Reflection – The Two People Living in You

transcend the ego

Photo Credit: Ariko Inaoka

“Two people have been living in you all of your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, and calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to.”

~ Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

I often hear others on spiritual journeys say that they are working to overcome, conquer, or destroy their egos.

But can this truly work? A part of me says not. This is because crushing, overcoming, and conquering are themselves acts of violence and therefore acts of ego.

The judging of ego as “bad” is an act of ego.

You cannot overcome ego with ego. Ego is who you’ve always thought you are, so trying to overcome who you think you are, is an assault upon yourself.

The path beyond ego is to recognize your ego self and embrace it for what it is.

Ego is necessary and important because it defines our sense of self, clarifies our boundaries and develops our personality while protecting us from disappointment, rejection, and harm.

The ego always needs validation and identification with a persona to remain nourished and to grow.

By resisting it and fighting it, you are helping it to grow. The more you resist it, the more it will show itself in a new more acceptable persona.

So, when it reveals itself with criticisms and judgments, or by showing off and caring about what others think, pause and step back. Notice and then accept it for what it is.

Don’t fuel it with more drama. If you damn it, it will resist and become stronger.

Instead, love it as you would a small child who doesn’t know any other way to be.

This is the way that ego will fade into insignificance… and your heart will fill with love and compassion for yourself and other human beings struggling right beside you.

Namaste

50 responses to “Reflection – The Two People Living in You

  1. So often I hear that we must control or crush our ego but what you say is try. We can only be aware of who we are and move on accordingly. Thanks for your thoughtful post. (also love the small child reference)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~ Lao Tzu

    “We carry around so many memories, intentions, and concepts in the pockets of the mind. Keep emptying your pockets.” ~ Writing on Water, Mooji

    The unblocked mind is free to flow like a river, the wind, a breath, or a cloud with no hesitation. The unblocked mind hears the heart when it whispers . . . Just Flow.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Indeed. Well said, dear Val. Our egos are as important as our hearts are. It is as much a part of who we are as are our souls. Otherwise, how would we know who we are in these human suits? Balance. Lead with heart. That is what works for me. 🙂

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  4. A tricky subject, isn’t it Val? ‘Ego’ is one of those words that gets bandied around whilst no one’s quite sure what it means – a bit like ‘god’, perhaps, or the supposed ‘soul’? My own conception of it is certainly not alone one of any “garrulous, demanding, hysterical” self-construct, but rather more broadly the self-construct itself including those traits (perhaps), but including the whole panoply of human emotional expressions. More than this, then given its access to cognition (because it’s an internal brain state), then it’s aware of itself as a construct – i.e. ‘the self of me’. Because this is an evolved disposition of all humans, then I entirely agree with you that it cannot be jettisoned by any means. What is possible, is precisely what you suggest: “The path beyond ego is to recognize your ego self and embrace it for what it is.” In other words, it’s to see it as a product of mentation and the mentative flow, but not to identify with it, not to inhabit it and not to take its utterances seriously. It’s something like Ryle’s ghost in the machine, but a ghost that keeps nattering away perpetually trying to validate its own existence to itself and assuming its own agency (doer-ship) over all of our actions. Anyone who can laugh at themselves is well on the way to realising this, I think. H ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes Ego gets shipped into a job lot that says its bad.. When in fact it can keep us in check also.. Understanding our dual selves and questioning our motives.. And Hariod has embodied it beautifully.. May we all learn to Laugh at ourselves. 😉

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  6. I really identify with your post, Val. I’ve so often thought along the same lines. Fighting the ego, “improving” the personality, etc, are keeping me focused at that level. As you say, look with love as if it’s a child who knows no better.

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  7. For many years I have used an analogy similar to this with patients. The idea that each of our personality characteristics including our strongest emotions is valuable and necessary but that while the impulsive, greedy and selfish aspects are welcomed to the table, they cannot be in charge. I learned this from a zen Buddhist friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Paul. Although you did hit my Descartes button! I’m not a huge fan of scientific rationalism and the suppression of our senses, emotions and intuition. 😉

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