The Dance Between the Ego and the Ego-less
Who is the one that thinks? Who is the one that thinks they know? Who is the one that thinks they are reading this article, or perhaps writing it? Is this individual truly, who you are?
Egos are these very interesting mental constructs. Westerners are taught to identify with it, just as much as we are taught to detach from it. However, these constructs very rarely are of our own doing. I wouldn’t have the eclectic taste I now have in music, if it weren’t for the upbringing that I’ve experienced. I wouldn’t eat the food that now I eat if not also for this upbringing. I, just like many others, was given a set of conditions that I could choose to, or not to, identify with. I wasn’t given the full menu of conditionings that one could choose from. Just the ones that those in my environment knew of. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more and more opportunities to venture away from that which I’ve known and discover new forms of conditioning. New mental constructs and patterns of thinking, and behaving, that I could once again, choose to, or not to, identify with.
Egos are as natural as the very grass that I am sitting on while writing this article. They are as part of ourselves as our noses are to our face. It’s a necessity for them to be. Humans are technically mammals. All animals have this innate want to preserve themselves. To preserve its race. To live and reproduce. Humans are very much the same. A women’s menstrual cycle clearly showcases this want to live and reproduce. A woman is born with a specific number of eggs. “Each month, the female body prepares itself for a possible pregnancy. The uterus develops a thicker lining, and the ovaries release an egg that can be fertilized by sperm. If the egg isn’t fertilized, pregnancy won’t occur during that cycle. The body then sheds the built-up uterine lining. The result is a period, or menstruation.” — source. Essentially, a woman’s body naturally prepares to reproduce, but if a woman is not pregnant, they menstruate.
The ego also showcases this innate ability to be aware of the methods necessary to preserve this self. It’s embedded in our collective unconscious. For so long, an archaic man has had to overcome a living hell. Death by vicious predators who attacked them in both the day and night. Death from poisonous foods, starvation of food, and unknown diseases, are just a few of the many daily battles that an archaic man had to overcome. They are still ingrained in us. We have given many new mental constructs to these natural tendencies. Gen Z is the generation that revolutionized the term ADHD. What if this generation is simply reacting to how any human whose ancestors endured what ours have, would, to a system that a previous generation created in an attempt to feel fulfillment in life? A system that attempts to give purpose to the ways in which we spend our time. It could be fighting for a commonly perceived noble cause or advancing a manufacturing process in order to increase a product's output, thus, increasing its profit.
That form of society is known as capitalism, and just like communism, it’s a mental construct. An ideology of how one should live in accordance with another. Sounds like a religion because it is one. Most religions sound like cults because they are such a thing. All essentially are ideas of how one should live in accordance with those around them. A construct that aligns with the ego’s want to define life and all that surrounds it. It wants to define the world around us so that it can understand it. So that it can live in it. However, this ability to do what we perceive no other animal can do, creates a false perception of our role in this world. We are not the rulers of this space but rather the inhabitants of it. We are not meant to have domain over our environment, but rather domain with it.
Is a vegetarian truly more mindful than a meat eater? Are they both not declaring superiority over something outside of themselves for their own benefit of nourishment? Even the simple act of switching from milk from a cow, to that of milk from an almond, does not change the harm that one is causing to the environment when both forms of milk are produced, manufactured, shipped and distributed.
The ego-less is the one who can observe the ego as it makes its decisions. There is nothing wrong with wanting to preserve the self. That is essentially what we are here to do. In our own unique ways. The ego-less can help us do this in truly mindful, win-win-win ways. The ego-less is the one who has observed the complete creation of your self. It’s the one whose knowledge originates from that of the heart and not of the mind. It’s the one who can look at a family as they enjoy a picnic and acknowledge that this family has its own unique experiences and dynamics, similar to but unique from the ones of this ego. And that’s ok. It’s ok that we are all so different and have a variety of wants and needs. That uniqueness is beautiful. It provides a unique present for each of us to experience. Lessons and blessings exist in each. Some very obvious and others, hidden in plain sight. Still, uniquely beautiful.
The ego-less isn’t attached to that which the ego is attached to. The same ego-lessness that is in me is the very same one that is in you. It doesn’t believe in or operate by the duality that the ego abides by because it is outside of it. This outside perspective is a necessity in creating fair win-win-win scenarios. I’m sure you’ve been in arguments where two sides went to a third, outer perspective, to determine a victor of the argument or who made the more compelling argument. This third perspective is impartial, not attached, and has the ability to see a situation clearest. It resides in neither camp and has no desired outcome for the argument. This allows it to come to a truthful verdict, if humbly listened to.
I’m truly not the one to tell you how to partake in this delicate dance between the two. Only you can. Both have a very important role in our lives. You need one in order to see the other. When the two are in alignment, it is quite the dance. Many spiritual teachings talk of this moment called the ego death. I think that it’s very similar to the natural deaths that our lives are meant to experience. It’s not necessarily a cease of existence, but rather, a new awareness of another. The shift of one's awareness from the drop that they previously knew, to the vast ocean of that which was previously unknown. Death can sound like such a fearful event to those of us who were raised in fear-based societies. To a race that evolved out of a response to fear. Not so much, however, to the one who isn’t attached to the ego. The one who is filled with unconditional love and grace and compassion. The one who I believe reflects who we all truly are.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! I do hope you found some value in it and am happy to engage in the comments. 💚