When trying to get a grasp on the world and the people in it, there are numerous perspectives that you can adopt. You could go for one of the world religions, which I am inclined to see as 'all-in-one'-packages, meaning that they provide a whole set of relatively fixed ways to regard life in various areas.
If you don't opt for the big religions, you could decide to make your own set of ideas and views towards life. You are free to take on ideas from all realms, ranging from religion, science, novels, books, inspiring websites, media in general, dreams, interactions with other people, your own experiences etc.
Although it would be nice to believe that we all conciously choose the various ways to look at the world, this is, of course, often not the case. We are very prone to adopt the belief systems of the people around us, our parents and our friends, and many of us are simply not really interested in changing these belief systems, since they provide a good enough explanatory framework to live with. Changing the way you think is often not simple at all (1).
One of the side effects of all these people having different belief systems, is that it can easily blur communication. In some systems there simply is no place for certain concepts and often certain words carry a completely different meaning depending on the belief system someone adheres to. On top of that the meaning of certain words can actually change during a person's life.
REFLECTING ON THE CONCEPT OF THE EGO
In this article I would like to go into one of these blurry words, since I believe that it can be useful to ask yourself how you would place a certain concept into your own belief system. Where does it fit, and which perspective do you feel more comfortable with?
I would like to delve into the concept of the ego. Within quite a few psychological and spiritual traditions the word ego carries a rather negative connotation. I have spoken to a number of people who tend to blame everything that is not 'spiritually enlightened' on the 'ego'. The ego by them seems to be defined as the rather silly and dumb little brother of the wise soul. The foolish ego that always stands in the way, blocks growth and development, and is guided by fear and the desire to hold on to the status quo or increase its own power.
Often backed by grand theories of the nature of the human experience in multi-life perspectives, these people focus their meditative attention on the gradual destruction of the ego, in order to allow the wisdom of the 'higher self', or the soul's wisdom, to take over and guide their behavior in their lives.
TO HONOR THE VITAL ROLE OF THE EGO
A while ago I sat on a porch and talked to a wise man of half-aboriginal descent about this issue of the ego, and to my joy he held a completely different view towards the role of the ego. He hailed the ego as the most vital aspect of one's life. The ego, he said, should be honored as the most important and divine thing in man's life.
When I asked for a further explanation, he told me that the consciousness of the soul is so attuned to a different level of awareness that it really doesn't know much about what life in the physical is all about. The man emphasized that it is the task of the ego to realize its connection with both the soul and the Earth, and that only the decisions of the ego matter: how it can recognize the possibility to do evil things, to do good things, and decide what it deems to be the right thing to do.
From this perspective, the ego is the big decision maker who can determine how it wishes to experience life, and in a sense the ego teaches the soul about the nature of physicality.
The 'Ringing Cedar'-series by Vladimir Megré feature a woman, called Anastasia, who would live in the Siberian plains of Russia. She is described as living in total harmony with nature. Because of her pureness she would be able to reach with her mind/heart into various layers of consciousness: she would be able to tune into the history of mankind, for instance.
Her high 'vibration' makes her stand out, and therefore she is often assaulted by negative and dark energies, who attack her physically, almost killing her. In one of the books we are presented with a scene in which such an attack is taking place. She knows that if she were to ask for help, a 'divine light' would come and end the attack.
She also knew that if she would make it to a certain lake, the dark energies would no longer be able to hold their grip on her. Although the attacks were vile and draining her energy severely, she crawled with her last remaining powers towards that lake, risking her death. While she crawled she was able to think: "I want to show god that humanity can take care of itself, that we are able to address our own divine nature and that we are able to take responsibility for the world". She finally made it to the lake and provided an inspiring example for humanity at large.
When thinking about the concept of 'ego', it might be wise to consider the honorable role it has to play. Instead of condemning it for being deficient or not spiritual enough, we might do better to show respect for the ego in its brave attempts to deal with the wide range of conflicting stimuli and experiences that are part of living in the physical world. It is easy to be critical towards the ego, but we shouldn't forget the complexitity of living on our planet. I guess that a decision made by the ego, on its own, in its own time, within the 'chaos' of everyday life carries more weight than any decision made by blindly following the untimely advice of others or through some kind of 'divine/soul intervention'.
P.S. (11-1-2013) In the comments, Adriane referred to a video called 'Le Monde selon Tippi' from 1997. Below are some snapshots taken from that particular youtube-video, just for the beauty of it.
In : Reflections
Tags: ego psychology spirituality