- What are the benefits and disadvantages of the ego?
While many books on the subject of ego paint it in a negative light, the reality is that there are also many positive aspects, such as your unique abilities and personal desires. For example, you may want to achieve goals or enjoy certain things in life, like buying a house, traveling, or finding a new relationship. These are all perfectly healthy and normal, as long as they don’t cause any suffering.
The negative aspects of the ego are based in fear. The ego is always afraid of death, so it comes up with a million ways to perpetuate itself. Since in our “normal” unaware state we are completely identified with the ego, our consciousness becomes filled with fear and negativity. There are six basic fears and these will be addressed in the following discourses. For now, just remember that these fears are the gateways to tremendous growth and personal development, but they must be used wisely.
- Some aspects of the ego move you closer to success, others take you farther away.
The wants and desires of the ego that you consider truly and uniquely yours must be fulfilled, otherwise they will come back to haunt you. It is possible that as you enter the advanced stages of personal development, some of these desires will simply disappear. That is great, but it is still important to address every single want and desire that remains. Not only denying yourself the joy of fulfillment of personal desires is detrimental to your success, it invites pain and misery into your life. On the other hand, the satisfaction you get from accomplishing personal material goals helps move you closer to your ultimate success by demonstrating how the principles taught in this course manifest in your life. Once you see the evidence, it becomes your knowledge and brings you tremendous amount of energy and joy. This in turn gives you the required resources and confidence to keep pushing forward.
It is important to remember that every positive aspect of the ego has a shadow side, which will become stronger and more prominent in your life if you only focus on the positive side. One way to deal with the negativity that inevitably arises as you focus on fulfilling your personal desires is to distance yourself from the ego structure. Realize that these are simply byproducts of bringing the positive sides of the ego to light and accept them as a fact of life. This realization alone will smooth out the negative manifestations of the ego enough so that they don’t wreak havoc in your life.
- Can negative manifestations of the Ego be used to my advantage?
When the negativity strikes, use it to your advantage to wake up and begin to distance yourself from the ego as much as possible, become humble and surrender to the situation. This will immediately ease the tension and let you move out of the situation quickly and easily. Bringing your awareness to the present moment takes the energy out of the ego and prevents it from generating more negativity. This is something that you are likely to practice for the rest of your life, so take your time and do not get frustrated if you initially find it hard to disarm the ego. The only thing that matters is that you keep observing it. Remember that the recipe for long-lasting joy and success in life is time, practice and awareness.