Every person has a sense that defines us from other people and gives us our identity, while nurturing our capabilities and capacities. This sense is called our ego.
Our ego, operating in all it’s infinitely complex ways, let’s us see ourselves as “I”. From our earliest years forward, our ego is working to distinguish our sense of self from the world around us.
The ego can appear to go overboard at times, fostering the extreme inability to relate to others, or narcissism, in some people. It can also harbor apathy, which is inability to relate to others. Other ego-fueled self-expressions include pity, sympathy, and antipathy.
Confucius once alluded to all these different versions of ego expression by talking about other men: “If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.” This story reveals the true purpose of the ego, which is to teach us.
Knowing what we do about the nature of engagement, it is easy to see how our ego serves as an anchor within us to latch onto. The ego allows us to name what we appreciate as separate from those around us. Using “difference” as a tether, we have unique experiences and apparently different perspectives of those experiences. When we meet people who specifically share the experiences we’ve had or appreciate ours, we connect with them, and vice versa. These connections to others conversely allow us to sustain our distinctness, which in turn engages us within ourselves. The purpose of ego is to allow us to engage with others and ourselves.
Heartspace does not rely on ego alone though. A great balancer among all things seen and unseen, Heartspace is reliant on forces operating throughout the universe; your ego is one small influence among many.
Sometimes the role of ego is positioned as counter to soul. This isn’t true, as there is no linear relationship to the different parts of you. I believe the same is true of those who would suppress the ego or otherwise “stop” it. Everyone has an ego, and rather than muzzle it or try to downplay its role in your life, trying just seeing it or smiling at all it’s faults. All egos have faults; strengthening your Heartspace can happen by accepting your ego how it arrives rather than forcing it to be a different way. Bono realized this when he sang, “I’ve gotta stand up to my ego, but my ego’s not really the enemy. It’s like a small child crossing an eight lane highway on a voyage of discovery.”
And that’s the deepest relationship of the ego to Heartspace. Rather than merely being an anchor for our interior and exterior engagements, it is also a teacher, frequently and easily pushing many of us towards self-definition and later universal integration, wherein we understand the nature of being is oneness and resolution.
See your ego and name it, with ease. The road to Heartspace is made just for you.