Who Said We Should Get Rid Of Our EGO?


The fifth point I mentioned in my blog “The Law of Attraction… Are My Beliefs Ruining My Life?” was that we are not meant to supress or eliminate our ego. However, how we understand the term “ego” is essential if we are going to know what best to do with it.

Defining the Ego

The ego can be defined in a range of different ways. Freud was the first to use the term ego in his psychosexual theory of neurosis. He was referring an aspect of the self that was somewhere in between the id and the superego. For Freud, the ego was a kind of balanced self between the child-like, impulsive id and the overly rigid, moralistic super-ego.When people are talking about the ego in new age circles, I ‘m sure they are not referring to its original meaning!

Another version of ego that I have heard in new age movement is what Eckhart Tolle speaks about in his “Power of Now” and a range of other books and CDs. When Eckhart talks about “ego” he is referring to thought and emotional processes in the mind. So for him, the ego is equated to the human mind.

Yet another version I hear about in the “spiritual community” and general community at large, sounds more like the term “egotism”. Ego is seen as a bad thing to get rid of. So here we have three very different concepts of ego. There are more definitions however, I’m going to focus on the last two.

The Ego is Our Friend

Eckhart Tolle’ definition of the ego makes a lot of sense to me when talking about the psychospiritual. The ego is all mental and emotional activity of the mind. It includes our personality, values, likes and dis-likes and interpretation of the world. It is our self-identity, conscious beliefs and memories, and the associated emotions attached to those beliefs. Based on this idea of the ego, we are not meant to get rid of our ego, we are simply meant to dis-identify from it.

As living human beings we have a human mind. We are meant to become conditioned and hold psychological patterns in our minds and bodies. The Taoist states that we need to be carved before we can be uncarved… this is the process of gaining wisdom! Our ego has a real role to play in our lives. Without the mind we could not think. We could not interact socially or believe in anything. We could not create technology or society. We would not have unique personalities or be able to day dream. The mind is truly amazing! Yes… the ego is amazing!!!

The problem is not about having an ego, but rather the problem emerges when the egoic mind has control rather than what I will call “our presence”. When the mind drives things, as opposed to being utilised for the creative expressive vehicle that it is, then chaos prevails.

How to Dis-Identify from the Ego

The trick is not to eradicate the ego but rather to master it! Mindfulness, for example, teaches us how to witness psychological reactions consisting of thoughts, emotions and actions, such as what Eckhart Tolle calls the “pain body”. This is process is about dis-identifying from the thoughts and emotional attachments, and simply watch them play out. We then cease to believe that we are the patterns. We take our power back from them and they cease ruling our lives. Only then can we begin to make more conscious choices.

When we witness our thoughts and emotions with space and curiosity we learn to release the attachment to these beliefs and emotions. This kind of disrupts the automatic nature of the pattern. Mindfulness is beautiful! It produces a gap between the observer and the ego (the observed). It allows us to aster the mind rather than being ruled by it.

So in a nut shell, we were never meant to surpass or get rid of our ego. We may be able to witness the mind or master it, but we cannot escape it! We have a living human mind that thinks and identifies as a “self”. This is the ego and it is a blessing!


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8 Responses to “Who Said We Should Get Rid Of Our EGO?”

  • Fantastic post Vanessa. So well explained for the novice. And the way you tied it into mindfulness was informative. I think that semantics has a lot to do with misunderstandings. In a spiritual sense of course we know that fighting anything is useless. Really enjoyed this. You are giving your readers an education.


    • Hi Madonna, thanks for your comment. I agree, there’s a lot of terms people use and I’m sure they have different meanings between them. I believe the more we write and explain what we are really talking about, the clearer we can become with each other and develop a shared understanding of what the psychospiritual is about. The psychospiritual an area that has so many influences from so many times and cultures as well, which could also explain some of the difficulties in semantics.

      Have a great day
      Lots of love

  • Kama:

    I agree totally. The trick is to observe without attachment, to learn to understand the patterns, to become aware of our responses. To try and rid ourselves of the ego only enhances the ego in the same way as trying to avoid negative thinking only enhances our negative thoughts.

    • Hi Kama, Thanks for your comment. That is a really good point which i fully agree, that which we fight with only becomes bigger. Ironically that was a line in “The Secret” that I agreed with … “what we resist, persists” (there were actually quite a few concepts in “The Secret” I agreed with, I just thought many aspects were far too simple and then became dangerous) .

      Mindfulness is a great practice … learning non-attachment to our mind activity and patterns (thoughts and emotions)!!!

      Have a fantastic day
      Lots of love

  • Great post. It’s always important to embrace our whole wonderful selves.

  • Allison Robinson:

    Great Post Vanessa, I can think of so many people who would benifit from reading this and learning to apply it to daily life. including me. Mindfulness of the ego is a daily ‘game’, that can be confronting at times, but also very humerous! (If you have the ability to laugh at yourself!)
    Your information is easy to read, and understand and yet intellectually informative, thanks.

    • Hi Alison, Thank you for your comment… I agree completely, keep laughing!!!! Humor is a great asset which serves us well through practicing mindfulness and gaining awareness of our ego-self. Humor and compassion! Ultimately, I believe we all need a lot of love.

      Lots of love

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