Ego and Enlightenment

The ego has a strange relationship with enlightenment.  One of the byproducts of enlightenment is the ability to see through the ego. One of the obstacles to enlightenment is the ego. For anybody seeking enlightenment, their ego is their companion and guide. Besides causing all kinds of problems, the ego is also responsible for success.  This is one of the little discussed aspects of the ego. Learning to watch for the ego, wherever it hides, is part of the path to enlightenment.

All kinds of bad attributes are assigned to the ego. That way it will seem more like something worth losing.  Ego is not something you ever lose. If you could lose it, then it would never have existed in the first place. Ego is how we talk about our interface with the world.  Because there is no actual interface, there is no ego.  Because we think there is an interface, we have an ego. Enlightenment is the realization that there is no separation and so no interface.

As long as there appears to be separation, you will have your ego. In this ego driven world, we need a good reason to do something.  Enlightenment isn’t necessarily a good enough reason. Feeling better is a much more reasonable goal.  If you want to feel better, entertaining the notion of an ego as the root of your problems will help you feel better.  The idea that an ego, a separate, possibly non-existant entity,  is causing your problems is quite hopeful.  It means that there is something to blame for all the trouble. It also suggests a solution.

The solution is to watch your ego until you understand it.  If you don’t want to be a negative person, and you want to look at the positive side of life, then that is where you should look for your ego. Looking to your ego as the cause of all your successes is a good way to locate it.  Many of us would gladly get rid of all of our failures, but we would want to keep our successes. Ego though, is the source of your success.  When you feel yourself being proud of something, look for your ego.  It can be amusing to spot your ego on the pride side of the pride-shame continuum. 

If you examine all of your accomplishments, there is no shame in feeling pride. It is important to understand that the entity keeping track of all of your wonderful accomplishments is your ego. When you set out to accomplish enlightenment, there is no bigger supporter of you than your ego.  As you practice, hand in hand with your ego, you will set out on your journey together, and together you will arrive.

Ego feelings are strong in your pride and shame, and so those feelings are good places to spot your ego.  As you follow your ego’s activities on your journey toward feeling better, you will notice the kinds of things that you do to make yourself appear a certain way. When you see a proud ego moment clearly as an ego moment, it is strangely amusing. Ego moments are fairly constant, so an ego sighting shouldn’t be a rare occurrence. A clear ego sighting though, is one where you noticed it in a novel hiding place.

As you become more and more adept at observing your ego, whether in your pride or your shame, you will think less about how everything impacts you. This will make you feel better. A practice focusing on watching your ego could then lead you all the way to enlightenment.


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