A Facebook friend posted this image today and it jarred loose some thoughts.
It’s very popular to denigrate the ego, and we are often taught that only by annihilating it can we achieve enlightenment. But I think my spirit-guide would have me thank my ego. Without it, I would never have survived because, no matter how ultimately self-destructive our ego’s perceptions are, there is no part of us with a more powerful will to exist. At some points in all our lives, the ego is the only self we may know. It keeps us alive until we can learn about our other selves.
So the ego is a true aspect of self, though one whose value diminishes as we become more enlightened. As we move along that path, its influence weakens. But it is there for us when we are weak, when we are trying to discover ourselves, it helps us set boundaries when we need them, reminds us when we are failing to care for our physical selves. The ego is the well for our pain which we must dip into, time and again, in order to learn that emotional and spiritual pain is something we create in ourselves.
When we do learn this lesson, fully and completely, we no longer need to annihilate the ego. We have given it the one thing it has always yearned for in its needy, self-interested way: security. We have given it peace, so now it can rest, in harmony with all the other parts of ourselves we’ve recognised and integrated, leaving us prepared for that final integration into Oneness.
My spirit-guide has also told me that there is no ‘self’, therefore, no ‘true self’. I think she might mean that identifying the soul as a ‘true self’ is really just a trick of our ego, the part of us that is not yet assured that ‘no self’ does not mean ‘annihilation’. By defining a ‘true self’ as an ‘adversary’, the ego gives us a target which is just another manifestation of ego, itself.