There is a popular TV commercial with a catchy phrase, “Let go of my Eggo.” This article is not about waffles but it is about the waffling that takes place in our lives when we won’t let go of our ego.
The term ego is familiar in secular and spiritual languages. Ego was introduced into the world of psychology in the early 1900s, by Sigmund Freud and now it is a household word. Interestingly, in the 1700s it had more of a metaphysical meaning. It meant the self that feels, acts, or thinks separately from the universe. It is derived from the Latin meaning I.
Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, The New Earth and The Journey into Yourself, explains the ego as something much more than a perception of an overinflated sense of self importance. It can also appear as self-loathing and a sense of inferiority. Tolle said, “Think of the ego as a heavy protective shell, such as beetles or turtles have. It works as a protective armor.”
When we are operating from the ego, we have this protective armor on that is prepared for an attack. We believe there is danger everywhere and that we are always in danger. This illusion justifies being defensive. This illusion of danger perpetuates a sense of isolation which creates separation. It becomes all about the “I” not the “We”.
Joseph Campbell said this of ego, “The trick is how to get rid of the ego as a dictator and turn it into our messenger and servant and scout, to be in our service, not its.” Ego untamed can cause us to employ defense mechanisms that we mistakenly believe are keeping us safe but what they are really doing is keeping us separated. The untamed ego sees us at risk of losing our self. The untamed ego sees things personally. (Remember that ego means I. Or it is all about me.) Consequently it takes things personally so it is easily offended or has a strong case of “entitlement”. The untamed ego operates from fear. Fear of not being good enough, a fear of being controlled.
I sometimes think of the ego as a fishing pole. A fishing pole has two ends, one end is the handle and one end is the hook. The handle serves us and the world well. It defines our individuality and unique gifts. It operates in unity with the universe. The hook end of ego is the fear end. It operates from fear, believing the world is not safe. When this occurs, the armor is needed. The armor shows up as defensiveness and close mindedness. When you experience yourself reacting that way, you know you have been “hooked”.
How does one let go of the ego that hooks us?
I am here to confirm that it is strictly an INSIDE job. A call for action is needed. NAME IT – CLAIM IT – TAME IT.
The NAME IT piece is looking at our fears, defenses and any separateness. Whether it be that we think we are more than another or that we are less than another. I urge you to CLAIM your birthright to be equal. Your individual talents are to be cultivated and shared.
The TAME IT part is the transcending piece.
Taking on the untamed ego no easy task but it is extremely rewarding if you are willing to do so. Here are my top 10 tools for transcending the ego:
- Remember who you really are – a blessed human with awesome potential.
- Remember who everyone else is too – a blessed human with awesome potential.
- Let go of anything that is not in alignment with highest good.
- Be willing to confront your fears.
- Let go of the need to be right and consider the infinite possibilities for your future.
- Stop shrinking so others will not feel insecure.
- Quiet your monkey mind (with Truth).
- Dismantle and release belief systems that no longer serve you.
- Choose selfless service.
- Spend time in meditation.
By Sherry Petro-Surdel