SPIRITUAL TERMINOLOGY AND MEANINGS

Browse spiritual terminology and meanings by letter:

Ego

What is the ego?

It is extremely important to note that “ego” is a very loose term that is defined in a variety of ways within pop culture, spirituality, and actual psychology.

The pop culture meaning of ego: egotism, or a person’s over-inflated sense of self-importance. An overcompensation for low self-esteem.

 

The spiritual meaning of ego: a person’s sense of separate identity. The mechanism through which souls are able to have a human experience.

 

The Jungian psychology meaning of ego: the totality of a person’s conscious self, including all of the personality traits and identity of which they are consciously aware.

The spiritual community consistently conflates the meaning of ego as an identity with the pop culture notion of self-importance. This results in a demonization of the concept of an ego, when in reality, a strong ego is what results in a healthy sense of self-esteem and the ability to keep one’s sense of self-importance in check.

The Spiritual Ego

The ego, from the spiritual perspective, serves an important purpose: it is the mechanism through which we are able to see ourselves as an individual, unique person. The ego is what creates the illusion of separation from all that is and gives us the opportunity for experience in the physical plane. Through the ego, incarnate souls have the free will to decide who they want to be.

Many misguided spiritual teachings discuss the death or destruction of the ego, or inflated sense of self-importance. To truly destroy one’s actual ego would be to cease having a human experience. If a person were to permanently dissolve their ego while still existing in a human body, it would look like being zenned out in a transcendental meditation every day for the rest of their lives. There would be no longer be any growing, learning, experiencing, or participation as a part of the collective.

What these spiritual teachings actually mean is to examine one’s ego (the conscious aspects of self) along with one’s shadow (the subconscious aspects of self) in order to shed any beliefs or behaviors which are self-destructive or harmful to others, resulting in an evolution of the identity that is in alignment with higher consciousness.

When individuals are able to tap into the connectedness of all beings in the universe under the influence of psychedelics or through meditation, they are actually temporarily transcending their ego-self. In Buddhism, this may be described as Nirvana. Once the high or meditation is over, the ego remains intact, but fundamentally altered by the experience.

It is important to note that these experiences do not singularly resolve unhealed trauma or self-limiting beliefs, they merely provide the experiencer with a new perspective. Shadow work is still necessary to heal unhealthy habits, behaviors, and deeply rooted belief systems.

The Ego in Psychology

From the psychological perspective, the ego’s purpose is to help regulate various aspects of the self that need to be kept in check, such as the id (our basic instincts and animalistic desires). In that regard, when someone has a weak ego, their ability to regulate those aspects of self is lacking. They may have low self-esteem and be vulnerable to unhealthy psychological projection and a desire to overcompensate. When someone has a strong ego, their capacity for self-regulating is healthy,  they have healthy self-esteem, and are able to keep themselves in balance.

 

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The Purpose of The Ego

The Purpose of The Ego

Question from a reader: “I’ve been considering writing a blog for over 5 years. One of the largest questions I ask is: what makes what I have to say so special that warrants a blog. This concern feels like what you describe as the (spiritual) “ego” but I’m also curious about the role of the ego in terms of how society/pop culture use the term. So my question is: what is the role/relationship of (pop culture) ego with (spiritual) ego?”

read more
Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Question from a reader: “Some spiritual teachers who are totally loving have come across my path recently and talked about how ego can override divine timing. That you must be ‘aligned with your higher self’ to be a recipient of divine timing. I thought divine timing was always working? I realized all this talk about aligning with your higher self is just another way of making people feel bad about their choices. Could be my own issue because of what I’ve been dealing with lately–but aren’t we all already enough? Don’t we have it inside of us already?”

read more
The Purpose of The Ego

What’s in a Self? Soul, Personality & Ego

“I am a bit confused about personality and soul. I understand about being in alignment and think I can feel when I am in it. However I am not sure if this is because I am in alignment with my personality or soul. If I live not in balance with my personality, I am soon aware that I don’t feel in alignment, but I thought that our personalities are just cloaks for our souls? Rarely do I feel urge to do something which I wouldn’t ordinarily do and wondered if this is soul overriding personality?”

read more
The Purpose of The Ego

What’s in an Ego?

Is the ego good or bad? Should we be trying to get rid of it? Tame it? What is it? And what do you do with it? All this and more in today’s blog post.

read more
The Purpose of The Ego

The Purpose of The Ego

Question from a reader: “I’ve been considering writing a blog for over 5 years. One of the largest questions I ask is: what makes what I have to say so special that warrants a blog. This concern feels like what you describe as the (spiritual) “ego” but I’m also curious about the role of the ego in terms of how society/pop culture use the term. So my question is: what is the role/relationship of (pop culture) ego with (spiritual) ego?”

read more
Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Question from a reader: “Some spiritual teachers who are totally loving have come across my path recently and talked about how ego can override divine timing. That you must be ‘aligned with your higher self’ to be a recipient of divine timing. I thought divine timing was always working? I realized all this talk about aligning with your higher self is just another way of making people feel bad about their choices. Could be my own issue because of what I’ve been dealing with lately–but aren’t we all already enough? Don’t we have it inside of us already?”

read more
What’s in a Self? Soul, Personality & Ego

What’s in a Self? Soul, Personality & Ego

“I am a bit confused about personality and soul. I understand about being in alignment and think I can feel when I am in it. However I am not sure if this is because I am in alignment with my personality or soul. If I live not in balance with my personality, I am soon aware that I don’t feel in alignment, but I thought that our personalities are just cloaks for our souls? Rarely do I feel urge to do something which I wouldn’t ordinarily do and wondered if this is soul overriding personality?”

read more
What’s in an Ego?

What’s in an Ego?

Is the ego good or bad? Should we be trying to get rid of it? Tame it? What is it? And what do you do with it? All this and more in today’s blog post.

read more

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