Do you need the ego?

Some teachers say, “yes, ego is necessary.”

In fact, I’ve had many discussions with students who also believe that ego is necessary.

Freud defined ego as the mediator between the self and the world.  So the argument goes like this, that without an ego we would get hurt or worse. We need  that mediator.

But is that true?  Do you really need the ego to protect you from harm?

Ego by definition is separation.

It is an identity that is created in our minds.  This identity not only creates separation from others, it creates separation from Self/Source/God.

Separation from others is a problem because separation creates  “subject” and “object” relationships.  That is, “me” and “you;” “us” and “them.”

This sense of separation engenders feelings of  fear because the ego cannot see itself as the “other,’ so it must compete for resources.

For example, from the egoic point of view, there is never ever enough for everyone…there isn’t enough love, material goods, money, food, or beauty to go around.

So ego has a tendency to hoard what it has while at the same time wanting what others have.

In the process, it creates spiritual poverty for itself and material poverty for others.

How does wholeness heal?

The pay-off to releasing the ego is peace of mind, joy, and according to the Buddha, the end of suffering.

In my mind’s eye, a world without ego is a world living in cooperation.

For example, two people want to build a bridge.  The first architect has drawn up plans using a method that she’s used before with great success.  The second person creates a new plan that is more effective then the first.  Both people agree that the second plan is superior and share resources to build the bridge together.

How would you feel now if the situation arose where another person’s plan, idea, or gadget was better than yours? Would you congratulate him? Or would you feel slighted and competitive?

Contemplate how ego serves you.  Listen to the voice in your head. Watch your reactions to other people.  Pay attention to how you feel.  Determine for yourself what has merit for you and what doesn’t.

Come to meditation class.



Photo Credit: Vladlane Vadek