Ego Is Not The Enemy


To be on a path of self-development is no easy fate. There’s a singular kind of ‘calling’ that echoes up from the depths of the soul. To follow that thread, to answer the call, requires courage, curiosity and, most of all, love for the Truth. To trod the path towards Spirit, the bottom line prerequisite is the willingness to allow for change, to tolerate the gradual shifting of one’s inner landscape, so beautiful put by Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” But it’s worth noting how utterly challenging any real change is. Why is that? Why such resistance? What part of me is so ‘risk adverse’?

Well, what is it…who is it, within me that requires transformation, to have any chance at drawing closer to Spirit? In a word…(okay, two!)…my ego. But how very strange, in a way. Since childhood, my egoic ‘self image’ has been my rock-solid home base. It’s the part of myself I’ve spent a major slice of my life systematically building up and developing. Ego is what has given me a sense of my individuality and it’s based on memory. It constantly draws upon the database of my life’s history to tell me who I am. Indeed, more than anything, my ego is absolutely convinced that it is who I am. Of course it does. That’s its job! So, no wonder it resists the incoming influence of spiritual knowledge that too often tends to put ego in a bad light, as something ‘that‘s got to go’. How alarming this is to my familiar, comfortable sense of myself! ‘What kind of dangerous meddling is this?’ The very nature of my egoic self is built like a house; an unbending, solid structure that abhors disruption of any kind. So, it makes perfect sense that it digs in its heels and resists whatever change might threaten its very foundation.

So it’s a conundrum…and can become a powerful internal ‘tug of war’ between that which is and that which is ready to blossom.

For me, I believe the key has been to relax my egoic self, not threaten it. When it feels under attack, it’s very skilled at defending itself. To grow spiritually, yes, its true, the egoic ‘shell’ needs to begin to gradually thin out. But it’s not ‘the enemy’, not something negative that needs to be uprooted. It’s simply a well-constructed and formidable ‘self’ that one finally has started to outgrow. Like the analogy above, ego is that tight little bud and, at some point, the flower locked within it pushes outward, ready to bloom.

Maybe so, but that doesn’t alter the fact that growing towards Spirit is a profoundly mystical transformation and ego wants nothing to do with profoundly mystical anything if that means some kind of fundamental change is required. Its interest is in perpetual stability. Don’t rock the house, for chrissake! But, like it or not, as the blossom gradually emerges, it is a mystical transition taking place.

My ego is contained within the mental walls of a very defined, static range of consciousness. The mind, in my egoic state, is absorbed in a constantly rotating cycle, swinging between dwellings on past events and future concerns. In contrast, the call within me from Spirit is bubbling up from The Now, a palpable Field of Presence that only abides, and thus thrives, ‘in the moment’. Tapping into that state of Presence, this alive ‘Beingness’, has nothing to do with my mental database that’s always telling me who I am based on my history. In a moment of experiencing Presence, I know myself because I’m actually Being my Self. That recognition is a very crucial and distinct shift in my conscious awareness.

My ego is firmly based on all it’s ‘knowing’ and it instantly ‘labels’ everything it sees. In contrast, the freshness of the state of Being is the very essence of ‘not knowing’. Presence, awake and in touch with the actual ‘moment’ itself, strips away that filter and can stand in the naked, wondrous mystery of the Life Force before that habitual ‘knowing’ kicks in and those labels are slapped onto all and everything.

It’s no wonder ego resists spiritual transformation. That bud that begins to break open is just too radical for my ego’s comfort zone. So, if it needs anything, it might be to allow the flow of loving-kindness and compassion from my awakening Being to gently hold this ‘little self’ of mine. My ego has been utterly loyal and tirelessly hard working and has done the very best job it could do on my behalf. It’s simply now time to slowly begin its retirement…but with acknowledgement and gratitude.

Yes, it’s tenacious and its roots run very deep, but I suspect ego will be much more willing to gradually let go of its tight grip, ‘turn over the wheel’ and let my Presence do the driving as it sees, and is convinced, that I’m actually in better hands with that transformation.

No, ego is not the enemy… It’s an old friend who’s weary and has earned the right to now put its feet up and rest in the knowing of a job well done.