The Ego  
and Ego Identity

 

A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2005 by K. Ferlic, † All Rights Reserved

 
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Ego
Overview
Ego as defined in the dictionary
Ego and mind
Creativity perspective of mind, ego and awareness
The nature of ego
Where ego comes from
A cage of our own making - how we create who we think we are
Issues of ego

Ego absorption
Self preservation

Transcending the ego

Overview (Top)

The ego, as used in the creativity perspective, is seen as a vehicle for experience and does not necessarily compare to the way it is use by many every day or in a clinical setting. Within the creativity perspective it is a creation like any other creation.

What needs to be understood is that in the same way energy lies within the essence of all matter, consciousness similarly lies within all matter. In the same way energy has a wave particle nature and can exist as a wave or a particle, so does consciousness. Consciousness has the ability to locate its awareness anywhere it chooses to do so. Similarly it has the power to seemingly create something out of a "no-thing-ness." Yet, as an energy, both consciousness and energy can become very fixed and rigid localized in a particular frozen form with no freedom of movement.

The dance of creation/Creation is movement of energy and consciousness into and out a fixed form. As an energy the dance is into and out of localized and non localized energy. As consciousness it can identify itself with a particular localized form of energy or give itself an identity as to who or what it thinks it is through the ego. In a way analogous to the way our body is an aspect of our creative life energy localized to have a physical experience, our ego is an aspect of our creative spirit or consciousness localized to give a particular experience of consciousness. Consciousness can become localized into specific forms as in the traditional concept of spirit with a transcendental ego and/or a sprit within a physical body and the enculturated ego. Or, it can permeate all of reality unbounded by a body or an ego.

The ego is not something we normally consciously create. Rather it arises from, and assumes a form, quite naturally within mind based on the experiences we have had and our perception of those experiences. Mind is a property of consciousness and ego is only a construct of the mind as to what the mind thinks it is. Ego is a product of the mind and we will always have one as long as mind hold a memory. We can change our ego no so much by choosing to change it but rather by having experiences which cause the identity mind creates to change.

Ego as defined in the dictionary (Top)

Ego as defined in the dictionary is the thinking, feeling, and action self that is conscious of itself. It is aware of its distinction from the self of others and from the objects of its thought and other operations. It is also has been used as the entire man or women viewed as being composed of soul, mind and body. It has since taken on the meaning as the part of the self that is the enduring, conscious subject of varying experiences. It psychology it is the conscious aspect of the psyche that develops through contact with the external world and protects the organism by resolving conflicts between the id and the superego as to conform best with reality. The Id being the unconscious part of the psyche, independent of a sense of reality, logic, and morality but actuated by fundamental impulse towards fulfilling instinctual needs. It is the reservoir of psychic energy or libido. The superego being that part of the psyche that , with or without conscious support, act to secure the conformity of the ego to parental, social, and moral standards.

Ego and mind (Top)

It is to be noted that in the typical dictionary definition of mind it says nothing about mind being aware or conscious of itself. The typical dictionary definitions of mind is as follows.

The collection of processes originating in and/or associated with the brain, involving conscious and subconscious thought, interpretations of our experiences, perceptions, insights, imagination and the like.

Our memory and what we remembrance and recollections.

Our opinions, sentiments, convictions, desires, inclinations and wishes.

Our intellectual power or capacity represented by our intelligence.

Faculty of cognition and intellect, as opposed to the will and emotions.

It represents our attention as to keep oneís mind on a subject.

In some views of Creation, mind is seen as related to the Spirit or intelligence seen as the basic substance of the universe and distinguished from matter. In this regard mind is a psychical being.

In some religions and theologies the "Mind" it is the Divine Principle or God.

This is an extremely important note to be made. In the typical use of the concept of mind, mind is not seen as being aware of itself. Relative to awareness, ego is seen as that aspect. The ego, as typically used is seen as related to that aspect of our being that is aware and/or aware of itself.. Ego is seen as the thinking, feeling, and action self that is conscious of itself. We refer to "my" beliefs, "my" thinking, "my" opinions, where as other simply say we are "in our ego." It is the ego which is seen as being aware of being distinct or separate from the self of others and from the objects of its thought and other operations of the mind and body.

Creativity perspective of mind, ego and awareness (Top)

As working definition, mind is what we think and believe, who we think we are and how we think the universe works based on all the experiences we have had. It is what we allow ourselves to feel and not feel and the decisions we make and not make, on what we think and feel. Mind assimilates all that we have experienced and provides a perspective from which to view and experience Creation. Since mind is continually assimilating all that we experience it is a creative living process continually transforming itself.

Ego is the identity mind constructs from what it thinks and believes about itself. Ego is the identity mind gives to itself. Ego is what we use to describe who we think we are. To the mind, the awareness which resides in the mind, or view from behind the mind, is seen to reside in the ego. In reality, ego is a filter or a lens which colors how the awareness behind mind views the experiences it has. As long as there is a mind there will be an ego. The issues is how clear is the filter or lens through which the awareness of mind views the experiences it has. Within the creativity perspective, the ego is a vehicle that mind and the awareness of consciousness use as a vehicle for the experience of creation/Creation.

Awareness is that which perceives, observes and watches. It has no identity. It is seen to reside in mind but actually lies behind mind and never changes. We can access the awareness and set out side the filters and lens of the mind and ego by becoming a detached witness. The more we can detach ourselves and only witness what is, as it is, the more we move into an identification with the awareness. It is here we can come to see we never die. Only that through which we view dies or transforms creating the perception of death. If we identify with the creation we experience, we will experience death. If we identify with the awareness, we can see beyond time, space and any one existence.

Within the creativity perspective, the concepts of the detached witness and ego can be seen as lying on opposite ends of the spectrum. The more we identify with the identity mind gives itself based on the experiences it has had, the more we are in our ego. Here we see whatever we experience as happening to us personally. The more we detached from the identity mind gives itself, the more we move into the perspective of the detached witness and into a more pure awareness. The more we move into the perspective of the detached witness more we can see that mind simply creates a vehicle to experience Creation and the more the awareness that has the experience recognizes what happens to them is not personal.

The nature of ego (Top)

The ego is simply who we think we are. The "I," that becomes awareness of its own existence and recognizes its own existence as a separate being and who defines itself by the experiences it has in life, has little power to change that fact that it exists. We cannot make ourselves not exist because we already are. We exist and we continue to exist because there is a flow of energy that sustains our being.

We are a creative living process continually redefining ourselves. How we characterize the energy we feel both as an adult and a child is that our perspective has, and will, change over time. As we gain life experiences, the are usually better able to define what we experience.

In this regard, the "I" is not frozen. It continually evolves and defines itself based on it experiences but it is selective in what it chooses to define itself. Yet, all the experiences it has are not used. Only selected experiences are used to create the ego and define the who and what mind thinks it is and how it has been harmed or hurt by the world. In more way that first realized, it is only because we experience what we do in the same body that keeps the identity that we have more or less the same. Otherwise, we would see the evolution of our own being. It is only because in thinking we are our body that does not allow us to see that we change ourselves by each and every experience we have.

The easiest way to see our own evolution is to do something that is not how we define ourselves. It is to do a not doing. Not doing is to do other than who and what we think we are. It applies to movement at each and every level of being. It applies to body movements in addition to ways of being for body movements are ways of being. Not doing allows us to see and experience the world differently than what mind has experienced or it is based on doing other than what mind wants and how mind has identified itself.

Ego is not something with which we are going to do without or get rid of. We cannot escape the ego Rather it is something that will always be there and it is either active or inactive, and we of course can choose to turn it on or off. Ego is neither good nor bad and is only a vehicle for experience. Consciousness uses it to experience creation/Creation..

To think we can escape and/or transcend it and experience creation/Creation is simply the illusion of mind. The question is, "How do we construct the ego we have and do we allow our ego to change to create something different?" It is completely malleable if we allow it to be. The issue arises when we become attached to the ego or some attribute or characteristic of the ego. In many cases, the attachment we have to the ego holds us back and causes pain just an any other attachment.

We can look at issue of the ego being a vehicle for creating an experience as follows. To create any experience we need a certain amount of energy. To direct that energy into what we desire we need a certain size pipe so to speak that is sufficient large to channel the flow and not loose any of the energy we need. However, if the pipe or channel we are trying to use is too small to carry the energy, we will be unable to create what we desire. The size of the pipe or channel is determined by our belief system. To create something huge, we need a huge channel or container. This is why individuals who create large projects often have huge egos. It is not that we need a huge ego to create huge projects. But what often happens is holding a belief system that allows for us to create huge projects gives the individual a huge ego. The ego is the product of the belief system and the mind that holds the beliefs. We can, and individuals do have, beliefs systems that are capable of creating huge projects but yet have an ego that is very pleasant to be around.

Ego is a direct result of the consciousness within Creation separating into an infinite number of individualized points of consciousness. It is only our unique view of creation as an individualized point of consciousness. There is nothing wrong with ego. It is what sets you apart from all the other individualized points of consciousness. As long as we are in mind or in a particular form created by mind whether as a non localized spirit or as a physical body, our ego will be active.

We can use an iceberg example to better understand the ego. An iceberg is only frozen water, a given form of water, in a ocean. If you dissolve the iceberg, it becomes the ocean. We can look at this iceberg as our ego or as our body because of how  our inner world is reflected in the outer, at some level of our being, the two, the ego and the body, are integrally connected and are a manifestation of each other. The two are actually the same for our energy and our consciousness are one and the same.

We can look at this iceberg as our ego and who we think we are and how we have come to define ourselves (i.e., the shape we have given to ourselves our of an infinite ocean of consciousness). It is how we have defined ourselves as separate from the ocean of consciousness that surrounds us. We are fully in that ocean. We are the same as the ocean and a part of it. If we allow our ego to dissolve, releasing who and what we think we are, we will become one with the ocean itself. Alternatively, we can expand our ego to encompass all the ocean. In the end, both are the same. This forming/dissolving journey is described by both the Eastern and Western mystics. It is a journey that we need not take for we really canít totally dissolve our ego as long as we are aware of having experienced some aspect of creation/Creation. It is an illusion to think we can. As long as we have one memory that sets us apart from all that exists, we will have an ego.

Because we are a being of unlimited creativity, what we do is create an experience that transcends ego. We do this by becoming a detached witness. However, to transcend something does not mean that which we transcend disappears. The ego is still there. It is we just do not allow our ego to bias what we see.

The ego that we know and with which we play with in life is constructed as to who we think we are is based on our current life experiences. It is actually a cosmetic or shallow ego. Our ego has two parts. One part is an ego created by our current mind based on the experiences of our current life which us usually an enculturated ego. The ego of our current mind is who we think we are because of what we have learned in this life and the experiences we have had in this lifetime. The enculturated ego is who we think we because of how we have been enculturated to live our life and how to interpret the experiences we have had. The second part is a transcendental ego which is who we think we are that transcends this lifetime.

There is nothing wrong with the ego and who we think you are. In fact, our ego is very important. We only need to learn how to control the destructive aspects of the our ego and transform those aspects into something more useful for what we desire to create.

The destructive aspects of our ego are those aspects that maintain and reinforce our belief that we are separate and not integrally connected to all that is and/or those limited we impose on ourselves that do not allow us to create what we desire. Because we are a unique creation, your destructive aspects are not the same a my destructive aspects. What keeps me separate from the full realization of my oneness and robs me of my creative ability and creative power is not what keeps you separate and robs you. What you will have to transform within your being is not what I will need to transform within mine. However, because energy and consciousness are one and the same and energy as consciousness can neither be created or destroyed, we will have to give up some existing form of energy and of consciousness to create something new . We will have to sacrifice something, some part of our being internally and externally, in order to transform ourselves.

The ego, especially, the enculturated ego fears death. The enculturated ego develops as a result of the experiences of the body and how we have been taught to experience life. Many of these experiences are at protecting the body from injury, pain and death. Hence the enculturated ego see itself as experiencing what the body experiences, namely, injury, pain, suffering and death. Often the enculturated ego transfers this fear of dying into the Transcendental ego. Any suggestion of changing the ego or transforming the ego gives rise to the possibility of its death and it quickly moves to defend itself and prevent the change.

The mind will try and do anything to maintain control and protect itself. If our creative living process, the flow of creative life energy, takes us into change, our ego will fight that change. That struggle in turn, give rise to a tension between two pulls. Often pain results and we try and numb the pain ending up with an addiction of some type or kind. Our creative living process desire to go one way. Our mind wants to go in another way. That disconnect causes pain and/or discomfort. To remove the pain, the mind finds some way to deny it and/or numb it giving rise to addictions. To transcend the ego, we must be willing to surrender to the flow of our creative life energy and the desires of the heart, letting go even if we donít know that which we may have to let go. We must be willing to say yes to whatever is required by our creative living process that flows from our creative life energy.

It needs to be realized that although we are consciousness/Consciousness at play and our essence cannot ultimately be harmed, as long as we are in any ego structure which gives rise to the experience we have, we will suffer, or can suffer, pain. In this regard, our body is a form of a physical ego structure, or maybe better said, holds us in a particular ego structure which we call human, created by our transcendental mind to have certain types and kinds of physical experiences. What needs to be understood is that we will be unable to escape the ego as long as we are in any experience of any creation/Creation. But this is really not an issue. We only need to remember the ego will not die but only transform for the new experience we desire if we allow it to transform. Our pain results in not being willing to let it die to meet the sacrifice of creation for the new creation to unfold.

Where ego comes from (Top)

Memories of themselves hold no energy. A memory is, in essence, just a passing thought. For example, we can have a memory of a saying good by to our mother or we can imagine saying good by. Depending on the details we supply to what we imagine, the two images can be the same. Neither will bind our energy unless we hold onto it in some way. We may not say we are attached to the memory in the way we are attached to something we like and want or what we desire to avoid. But, nevertheless, because the memory is something we experiences, a part of our energy attaches that memory to us as opposed to just letting it be one of the myriad of experiences consciousness can have. It is the very subtle attachment of thinking "my" memory as opposed to just an experience of consciousness. The memories we hold and how we bind our energy to those memories is what gives rise to both the transcendental ego and enculturated ego.

The issue isnít the subtle energy connection that gives rise to our transcendental ego and enculturated ego by holding memories as our own as opposed to just an experience of consciousness. The subtle energy connection is only important if we desire to change our ego. The issue in most creative endeavors is when the memory holds what we would call emotional energy. That is, the memory causes some feeling to rise within us. It can be a very pleasurable feeling or a very negative feeling. Of course, there is a spectrum here. Some memories cause little or no feeling to raise. Some however, cause tremendous passion to raise. Most memories lies somewhere in between. In any case, most memories bind some amount of our creative life energy. The question is how much and which memories need to be addressed to release that energy to make it available to other creative endeavors

A cage of our own making - how we create who we think we are (Top)

Each of us create an identity that is best described as an ego and it has two parts. Enculturated ego is that ego we have come to think that we are because of the experiences we have had in this life and how we were raised and educated to respond to life. The second is the transcendental ego which is who we have come to think we are because of the experiences we have had that transcend this life. Both egos are both formed in the same way and actually are the same. It is just a matter of which beliefs and attachments will transcend this current life.

Both are formed by our attachments to the experience we have and we then believe we are the experience or it is "our" experience. We define ourselves by thinking "I am this experience, this happened to me." The transcendental ego is normally in alignment with the intention for our life for it agreed to, or caused to happen, the current incarnation you are having. Our enculturated ego may or may not be in alignment with the ego that we possessed at the time of our incarnation and most probably is not. Few are taught to follow their own internal guidance that would align them with their transcendental ego.

The problem is we believe we are our ego and that keeps us bound in the limitations of the ego. To create the reality of our choice it is necessary to understand how we create or how we come to believe who we think we are. With this understanding, it is much easier to change the habits that we use to response to life and in essence, take the bars of the cage in which we have placed our creativity. Otherwise we continually throw ourselves against the bars not understanding we are only living ingrained habits. In any case, habits can be very difficult to break and we form both attachments and habits much easier than it is to break either of them.

We each need to discover how we have come to believe who we think we are so that we can recreate our selves in a way that allow us to create and experience the reality of our choice. However to do this, we need to give up all our attachments that we use to define ourselves unless we wish to repeat a previous creation. This is why we need to use an "environmental suit," our body, for the physical experience that protects how we define ourselves and to sustain us in Physical Creation.

Issues of ego (Top)

Ego is neither good nor bad and is only a vehicle Consciousness uses to experience Creation. However, there are two issues involving ego that can be rather damaging to oneself and create a cage of our own making that we force our creative spirit to live in. One is ego absorption and the other is self preservation.

Ego absorption (Top): Ego absorption is the essence of narcissism and the story of Narcissus. In ego adsorption we lives to serve the ego. A healthy ego is vitally necessary to claim our birthright as a being of unlimited creativity and as the creator that we are. Self love is equally important to create this healthy ego. However, self absorption of the ego is harmful to our being. The constant worrying, analyzing and thinking of our ego about itself and preserving and/or serving itself prevents us from being present to what is, as it is, and becoming aware and climbing out of our habits and conditioning. When absorbed in the ego, we cannot see reality as it exists in the present. Our ego, which is only a construct of our thinking based on our conditioning, has assumptions, preconceived ideas, biases, prejudices and the like which are constantly getting in the way. Yet, there is no need to transcend the ego or somehow try and do away with it. We must learn to control the ego and use it as the vehicle it is rather than allowing it to control our lives. When ego controls our lives, we do become narcissistic and have an excessive admiration and fascination with ourselves to the point of self destruction. In doing so, we remain in more of an infantile state of creative development in which the self is the only object of our interests rather than growing up and maturing. When we become self absorbed we do become the Narcissus.

The major causes of ego absorption is not love of self. If one truly love themselves they would have that love to give to others for they would understanding what the other needs to feel whole and complete. Self absorption with ourselves that causes us to become the Narcissus is fear, the desire of the ego to preserve itself out of fear, and trying to feed the ego by satisfy its longing and perceptions of its beloved. However fear is probably the greatest cause of ego absorption.

Self preservation (Top): It must be remembered the ego is a construct of our mind based on who we think we are and how we think the world works. Who we think we are and how we think the world works, especially as seen by our current mind as reflected in our enculturated ego, is based on the experiences we have had while in our body.

Since we know the body can die and it can be harmed, injured and suffer, we learn to avoid and protect our bodies from anything that may cause any harm or injury to our body. We may do unsafe or dangerous things, but in general, we are not suicidal. We do not do things where we expect to be killed or harm ourselves such that we can no longer function. We fully expect that we, ourselves, will not be killed in whatever we do and we can endure the pain we may feel for the pleasure we seek. We fully expect to "get our reward" whatever it is we seek. We do not expect we are going to destroy ourselves.

Because the ego had defined itself based on the experiences it has in the body, whether it realizes it or not, it applies the same thinking to itself as it does to its body. The ego believes it can suffer and die just like the body yet it is a construct of consciousness which will never die. Ego will only change and mold itself into whatever consciousness decides to experience for ego is the vehicle consciousness uses to experience Its Creation. Rather that allowing itself to be dynamic and continually redefine itself, ego hold to the identity it creates and tries to preserve that identity thinking that if it changes too much, it will die.

Also on this note it must be remembered, the ego and how it is defining itself has to change first before one can have the experiences we desire. Ego is a product of the past and holds us to the past and the mind that created the ego as we know it. Ego is the vehicle consciousness uses to experience Creation and unless it first changes, we will not have a new experience but more of the same as experienced in the past.

Because of this identification of ego with the body that has created its experiences, humans look for security and safety for both their body and their ego no matter how secure and safe they may actually be. Additionally, most individuals look for this security and safety in the external world. For example, we look to money and wealth, another person, or a position within society that can give us the security we seek. We live physical life from within a body and think the things that can protect the body will also protect the ego. So ego protects itself just as it would protect it body. We work to create an external world of safety and security thinking our egos will be safe and secure because our bodies are protected and taken care of to prevent its harm and injury.

However, relative to the ego, safety and security comes from within for the ego is a construct of our internal world and cannot be injured and harmed from anything externally. We ourselves, who have created the ego are the only oneís who can injury and harm the ego. We place our selves in circumstances that are ultimately harmful and painful to either our body or our ego thinking we are going to protect our ego. Then when we are somehow harmed internally or externally because of the situation in which we, ourselves, have place ourselves, we blame the external world and hold it accountable for what we experienced.

It needs to be remembered that in the same way the body is a vehicle for us to experience Physical Creation, our ego is a vehicle that allows us to experience any aspect of Creation in any of its realms. Yet, rather than allowing the ego to dynamically redefine itself based on the experiences it is having or desires to have, we hold it fixed because we think if it changes we die. If we realize we are not our bodies and the ego is only a construct of our consciousness that dynamically redefine itself and is capable of fully doing so to fully savor any experience it has, we can learn to change our ego at will. All we need to do is to become aware of the habits and patterns of thinking we have developed that keep us bound to how we have come to think about ourselves and the world we experience.

Transcending the ego (Top)

Transcending the ego not about "getting out of ego" or some how leaving the ego behind. Rather is it about not being bound by the ego and allowing ourselves to redefine ourselves as necessary or at will.

It is much like a car. If we drive around and never leave our car we become very much bound to living on the roads and only going where the roads can go. If however, we realize that we can get out of our car and walk around and even get in a different kind of car or vehicle - like a tractor, boat or plane, we will have enormously different experiences. So too with ego. Our current ego is only a particular type and kind of vehicle we are using to "drive through" life and experience life. We can get out and move to a new vehicle whenever we wish.

The key to transcending the ego is to know, and act on the knowning, that we are responsible for all that we see and experience. That is, the whole world and universe we see and experience and the body that we inhabit is to have an experience. At one level this can be perceived as the ultimate ego trip and in many ways it is. However, if we hold this perspective and act from it, as viewed from the negative side from egoís perspective, this view will either totally destroy us draining our energy and/or causing an illness or forcing you to shrink into a very protective shield. On the positive side, it will force us to transcend the ego to see how this is possible.

To transcend the ego, it needs to be understood that with the development of the ego, the individualized points of consciousness began to see themselves as separate and divided. They began to see themselves as somehow no longer responsible for the creation of these experiences they have. They could throw the responsibility for Creation on the "God" that created them. Although these individualized points see themselves as separate, that is not so. They only need to remember and learn to live with the understanding that any thought they hold within their mind and held in the passion of the heart kindles within themselves and every other individualized point of consciousness an energy that can be perceived as a thought whose origins and root lie in the thought of the originator. Whether that thought is of healing, of love, of hate, of prejudice, of war or of separation, the energy within that thought is transmitted simultaneously throughout reality. It is our own thoughts that will heal and protect our collective conscious from harm or cause it to experience pain and suffering. It is incumbent on each of us to accept our birthright and to consciously become the creators that we already are and become aware of how and what we think and we choose to act or not act.

In many ways what is said in these last few paragraphs on Transcending the ego are "too much to be believed." However, if we work with the this material and come to have an understanding of each of building blocks, we will being to see how it is possible that each of us actually are simultaneously and individually responsible for creating the entire world and universe we experience. If we want to change anything in the world and universe we see and experience before us, we must first make the change within and allow it to ripple outward into the external world.

Related topics
Enculturated ego
Transcendental ego
Transforming the ego

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