In Defense of the Ego
The ego is a much maligned aspect of our selves. The ego has been the target of the best and worst intentioned of individuals and groups. On one hand we have governments and organizations that insist on ego annihilation and subjugation of individual will for the "good of the state" or some other group. Because the ego questions, the ego insists on its individual freedom, the ego does not willingly submit to the unreasonable, destructive demands of a totalitarian government or organization such as the military or some religious groups, that set out to destroy any semblance of individual will. Then there are those who espouse destruction of the ego as a means of, or enroute to, enlightenment. The view here is that the ego is somehow evil or somehow separate from the total being. Although no one could question the desirability of achieving a higher state of awareness, one might question ego annihilation as a means to that end. The ego is one aspect of the total self. The ego is the aspect that the higher self, God, the Divine Master, the Tao, the One Mind, or whatever you wish to call it, created to interact with all other aspects of the physical universe. Its task is to survive these interactions and thrive. The ego takes its task seriously. It looks after its various individual selves and thrives, and forgets. In forgetting, the ego may become so self centered in accomplishing its assigned tasks that it acts in ways detrimental to other individuals and its environment and it is out of balance with the universe and its purpose. Somewhere along the line though, the questions always return; the who, why , or what am I ? And what is it that asks the question? What is it that struggles to find the answer; that builds temples when it thinks its found an answer. What is it that contemplates the possibility of eternity and a universe of unlimited possibilities? It is not the higher self, or the god within, because it knows! It is the ego that struggles to awareness. It is the ego that becomes enlightened. It is the ego that continues to interact on the physical plane even as the answers become clear. But, once enlightened, aware of who and what it is, it acts and reacts in a totally new way. It knows that its individual well being is connected at the very deepest and highest level with its environment and all other entities in this creation. The goal then, should not be to destroy the ego(unless you're planning on disappearing in some spectacular pyrotechnic display upon achieving satori) but to bring it into balance with the rest of your individual aspects and the aspects of all the other entities manifest in this timespace construct. I propose that our purpose in being here is not, as the Buddha said, "to suffer", or as others say, to learn. Considering the all knowing nature of the one mind it would be a dismally short play and boring to boot...."let me tell you about suffering". Rather, I believe we are here to experience this creation, both its joys and sorrows. The ego in balance can appreciate the joy and the sorrow without becoming attached to them because it knows they only have meaning in the duality of the physical universe. The ego in balance, the aware ego, that aspect of the all that makes you you, will graciously give up its attachment to this world when it is time. There is nothing you have to do to the ego but remember who and what you are.