EGO = Everything Gets Ominous
I just came up with that acronym, which seems to succinctly capture that mischievous creature which resides in all of our minds.
The ego can be loosely defined as the part of your mind that separates yourself from others, or your sense of self-importance.
As you’ve probably experienced, the ego can be deceptive, shadowy and a master of creating problems out of nothing. But it’s not all negative. The ego is necessary for things like your (physical) survival and personal uniqueness.
While the ego is a natural part of being human, the key is not letting it run the show. As long as you’re human, there will be ego, but does it control you? Are you completely engulfed by it? Or can you draw your perspective back and observe it?
The ego is a terrible master because it lives off of fear. It only exists because the reality we’re living in is based upon duality and separation, which is divergent from the truth of oneness (see my series on oneness, linked below). Being a product of this disharmonious paradigm, the ego exists in perpetual fear and seeks to control every situation to ensure its survival. This is why people who are completely controlled by ego live in constant fear, create problems out of thin air and try to control everything. When you’re not mastered by the ego, you can let go of fear, follow your intuition and trust the process of life.
What Does Your Ego Look Like?
I recently participated in a guided meditation that included visualizing the ego. And I was surprised, because the image that instantly came to me was the Pokemon “Gengar” (see the picture below).
It’s so appropriate, especially when reading the description on Bulbapedia…
“Gengar has the ability to hide perfectly in the shadow of any object, granting it exceptional stealth. However, Gengar’s body acts as a heat sink; its presence cools the temperature of the surrounding area by nearly 10°F, because it absorbs the warmth. In addition, Gengar possesses the ability to fly through the air, as demonstrated in the anime.
Gengar is very mischievous, and at times, malicious. It enjoys playing practical jokes and casting curses, such as pretending to be one’s shadow, then behaving erratically. When the quarry notices, the Gengar takes delight in its victim’s terror. However, Gengar has been known to be loyal to a Trainer who treats it well. Gengar lives in shadows of rooms, caves, and dark places where shadows form. It is especially fond of urban areas such as cities and back alleys, but only during the night.”
Why the Ego is Like Gengar
- It’s the “shadow self” or negative aspects of yourself that remain hidden – “Gengar has the ability to hide perfectly in the shadow of any object, granting it exceptional stealth.”
- It’s “mischievous, and times, malicious.” – The ego is cunning and deceptive. If you let it run the show, it will sneakily create problems and coat your life with an undertone of fear.
- It’s a good servant, but a terrible master – “Gengar has been known to be loyal to a Trainer who treats it well.” When you’re able to just observe the ego, without being governed by it, life is all good.
Now let’s get into some practical tools.
How to Know When Your Ego is Coming Out to Play
(This is not a definitive list by any means. But it will give you a good idea about how to know when your ego is popping up.)
- If you’re feeling self-doubt
- If there is any “problem” that does not involve immediate danger (like getting chased by a bear)
- If you’re judging
- If you’re blaming someone or something
- If you’re offended
- If you feel good only because someone complimented you
- If you choose a label as your identity (nationality, race, religion…etc)
- If you feel any form of fear (The ego is sustained by fear. The fundamental fear is the fear of death (or non-existence), because the ego dies with the physical body)
- If you’re playing out scenarios in your head
- If you’re trying to justify yourself
- If you’re trying to prove that you’re right
- If you’re playing the victim
- If you see others as separate from you or your group
- If you’re instantly labeling something
- If you’re feeling inferior or superior
- If you’re comparing
- If you’re jealous
- If you’re attempting to control a situation, person…etc (anything related to control is ego)
- If you’re making decisions based on what other people think of you
- If you’re nervous or anxious
- If you have a static image (persona) of yourself that you’re trying to maintain
2 quick tips to help you distinguish between your heart and your ego:
1. Ask yourself if the source of the thoughts or beliefs is that of a wise elder or a cynical, fearful skeptic speaking. The wise elder is your heart wisdom (the inner truth, which I discuss in more detail in this article), while the cynical, fearful skeptic is the ego.
2. Is it coming from a place of love or fear? Love is heart. Fear is ego. Simple as that.
Remember, there’s no need to judge or condemn the ego. That’s actually how the ego sneaks in again through the back door. Just accept it and observe it. Because once you’re aware of the ego, you’re beyond it and it no longer controls you.
Ego Visualization Meditation
1. Sit, stand or lie down with your eyes closed (whichever is more comfortable).
2. Take 10 deep breaths through your nose, focusing on your breath.
3. Visualize your ego – Let go and see what image pops into your head. What does it look like? What color(s) is it? Is it similar to something you’ve seen before?
4. Visualize your ego in front of you – What feelings do you get? What vibe does it give off?
5. Shake hands with it or pet it (depending on what it is).
6. Smile at it with compassion and amusement, knowing you’re the master.
Try this out. Acquaint yourself with your ego. Build that awareness and you’ll be able to differentiate between the blabberings of your ego from the intuitive wisdom of your true self.
A fun challenge to give you more “ego awareness”:
If someone gives you an ego compliment (ex/ “You look good today.”), respond with “My ego thanks you.” It’s hilarious, lighthearted and will cultivate more awareness regarding the ego.
So I’ll leave you with the question, what does your ego look like?
– Stevie P!