I often write about the ego and its thought system in articles and postings. When I do, it’s with an intent to bring awareness into the ways in which we unconsciously invest in the ego. It is with this awareness that we begin to identify beliefs IN the ego and its stream of thinking. With the dysfunction in plain sight, we can recognize its patterns. Should we chose, we can align differently, along with Spirit (freedom).
Subsequently, I often get questions and/or viewpoints in relation to the ego, which highlight myths and beliefs surrounding the subject matter. These myths serve to perpetuate confusion. They are not in alignment with A Course In Miracles or its teachings (nor with universal spiritual truths).
In attempt to shed light on the matter, below are the top 5 Myths that I often encounter:
Myth #1 – You should make friends with the ego.
To be a “friend” infers a connection and the absence of hostility. When properly understood, it is clear that the ego is the opposite of that (friend). The ego has connection with nothing. The ego, by definition, IS the idea of separateness. It says “I am different from you.” The ego is malevolent. With thoughts that seek to make itself whole (impossible), the ego can get VERY hostile (i.e. the need to acquire and get at all cost – including death).
However, in our quest to transcend the ego, it (ego) is not to be vilified – judgement and punishment only ensures that it will sneakily rear its head. The ego is better seen as neutral. It is the belief IN the ego that causes suffering. Hence, the practice of non-judgement and forgiveness is the stepping stone towards transcending its illusory nature.
Myth #2 – God created the Ego.
I used to justify my ego by saying “I can enjoy having an ego because God made it – all that God makes is good.” How wrong was I, however. How could God (whole and complete) create separateness, suffering and pain? It is illogical to believe such a thing. In fact, ACIM would go so far as to teach that God knows nothing of the ego because he does not know of separateness.
The ego was made by a desire to separate from God (the impossible). The ego was a “mad idea” in which we believed we could usurp God and be our own Gods. We made a world where we could believe we can have a will separate from His (God).
“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of
God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a
serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” – A Course In Miracles
Myth #3 – The ego has something to offer you.
At best, the ego can only offer you experiences of THIS world (because this world is the domain of the ego). However, with proper perspective, it is clear that this world is full of suffering and pain. What appears to bring joy and pleasure in this world always ends – never everlasting. This world has nothing to offer.
The Course states, “The prayer for things of this world will bring experiences of this world.” The Course, thankfully, also teaches us that beyond this world, lies experiences that transcend this world – peace.
Myth #4 – You should appreciate the ego.
To “appreciate” is to raise in value and/or hold in high regard. The ego is the symbol of separation, appreciation for it only perpetuates the problem we’d like to overcome (transcend the ego). There is nothing (NO THING) to appreciate because the ego is not real – God is. It (ego) is a phantom. A Course In Miracles refers to the ego as a “puff of madness”. It is gone the instant belief in it is withdrawn. Can anything so illusive really have value or be appreciated?
Myth #5 – Egos have an afterlife.
There IS no life for the ego. In other words, the ego IS a symbol of death (Spirit is life). The ego is an attack on truth (God). True life is joy, peace, wholeness and love (what we ARE). The ego (fragmentation) is a denial of life because it seeks to make divisible what is already and always complete (Son of God).
Enlightenment is not a change but a recognition of our true identity (whole) as the Son of God – the Christ in us. Said differently, the discovery of life (Spirit), is the awakening TO the only life there is – eternally, without an ego.
What did miss? Can you think of more myths? Leave a comment.