The Purpose of The Ego

The Purpose of The Ego

The Purpose of The Ego

Question from a reader:

“I’ve been considering writing a blog for over five 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?”

The pop culture definition of “ego” tends to have negative connotations and what we really mean when we talk about someone being egoic is that they have an inflated ego.

You’ll hear people in the spiritual community talk about the ego with negative connotations as well, but I think a lot of that comes from the demonization of it from a pop culture standpoint and those individual’s lack of understanding about the purpose the ego serves. If we strip all of that away, the ego is simply a thing. It is neutral. Neither good nor bad.

From one of my previous blog posts:

I define the ego as a personality construct of sorts, a persona or an identity that we develop for ourselves. The ego is complex and it’s made up of a series of beliefs that we hold about ourselves and who we are, many of which are shaped by outside forces as we develop as children. The ego is the totality of our conscious self. It is how we see ourselves. This is the Jungian view of the Ego, wherein it is only a small part of the total self–in essence, the part of yourself that is fully known to you. The part that is NOT fully known to you, Jung calls the shadow self. – What’s in a Self? Soul, Personality & Ego

The ego serves an important purpose form a spiritual perspective: to be human is to have an ego. We wouldn’t truly be human without it. The ego is the mechanism through which we are able to see ourselves as an individual, unique person. It’s what helps create the illusion of separation from all that is, and gives us the opportunity for experience here in the physical plane. Through the ego we get to decide who we want to be. 

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, the id runs amuck. When they have a strong ego, they’re able to keep themselves in check.

But back to the concept of an inflated ego…

When someone in pop culture refers to another as egoic, they are really referring to an unhealthy ego construct a person has created to overcompensate for their perceived shortcomings. An unhealthy ego would actually be considered a weak ego in psychological terms. So the terminology here is a bit at odds with one another.

At the end of my blog post on addiction and shame I talk about how each of us has multiple personas: our true self, our inner false persona and our external false persona.

We often believe that our true self isn’t good enough. That belief, in and of itself, creates a false inner-persona–a skewed view of self. This is the deflated ego, which is also considered a weak ego in psychological terms, because it, too, is unhealthy. Some people are so resistant to that false view of self that they create yet another persona–a false outer persona–to try and compensate for their initial false perception. The false outer persona tries extra hard to be the opposite of the false inner persona. This is the inflated ego we discussed above.

But as I mentioned, the ego is not inherently good or bad in psychological or spiritual terms. It’s a necessary part of the self, so what we must do is work our way through the false inner and outer personas to reach the true self, and in that process we begin to reshape the ego into something that is more closely aligned to our true self. This is what we mean when we talk about alignment.

Now, to address your implied question: What makes what I have to say so special that it warrants a blog? Your experience is unique, and it’s through that experience that you discover your particular medicine for the world. That’s what makes what you have to say so special. Your doubt that who you are is special or unique is actually a result of a weak ego as well! It’s what we talked about earlier as being the deflated ego.

When an ego is healthy, it is strong in that it has the ability to regulate the other parts of the self, and it is neither inflated, nor deflated. It’s balanced, exhibiting healthy amounts of self-respect and self-worth, which are equal to the amounts of respect it gives out.

 

Xo,

Ash

 

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Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Question from a reader:

“I believe there are many paths one can take in life. 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?”

No, I do not believe that your ego can override divine timing and there’s actually a pretty simple reason why… or maybe not so simple, depending on who you ask. 🙂

I believe in multiple realities–that various aspects of ourselves are experiencing every possible choice our ego could ever make. We experience it all, not just this timeline that this singular aspect of our ego self sees. That’s why I don’t believe in mistakes, or that your life plan can get fucked up, or that we ever make a wrong choice. It’s all experienced by our higher self. The good, the bad, the ugly, in some way shape or form.

Basically, you said there were many paths we can take in life… I believe we take ALL of them. And they are all divine. Dolores Cannon talks about this in-depth in the first book of her Convoluted Universe series and she even discusses how we trade places with our alternate selves from time to time as our realities collide and our personal vibrations shift. Some people call it timeline hopping or quantum jumping. It’s fascinating shit! If you want to geek out a little, I wrote about it in a previous blog post.

Now, for someone who is doing a reading and they are only tapping into one line of that experience, or for someone who doesn’t understand multiple realities or just doesn’t believe in them, then of course, from that limited perspective it can appear that a person would be able to somehow screw something up. But that is a tad bit fear-based, yeah? And all fear comes from a limited perspective.

As far as alignment goes, I definitely do believe in the concept of alignment, but not the way it sounds like other people are talking about it.

Think about all of those paths we mentioned earlier as a spectrum of experiences. There’s the highest vibrational experience, the lowest vibrational experience, and everything in between. We need the lowest vibrational experiences, they’re imperative to our understanding of self. It’s why duality exists, after all–so that we can know ourselves (Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsh does a lovely job of explaining this when God talks about why it “created” itself).

Alignment, to me, means finding your way into that highest vibrational spectrum that is based more around love. It doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong, just one direction we can go, and certainly reaching it is the purpose of our existence, however, we must experience all of the other stuff along the way in order to reach alignment, because it’s those experiences which propel us to our highest and grandest self. So we can’t look down on those experiences as being wrong or bad. We need them, they’re integral to what we’re up to here. Hell, they’re the whole reason we incarnated in the first place!

I think that’s where a lot of people miss the mark in their understanding of why we’re here. They only picture the end result and they don’t understand that the process… the experience of becoming… is what we’re here for. The journey, not the destination. You can’t become anything over there in the fluffy confines of “Heaven”–you’re already one with all that is and you know it. The only way to experience becoming anything is to first be what it is not. Thus, we come here to forget that which we already are so that we can experience becoming that which we already were, but forgot…

The funny thing is, as long as fear of doing the wrong thing or being the wrong thing is what is driving someone to make the “right” choices to get into what they think is alignment, they’ll never actually get into alignment, because they’re still living in a state of fear. Oh the irony!

Xo,

Ash

 

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The Purpose of The Ego

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

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

Question from a reader:

“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? I guess we have to respect both?”

It sounds like you are using “personality” here as another word for the ego, so let me define a few things before I attempt to answer your question so that we’re all on the same page.

The Ego
I define the ego as a personality construct of sorts, a persona or an identity that we develop for ourselves. The ego is complex and it’s made up of a series of beliefs that we hold about ourselves and who we are, many of which are shaped by outside forces as we develop as children. The ego is the totality of our conscious self. It is how we see ourselves. This is the Jungian view of the Ego, wherein it is only a small part of the total self–in essence, the part of yourself that is fully known to you. The part that is NOT fully known to you, Jung calls the shadow self.

Personality
The way I define personality isn’t necessarily that it is a set of beliefs about ourselves, but rather the result of that set of beliefs: a way of thinking and acting. It’s more of a mechanism through which the self is expressed. You might also think of it as a unique expression of the soul in this singular incarnation.

The Self, The Soul, and The Spirit
In Jungian terms, all of the things we previously discussed, both conscious and unconscious, universal and singular, roll up together into the “Self,” including the universal archetypes, the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves, and the collective unconscious. You might say that Jung’s notion of an actualized “Self” was a fully enlightened, integrated human being.

I’m reading a great book right now called Eastern Body, Western Mind which marries the subjects of Jungian psychology with the concept of the chakra system. In this book, the author makes an excellent point about the concept of soul and spirit.

Some people use those words interchangeably, while others make a distinction between soul as being an “incarnate” spirit, and a spirit being a soul when it is not incarnate.

The author of the book explained this in a much more fluid fashion, and since I find that so many other spiritual concepts are also extremely fluid, this really resonated with me. We hear about how the soul enters and leaves the body through the crown chakra and typically we think of that as something that happens once per lifetime. So, as most people see it, a soul enters the body where it dwells until the body dies.

Instead of going with the notion that soul and spirit are two “different” things, imagine the “spirit” as simply being the universal energy of all that is. “God,” if you will, or “spirit” as some people refer to it. Spirit is the energy flowing down through the body, entering through the crown and flowing down through each of the chakras to the root, which is the most material that the spirit can be–a body. This, we would call “soul.”

Basically, the concept of soul and spirit are fluid. Soul is what is closer to the earth (root chakra) and spirit is what is closer to “Heaven” (crown chakra).  Both are a part of one another, but express themselves in varying degrees depending on where they find themselves.

Alignment is simply when you are fully embodying here on earth, that universal energy, or as I said in my previous post on alignment, when you are acting, living, and being in a loving vibration.

When one is not in alignment, we are living from our unexamined ego self and ignoring the unconscious part of ourselves. We behave and react out of conditioned responses rather than truly acting from a “free” will, which is unencumbered by negative belief patterns.

Neale Donald Walsh explained it in another way in Conversations with God, where God said, “Your will is my will, but my will is not your will.” This is when a person is not in alignment, when they are not acting, living and being in a loving vibration. When they are living and acting from fear.

You will know when you’re in alignment, because you will feel loved and you will feel happy and fulfilled, and that will be expressed through your personality.

Xo,

Ash

 

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The Purpose of The Ego

What’s in an Ego?

What’s in an Ego?

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To let go or not to let go?

You hear a lot from certain spiritual teachers about letting go of or destroying the ego, but in psychological terms, the ego is the most precious part of the id, ego, superego trifecta. It mediates between the id and superego. It is the vanguard of reality and common sense.

The ego is what we need more of, not less. It doesn’t obscure. It clarifies.

I think there’s often (not always) a fundamental difference in the perception of the ego in spiritual terms and in psychological terms. People often define them differently.

The way I view the ego, it’s a combination of things:

A set of personality traits chosen and expressed by the soul, which is carried with that soul when it crosses over and then the beliefs which are created by and integrated with it as you grow and have experiences here on the earth plane. These aspects of belief are “left behind” when the soul leaves, although all experiences are recorded. The ego itself is our mechanism through which we are able to have an incarnate human experience.

When spiritual people talk about dissolution of the ego, what they mean is usually the illusion of separation (identity) and beliefs (particularly the negative ones about the self) that get integrated with the soul portion while physically incarnate. It’s this aspect of the ego which causes issues, particularly when it is unhealthy (full of unhealthy beliefs about the self and the remnants of various psychological traumas). When the ego is built with unhealthy beliefs, it perceives that it is not loved and that there is a lack of love, and it acts accordingly.

To truly destroy one’s ego would be to cease having a human experience. If we were to do that while still existing in a human body, it would look like being zenned out in a transcendental meditation all day every day. There’s not a lot of growing, learning, or experiencing involved in that.

To me, it’s not about letting go of the ego. It’s about letting go of the negative aspects of the ego, accepting, integrating and healing the shadow self. Deconstructing the ego down to its bare bones–the personality that the spirit came in with–and rebuilding it in the image of the higher self, bringing yourself into alignment with your higher consciousness, which is love-based, and sees itself as a reflection of all that is, thereby harnessing the ego and bringing it into alignment with higher consciousness, and becoming a living embodiment of love on earth.

How many of you have heard it both ways and were really confused about what it meant and why it was conflicting?

Xo,

Ash

 

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