Transcending Ego – this statement has given me much food for thought. It is held as a beacon as something to aspire to but what does it really mean? In order to understand it you have to go back to what the word Ego really means. There are a few definitions:
- A person’s sense of self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, self-image
- Psychoanalysis - The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.
- Philosophy – A conscious thinking subject
Does that mean that without an Ego we would have no sense of self? If I transcend my ego what happens to my sense of self? Do I become self-less and is that even possible? The definition of Selflessness is:
- Having little or no concern for oneself.
In my way of thinking that doesn't sound healthy from a day to day perspective. Of course if one was acting selflessly in a moment of danger, then it means something else altogether.
Human beings all have ego and this is not a bad thing. We are designed to want instant gratification and without our ego’s we would act of every desire and whim good or bad. Just think of a baby and how it reacts and interacts with its world. It wants its needs seen to immediately – should you make it wait, then the baby will cry incessantly until the needs are met. Our Ego’s help us determine what is good for us and shapes our reality. It is when this ego is out of balance that we have a problem.
The unfortunate thing about our egos is that it often “lies” to us. It deploys a defense mechanism in order to help us cope with the reality we create. This is especially true when we are making choices that are in conflict with social norms, our own personal morals or taboos. The defense mechanisms come in many forms such as, denial, displacement, intellectualisation, fantasy, compensation, projection, rationalization, reaction formation, regression, repression, and sublimation. Our fear also resides in this place of ego and if our ego feels that we are putting ourselves in harm’s way it will stop us in our tracks. That little voice that says: No; You can’t; You’ll fail if you try… it resides there in the basic instinct of our Ego’s.
In my practice I have seen many people who have employed one, many or all of the defense mechanisms because of Fear and the greatest fear is one of change. The biggest problem is that they then make the decision to squash the ego and not act at all becoming immobilized by their fear. They start feeling stuck. The Ego must be heard for the individual to move forward and ignoring it just makes everything worse. This does not have to be “transcendence” but rather finding a way to put it at ease.
One of the techniques I teach is an ancient Hawaiian Ritual called Ho’oponopono. It comes in four parts; I love you, I am sorry, I thank you, I forgive you, ending with I love you. This ritual allows you to clear the ego and allow it to feel heard instead of suppressed. It allows you to find the courage to make the change you need to and step outside your comfort-zone.
Keep in mind that Egotism is something completely different. This is a place of self-importance, entitlement and arrogance. I feel that people often confuse Egotism with Ego and that it has become one and the same in people’s minds. When you are acting out of self-interest and narcissism and only thinking of how things affect you with no concern for others then you have another issue altogether. In Shamanism we know that Self-Pity is the other side of the coin of Self-Importance. That makes sense really; you have to have an inflated sense of self to feel sorry for yourself.
As for transcendence of the ego, I am still working on it. What is transcending ego really mean you ask? It is to have knowledge of your True-Self and realizing your true nature. There are times when I feel that I have connected with my higher self and that I no longer hold the view of myself as limited but rather as limitless. I aspire to connect to my true self, the one that has no boundaries and engage in my life more fully, with a deeper connection to Spirit using the Self and Co-creation to accomplish my goals. It is a strenuous task at times with all the external noise that we have in our lives but when it happens it is joyous and nothing short of a miracle…