Let Go, My Ego!

You should be able to remember your zip code as you drift in intergalactic ecstasy.
– Ram Dass

Is there a place for ego in spiritual growth and unfoldment?

The ego is sometimes looked upon as “the enemy,” an obstacle to enlightenment, something that craves, wants, grasps, and generally keeps us separate from the rest of the world.

In truth, the ego has gotten a bum rap. The ego is nothing but a level of consciousness that evolved as a necessary construct for survival. Cavemen needed to understand themselves as separate beings in order to distinguish friend from foe, reality from fantasy, and predator from prey. The same is true today: while walking across the street, if you’re not aware of the distinction between you and the traffic, you’re liable to get hit by a car.

To resist the ego, to label it as “bad” disrespects millions of years of evolution. The evolving ego has ensconced mankind at the top of the food chain—a place of true safety, comfort, and power. Freed from the preoccupation with individual survival, the human race can now focus on the collective good and the evolution of consciousness.

On a personal level, the ego, like the body, must be healthy and functioning in order to transcend. Just as one cannot function in everyday life if one is sick, one can’t spiritually evolve if the ego is not strong enough to fulfill its needs: nourishment, shelter and self-expression. When there is dis-ease in the body or mind, we are distracted from our true purpose: union with God.

Therefore, it is important to have ones egoic “structures” (personal identity, independence, self-esteem) in place as a platform to move toward greater awareness. As we reach higher and higher levels of consciousness, we learn to see and accept our whole selves—even the ego—as an expression of God.

(Originally printed in InnerVisions Magazine, published by Agape International Spiritual Center. www.agapelive.com)