The Ego By: Madison Taylor (www.dailyom.com)
The ego is simply a way for us to understand and attend to ourselves, at the same time as we understand and attend to the world around us.
Perhaps the problem is that the ego sometimes gets out of control. This happens when the higher self loses control of the psyche. The psyche then falls under the leadership of the ego, an entity that was never meant to lead. The ego is meant to be definitively in the service of the higher self. When this relationship is functioning, the ego is a useful intermediary representing the whole self but not thinking that it is the whole self. Then, it is almost as if the ego is the self playfully pretending to be the separate entity called "I." Like an actor, the ego plays the roles that the world asks us to play in order to be part of the program. In this way, the ego can be a tool enabling us to be in the world but not of it.
As long as we are in touch with our higher selves, our egos are not a threat. They are simply useful tools in the service of spirit. We keep our egos in check when we continually nurture our awareness of who we really are. Then our egos are free to serve without trying ineffectually to rule. It is healthy to have ego, but like all things in life, ego functions best when it is in balance and harmony with your whole self.
This is so NOT how I was taught in school (behaviorist theories) or in real life. Even my therapist preaches that our biggest problems are not caused by external factors but from our own attitude, selfishness, and self-absorption. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by it all?
I find the whole understanding of EGO and its purpose/function confusing.
I believe EGO, based on your comments, is the way we deal with those “external factors” which affect “our own attitude, selfishness, and self-absorption which in fact we ARE controlling.
The EGO is what defines the “self” or “I” which is based on what others think of us, how they respond to us, and what they tell us. This is not necessarily the truth but our interpretation of the truth? Does this make sense?
When our "truths" are challenged, the EGO fights to hold on to them. Change is hard and the EGO is a way to protect us from having to change?
Buddhism talks about “emptiness” which is in effect who we are BEFORE we make all these judgments (thus spirit?) based on probably false data from society, parents, relatives, educators, religious figures, friends, etc.
I have talked before about the need for triage, as adults, to sort out those things we were told and came to believe as children (when we were powerless or even realized that we potentially had the power to disagree and form our own opinions.)
The triage consists of looking at the various believes of self and keeping, tossing, or needing to do more thinking about those aspects. Most adults do not do this or even realize that they can. They carry all this baggage and just accept it as TRUTH when in fact it is not.
The key to being a mature, actualized adult (at peace with themselves) depends on this ability to triage