Many writers and spiritual teachers throughout the ages past and present speak of the need to eliminate the ego and teach methods and techniques to achieve this. They tell us the ego is to be considered a foe. Indeed, they believe it to be the thing that blocks the expression of the Soul.
So is the ego really a foe?
Consider this: you are out alone in the Canadian Rockies and you are aware that you are in bear tertitory. In order to remain safe, a certain degree of alertness will be necessary. Intermingled will need to be some fear to keep you focused and sharp. It is your ego that registers fear and in such a situation as this, obviously a certain amount of fear will help.
Some would argue that if you had no fear at all, ie no ego reaction, you could walk into the bears camp and sit down with them. We have heard stories of people doing this. But what if the neighbourhood bears were hungry or agitated?
I don’t know about you but I think a little bit of fear in this situation would be help! In this case your ego is most definitely your friend.
When you have a challenge placed in front of you, it is your ego self that steps forward to take up the challenge. Your ego is your persona; it is part of you. We see from this example that your ego is indeed a necessary part of you.
Why the ego is often regarded as a problem is because it can create an imbalance in an individual if it takes charge.
Have you ever watched politicians arguing, one party promoting one thing, the other the opposite? That is egos battling to be right. The ego wants to be the best.
We are taught from an early age to be individuals, to compete, win, control. We set about building our egos before we even know what an ego is, and then end up dominated by it. People caught in anger, sadness, control, guilt, fear, depression (to name some of the possible trapped ego states) are all victims of bonding to their ego.
The ego has now become a foe.
This aspect of the ego is what we must master if we wish to find the peace and harmony of life that we all yearn for.
If you can embrace and master your ego, it will be your friend. If it masters you, it will always be your foe.