. That comes across as friendlier than complaining and reproaching the waiter with “How dare you serve me cold soup!”
The great trick to reducing our complaining and resentment is simple: become aware of it and observe it.
Reactivity and grievances
Reacting is one of the ways of the Ego that allows it to grow itself. We respond immediately to persons or situations in our life that give us cause to become emotional. My experience is that when you become aware of your reactivity and your associated emotions, the triggers fade. Not that you no longer feel those emotions, but usually we let our emotions take over the situation if we are not aware of our reactions. The next step in feeling an emotion – be it anger, hatred or resentment – is to control your reaction and observe yourself from a distance. The more often you do this, the easier it becomes to not respond to your emotions. Moreover, if you regularly practice this state of self-awareness, self-control not only becomes easier, but also the emotional response less. You will no longer allow feelings of anger and frustration; as if you have a protective shield or a force field around you. Reaching this state of consciousness brings you closer to narrowing the Ego.
Without self-observation and awareness of these aspects, this cycle will continue to repeat endlessly. Both in your own life and in collective humanity.
“There are many people who are always lurking to respond to something, who are annoyed or annoyed about everything and if not, it doesn’t take long before they find something. “It is outrageous!” they shout indignantly. “How dare you …” or “I don’t like this.” They are addicted to anger like others are addicted to drugs. By responding to everything or claiming everything, they strengthen their self-esteem. We call long-term aversion to grievances. Carrying grievances is a permanent state of being “against everything” and therefore grievances are an important part of many people’s Ego. Collective grievances can perpetuate in the psyche of a nation or tribe for centuries, feeding an endless cycle of violence. Having grief is a strong negative emotion related to an event in the distant past that is sustained by compulsive thinking, repeating aloud or in mind the same story over and over of “what someone did to me” or “what someone did to us. “”
This negative emotional energy can also affect other aspects of your life, including your health, to the extent that our knowledge extends to the mind-body connection.