The Ego: Friend or Foe?

"The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego. The second half is going inward and letting go of it." - Carl G. Jung

Hi this is Emerald and welcome to the Diamond Net. and today I want to talk to you about the ego.

Now when I say ego most people relate this to people who think too much of themselves or are conceited but everyone has an ego. In fact, the ego is the central complex of the mind. The ego is the place that most of us inhabit in our field of consciousness. It's where we make decisions and our self concept is formed. It's the person we call "I". and it gives us the impression that we are separate beings from all other beings and forces in our environment.

It's where we get ideas of the self and other so it's me in here and them out there. It's our sense of separateness and it's a great too for our survival and competition but many problems come up from the ego. In fact most of the problems that we face in the world come directly from the ego consciousness paradigm.

Now because the ego's primary concern is to create a particular sense of self it has many protection mechanisms in place to protect the ego from things that might harm or dismantle it. Thus it uses selective focus and edits our experiences to protect itself from harm. So it ignores and represses different experiences, personality traits, and aspects of reality that stand in opposition to the self concept it has created.

Let's say, for example, that in my ego's self concept I think of myself as an open-minded person and I think of that as my primary strength. I'm first going to think of that as being the most valuable trait in everyone and start judging other people based on my standards open mindedness. I will also create blind spots to times when I'm not open minded and kind of white wash over that so I don't have to deal with the discomfort of having to cast a negative judgment on myself for not being open-minded.

Now someone else could think that open minded people are irresponsible and too permissive and so their ego is going to do the same process only they're going to be thinking of open-mindedness as a vice instead of a virtue.

Now the ego is also very sneaky. We can want very positive noble things for egoic reasons. For example, we can want to be desireless, we can be proud of being humble, and we can internally boast to ourselves of our lack of pride. These mindsets are subtle signs of the ego at work.

The ego cares about how it is seen by itself and by others and it creates arbitrary standards and then lies to itself about how closely it fits those standards. The ego is either self-congratulatory or self-deprecating depending on how closely we fit with the standards it has set. And so we paint ourselves into a little box and shut our eyes to the full depth and breadth of our own existence.

So, the more heavy and rigid a person's ego becomes the more and more traits and aspects of reality are relegated to the unconscious where they become part of the shadow. When this repression happens our field of consciousness get smaller and smaller and we being to lost touch with ourselves and with our wisdom. and from this comes many negative mindsets like greed, hatred, and ignorance.

When a person experiences traumas the ego doubles down and begins to repress all of the traits and aspects of reality that link back to what caused the trauma. Now this creates complexes which are inter related groups of repressed traits. This is done with positive intention from the ego because it seeks to protect the individual from harmful influences so doesn't experience the trauma again. However, these repression protection mechanisms that the ego creates often work at cross-purposes to one another and create a lot of mental distress, abnormal behavior, and just a restriction of consciousness in general.

A person can also add activities, beliefs, and preferences to their ego identity to where if these things get criticized in any way it can feel like a slight to the person. This is because the ego has begun to attach itself and identify with those things , so as a person's standards get more refined the ego gets a lot more constricting.

Now everyone, except for a miniscule percentage of people who are enlightened, are coming form an egoic perspective and so repression is just a natural part of that mechanism. So, some might have more repressions than others but no one can escape it altogether if the ego is at the center of the mind.

Our best bet from an egoic perspective to reintegrate our repressed traits is to do a process like shadow work where we're going in one by one and reintegrating traits back into our conscious mind. However, to get rid of repression altogether we have to escape from the trap of ego completely.

But how do we get rid of the ego?

Well the answer is that we don't. We don't want to get rid of the ego because it's part of the human psyche it's a natural part of it so if we try to get rid of the ego it just becomes another repression and in fact if becomes the biggest repression because we're repressing the entire self concept. So repressing the ego is like taking ten steps in the wrong direction.

When a person does this life becomes like a game of chess with no king. Life loses all meaning and the personality begins to degrade and crumble while the ego functions from the shadow. It's at that point that the entire personality becomes a complex and we could even be outright clinically insane if we do this.

You can't just decide to become ego less and achieve it like you would all other goals. You can't will yourself to enlightenment. This is just like if you were to go up to a flower outside and start tugging on it to get it to grow faster. It just isn't going to work. Your flower is just going to get uprooted.

Instead of trying to get of our ego we should seek to soften the ego and displace it from the center of our consciousness and I'll go ahead and I'll call this radical decentering. Radical decentering means that the ego is still there but it just doesn't function as the whole entire psyche it functions as a small part of the psyche and that way we can observe it with pure awareness.

At that point, we can become detached and liberated from the stories that it confabulates about us. Until our consciousness is expanded far enough to transcend the ego we must be mindful and radically self-honest. We must be able to admit to where we are and how we feel.

We must become sensitive to the workings of the mind and body to stretch our consciousness further. So don't pretend anything. Admit to exactly where you are. Don't pretend to yourself that you've transcended the ego when you haven't.

If you feel competitive admit it yourself. If you feel like you want to be better than other people admit that to yourself. There's no use in trying to be a morally perfect person and you know you really have to be willing to be imperfect to do this work and to really make progress in expanding your mind enough to transcend the ego. So, you have to be able to look at your flaws without judgement otherwise these things just become more repressions because they get swept under the rug.

But how do we expand our consciousness?

Well, to do this we need to get a sense that the ego is just a small part of the vast universe that is our mind. So we need to look at our internal state of being and investigate the ego with an observer's mind. That we can even observe the ego means that there is a form of awareness that is separate from the ego.

When we're able to see the ego like this, we begin to get a sense of our own expansiveness and how we don't just stop where our self concept stops. When we can observe the ego, we get a sense that our mind is a lot more expansive than we once thought.

In order to do this, we must experience for ourselves the truth of oneness. This means that we realize that our sense of separation from everything around us is an illusion.

Now, it doesn't help to know this in an abstract way. It doesn't help you at all that I've told you this. You have to have a real living breathing experience of oneness.

So, to illustrate the truth of oneness better, I'll give an analogy.

You want to think about in this analogy that there's one giant ocean and that giant ocean is all of existence. Now, you want to think that the ocean is all powerful, it is eternal, it's not going anywhere, it is THE thing that exists. Now you want to think of particular waves in the ocean like our separate sense of self. Now, from looking at that we could say that "Oh, yeah, the wave is just another part of the ocean. The wave is the ocean itself."

But let's say that a wave could think of itself as separate and have an existential crisis. So, when the wave is born from the ocean, it crests, it troughs, and then it dies its death back into the ocean. Maybe this wave is very nervous about that happening because it's attached to the particularities of being a wave. It's attached to its wave consciousness. It doesn't realize that it is the ocean itself.

Now, if the wave were to realize that it was the ocean. It would have nothing to fear, because it would realize that it could never be destroyed but that it was a very important part of that ocean no matter what. We're also like waves in the ocean. We also have our birth, growth, decay, and death. And because separation is an illusion for us too we are also, all of existence.

When we shift and expand our mental paradigm from ego-centric consciousness to pure awareness we begin to realize that we are just an extension of everything else. All illusions of separateness fall away and the natural byproduct of this is peace, harmony, and good intention toward all beings.

We feel a sense of unconditional love to all things in existence because we are whole again.

Now, I personally am far from being enlightened. But when I was twenty I had an episode of radical decentering and it was the most beautiful experience that I ever had.

It was like all boundaries between myself and the outside world melted away and I felt like I was just a small but very significant part of everything that was. And like it was just a state of pure unconditional love, like I completely accepted everything exactly as it was and even the most mundane things were so beautiful. In fact, it was the most beautiful experience that I've ever had in my life.

One of the byproducts of being in this state was that all fear left me, like I wasn't even afraid of death anymore because I just understood that I could never really truly die because I was all of existence and all of existence would always exist and I was just a part of that and the concept of Emerald was just a story that I told and so I didn't feel like I needed to protect that story anymore and I didn't feel like I had a self that was in jeopardy.

Also, another very interesting thing that came from that radical decentering is because I didn't feel like I had a separate self to protect anymore all of my repressions became obsolete and so I just didn't need to repress things anymore and so all of the traits that I had been keeping in my shadow for so long that I wasn't aware of just completely rose up to the surface and I was able to completely see them as they were and I was also able to realize exactly the stories that I told myself to repress them and the stories I had to continue telling myself in order to continue repressing them.

Because my consciousness was expanded during this state I was also able to perceive different workings in my mind that I wouldn't normally be able to perceive like one that was very very interesting and peculiar that I know if I would have perceived it from an everyday mundane egoic consciousness it would have bothered me, was that I had like these two sides of myself and one side was always trying to be helpful and trying to give me thoughts that were positive and constructive for the world, but then I had this other side that was a direct counterpoint to that that was constantly telling me to like just destroy everything and it was where all my anger and hatred was and it even had urges for violence in there that I did not even know were there.

But I was able to observe this mental state like just from afar and you know even seeing that chaos inside of me was just beautiful to observe because I wasn't judging any of it.

It wasn't like "Oh no! I'm thinking negative thoughts here!" it was "Oh. This is just something that's happening in my mind and I get to watch it unfold." and it was as beautiful as watching a sunset.

Also, my everyday surroundings that I would normally take for granted and just think like "Oh this is just reality blah" It was actually. I realized just how beautiful it was and how many layers deep everything was.

I know that's a weird way to put it but it was like I just saw so many different things in everyday mundane experiences that I wouldn't normally appreciate or even be aware of. Like looking at a tree was just amazing to look at a tree and just realize that that thing exists in front of me. I know I'm not really conveying this extremely well but it was pretty much indescribable just how amazing I realized the fact that everything here exists and that it exists just so particularly and I just got a really intense sense that you know it's really heaven on Earth if you have the right eyes to see it.

Also, my emotions were no longer repressed and kept in a little box, like and I realized just how much depth my emotions had to them like my emotions weren't just something I felt here they were like all the way out here like so when I felt joy, I felt extreme amounts of joy that you know it was even more intense joy than I ever felt in childhood which is saying something because I felt a lot of joy in my childhood.

Also, occasionally a little bit of sadness or anger would pop up here and there but it was like I ceased to even see those things as negative, they were just mechanisms at work inside of me.

It wasn't like "Oh no. I'm getting angry. That makes me a bad person and therefore I shouldn't be feeling this way." It was also a beautiful emotion and I just realized that as part of me.

So, I was able to kind of relate my negative personality traits and my negative emotions in a way that they were kind of like lava. Like, if you're far enough away to observe them, they're just a beautiful natural occurrence.

However, you don't want to step in lava. When you get attached to lava and you actually touch it that's when it turns into a problem but that it exists is just a fact of nature.

Now I would love to go into how to get to this state but unfortunately because this video is all about the ego I want to save this for a topic for a later video.

So, that's all I have for now. I hope that you enjoyed this video.

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And until next time... keep becoming more you.