What is the "ego"?

Viner Cent (@Viner-Cent) 7 years, 2 months ago

So, I have been wondering. I have read many discussions and posts “how to defeat your ego” “my ego is holding me back” “my ego is fighting against me” and so on and so on. Basically, this ego was always some part of their brain in hindering their “path to spirituality”. Now, I am trying not to judge, but sometimes to me it seems to be some part of the brain protecting them from going completely bonkers. But now, what is this ego? What is it trying to do? Is it not your own brain? Or is there some misterious “indoctrination” that is still left and has a life of its own? I have no clue. I never had a problem, but I am trying to understand. Any help would be great.

Thank you for your replies,


April 27, 2015 at 12:43 pm
Beverly Johnson (48) (@lovydovybevy) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

Ego is a very interesting and abstract concept that many people have different views on, but for me the ego is something that is within our minds which wants to be fed in order to maintain some semblance of self-importance & “public-sanity” for ourselves. It keeps us from doing things that are new and different because it says “That’s stupid, you’ll look so stupid doing that, you’re better than that”. It’s also connected to your pride in that sense. This is why you see people saying, my ego is keeping me from becoming the person I want to be, because it holds so many back from doing things that will help them grow. 

It’s extremely hard for me to explain, and I’m still questioning what I wrote right now haha but that’s the closest I can get to it. I’m definitely open to other opinions about it. But hope that shed a little light for you maybe?

Gabriel Njaim (29) (@gabrielanjaim) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

 First of all, none of us should fight against or try to destroy the ego. The ego is somewhat important to us. Its an essence. As Adyashanti says, the ego is almost like a perfume that permeates us. Its important to feel an essence of who we are, to know our own place here. The problem begins when we start to name this essence, and then we try to improve it too hard. We end up creating fake images to present ourselves to society, describe our characteristics and define our way of being. When in truth, we are fluid beings. The being who started writing this short note isnt the same as the one who is writing now, and the one who is writing now is not the same one that is gonna finish it.&nbsp;</p><p>We are a brief reflex of all the experiences we have ever had in life. &nbsp;A reflex of the contents we were exposed to and situations we found ourselves in. And so is everyone. I would think the same way as you do and do the same things that you do if I was exposed to the same contents that you were. Thats a basic insight in order not to judge.

I`m not really sure if I helped you finding the answers for your questions, hahah, But, in all cases, try considering that maybe a concrete description of ego is still out of our spectrum of communication when it comes to spiritual enlightenment. 

Daniel Barenboim (6) (@Potential) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

I love your explanation Gabriel. I think most people have trouble understanding that we are simply a state of awareness. The ego arose out of that awareness as a form of identification. As you said, relative the past to who we are in the present and what we want in the future. The term “reflex” is a fascinating new way of looking at it that I had not considered. It’s so easy to go along with the ego that it is almost completely like a reflex. Except for the fact that we can change this reflex. Although that may be the hardest thing in the world to do.

Zayn (17) (@Apollo777) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

The mental construct that separates you from everything else.

LVX (297) (@Vovinawol) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

I think that the ego is only in the way of the rest of our self when we let it remain at odds with the rest of our self. If the ego was a cup and the water in it being our thoughts and emotions, then the only difference between a student and a master would be that the masters cup is less full than the students cup is. So it’s not like any master has destroyed his ego, but has merely integrated it with the rest of his BEing. It changes but never disappears. The master has a cup that he can magically keep adding water too and it remains at the same level of water somehow, but when the student keeps adding water, his cup overflows. So both have this cup, yet the thoughts and emotions in each of the two are different.
I guess another way to view the two cups could be to see one having muddy water in it and the other having clean and crystal clear water in it.
Any of us who have ever studied the eastern teachings will remember that they speak alot about how a full cup cannot hold anything more and that an empty one can be filled with something new.

ZenMasters (0) (@ZenMaster) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

Mind is consciousness which has put on ‘limitations’. You are originally
unlimited and perfect. Later you take on perceived ‘limitations’ and
become the mind. The central core of all your mind activity consists of
certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive
patterns that you identify with most strongly. In most cases, when you
say “I,” it is the ego speaking, not you. This ego consists of thought
and emotion, of a bundle of memories you identify with as “me and my
story,” of habitual roles you play without knowing it, of collective
identifications such as nationality, religion, race, social class, or
political allegiance. It also contains personal identifications, not
only with possessions, but also with opinions, external appearance,
long-standing resentments, or concepts of yourself as better than or not
as good as others, as a success or failure. Most people are so
completely identified with that voice in their head–the incessant
stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that
accompany it–that we may describe them as being possessed by their
mind. As long as you are completely unaware of this, you take the
thinker to be all of who you are. A healthy mind is a balanced mind. A
healthy mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a
specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay it down.
Internal and external are ultimately one. When you no longer perceive
the world as hostile, there is no more fear, and when there is no more
fear, you think, speak and act differently. Love and compassion arise,
and they affect the world. Even if you find yourself in a conflict
situation, there is an outflow of peace into the polarities. As we grow
in our consciousness, there will be more compassion and more love. The
illusionary barriers between people, between religions, between nations
will begin to fall

Peter (13) (@pedrorx) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

I recommend you read the buddhist opinion about ego. It says that it is just an illusion, something that makes us suffer. The body and the mind are in constant change, so that you are never the same. Being attached to some part of this changing proccess is what creates ego, the illusion that you are something immutable, leading you to ignore others and look only to your own self, what stops you from attaining higher levels of perception and wisdom about the truth and the world. That is something like what i just said, though i really recommend you to read about the buddhist doctrines and also meditation is said to be able to break your ego. good luck mate.

Viner Cent (50) (@Viner-Cent) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

I am sorry I am coming back to this so late, I had to prepare an exam and a presentation and had no time to read all your replies and reflect on them. I am going to try to sum this up to see if I understood it. The ego is a (primitive) form of self identification, and anything arising from that. The problem is, it is limiting your view and ability to reflect to this ego and thus making you, well, let’s call it selfish. But when you try to keep your ego as simple as possible (I know my skills and weaknesses and some other stuff) it is easier to be non biased and reflect on the stance of other people. as most conflicts arise from conflicting stances. That way you are a lot more understanding and thus peaceful. Did I get it right?

Daniel Barenboim (6) (@Potential) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

I believe you have summed it up rather well but while I read this and compare it to all the other writings I’ve read on the ego, I feel as though this description is missing a few key components. I am hoping someone else that has a larger knowledge for this type of stuff will fill in what is missing.

LVX (297) (@Vovinawol) 7 years, 2 months ago ago

I’m a big fan of the eastern teachings about the ego, but as with all things we study (esoterically),  they are mostly a paraphrase intended to stress a point rather than to be taken literally. As others will disagree, I simply feel that as long as we have a physical body we will have some sort of ego. The concept of “ego death” is more of a transformation rather than an annihilation of it. It is more a change of what it serves rather than it’s death. Going beyond our physical existence, is there a sort of ego death that is possible? Yes there is. It is on the upper mental plane of our existence. However, this is a spiritual trap to those who have been there, and it is full of souls who have become a battery rather than a soul that chooses to be active in any beneficial or malevolent way. A battery rather than a device that we place a battery into.

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