Mind WorX – Ego
PROBING the mysteries of the mind in an attempt to see how we work can be a fascinating pastime. Also it forms part of the important lessons we need to learn to better understand ourselves. We are under the assumption that the ego – the topic of conversation (and the culprit) in most of this series is a part of the mind, but is it? What exactly is the ego?
That is a very difficult question to answer, for it is the ego that is influencing the writing (and reading) of this story – a sticking point that is impossible to get away from – for to be a human being here on earth means by association, to be under the egos influence. The physical universe is its habitat and stamping ground, more so than it is ours.
Maybe though, it might be possible to sneak up on the ego and get a small glimpse of its true nature, something that the ego does not like, for it hates to be found out. It would much rather work unnoticed in the background.
The first revelation is – the ego, as a separate intelligent entity – does not exist. It is a figment of our imagination. That is difficult to come to grips with because what we believe to be ourselves – the ego – will protest saying, ‘but I am me, I am alive.’ In reality though, it is a phantom, a ghost who pretends to be real.
If it does not exist, how then can the ego protest? Because it is really you, not the ego that is supplying the intelligence attributed to the ego. We are of the mind and we confuse the mind with the ego but – the ego is not the mind and the mind is not of the ego. We have locked ourselves into a false identity crisis.
The ego is an integral part of the body, the machine we use to get around this physical world in. The egos workplace is the brain, that wrinkly clump of soft, spongy matter that’s between our ears. Within the brain lies the egos library. The library serves a very important purpose in that it helps ensure the survival of the body.
Back in our caveman days, to survive the hostile physical environment that surrounded us, we had to learn a lot of things including what plants to eat and what not to eat – also how to kill and prepare meat from other life forms that supplied us with the protein we needed for our body to survive.
This was facilitated by the ego that created a library of images of past events, which included all the food that was good and bad for us, so when we were hungry, the ego would sort through those past images, (what nourished us in the past, what killed us or made us sick and so on) so we would know what to eat and not eat, giving us a fair chance of surviving each day.
The same method was used to tell us how to protect ourselves from the environment. When the first cavemen got cold and wrapped an animal skin around their body, an image was made. From then on, every time they felt cold, they remembered what to do for comfort and survival. In the heat, they knew from past images to seek the shade or jump in a lake.
It’s the same scenario for the use of fire, water supply and shelter, utensils and weapons. The library of images grows bigger and bigger the longer we inhabit this world. These images for survival are passed down genetically to give our progeny the best chance of surviving physical life.
That is the one and only purpose for the ego – and its library of images – our very survival depends on them. Even today we need that library to remember how to get around in this world, to remember what to eat and not eat, our name and the names and faces of all who are close and about us – how not to get hit by a truck when we cross a road, everything we do normally as part of the rote of daily living – all of this knowledge from the past is essential for our body’s continuing survival.
So how did we stuff it up? We began rummaging through that library, reliving images from the past that we once enjoyed – and wanted to enjoy again in memory. From a library of essential survival information, it morphed into an entertainment area.
We use the librarian (ego-computer) to do the rummaging as it is its library after all. This idle activity was not necessary but as time passed, it became addictive. As we got more proficient at it, we transposed those images onto an imagined future, making things very complicated and confusing.
Eventually the distinction blurred between our true self and the imagined life, supplied by the ego. We lost our true identity and believed we were the ego and the fantasy land it conjured up.
We can liken it to our car. We use our car to get about in, somewhat the same as we do our body. We know when it needs fuel, oil or water by the display gauges on the dashboard and with modern cars today, there is a computer that handles just about all of it. All we need do is hop in and go somewhere.
With our body – feelings of hunger, thirst, elimination etc take the place of gauges. The coil, timing, computer etc is the cars equivalent of the ego.
What do you think would happen if while driving along in your car one day, your mind and the machine mentally amalgamated and you suddenly believed your car was more than just a machine to get around in, but in fact was you yourself?
Men in white overalls would come along, kindly put you in a long sleeved jacket and take you away to a big building with barred windows and steel doors wouldn’t they? It sounds ludicrous, but that is how we have come to regard our ego/body.
The ego/body has no life of its own. Without us there to guide it, it would be as it is – an unmoving, finite, physical machine – the same as our car. The intelligence that we believe is the ego – is really our own intelligence that, because our mind has become clouded and confused – we wrongly attribute as that of the ego.
The mind is where we dwell whilst in this earthly body. This is the place where we experience and learn about our true selves – where we get to know who we really are. When our adventure is over, we leave – without us – the ego/body is inert and immobile, eventually returning to the earth from whence it came.
Who are ‘WE’ then? Who is this ‘US’ that guides the machine called ego/body? It is our eternal, spiritual self. That is who we really are!
Dan’s Quote: “The ego constantly competes with the spirit…
____________…for control over your inner voice.”- Darren Johnson