Q: What exactly is the ego? How do I free myself from it? How do I get out from under its control?
A: The ego is really a figment of our imagination. It is a collection of thoughts about itself, the world, the way things should be, the way they are, and so on. It’s the sum collection of our thought patterns. It is not a real thing, and is always changing. It is very real as a collection of thoughts, but very unreal in that if you don’t think of it, it takes a back seat to witness consciousness, which is more in line with what you really are.
How can it be real if you witness something, and your perspective changes, your ego changes? The only thing that stays constant is the witness consciousness. The ego is always changing, morphing into a thought process that tries to make sense of the world, because it sees itself separate from the world, out of control, and it’s scared.
The ego is always looking for security by imagining someway it can get (imaginarily) control of the world. Really, our ego has no control of the world, what is happening in the world, or even how our ego is imagining things. If there is any choice, and this is debatable, it is the choice to put our attention more on the witness, to let the ego and the world be as it is — to let the world and your ego be exactly as they are.
Now this does not mean to act out of the ego, to do what it tells you, or to be a victim of the world and its goings on. It does not mean to be lethargic or passive in the world. Quite the contrary. When you choose to identify more from the witness, choices about action become much easier and automatic. It’s like consciousness itself is running our life, making our decisions, rather than the ego. We become perfectly aligned with what is, in perfect sync with life’s evolution.
By the way, when we are totally identified with the ego, the ego seems very big, it seems like a really big deal. Everything is so dramatic. However, the more you become aligned with witness consciousness, the smaller the ego looks, the less important it looks. Eventually, you cannot even take the ego seriously.
Everyone has an ego. The point is not to get rid of the ego or kill it off. The goal is to recognize the ego and all of the ways it keeps you in the game. This frees ourselves from the control of our ego, and lets us live and experience life. This is the way to get out of the control of the ego.
Also, the ego is not “bad,” just as a thought that you need to go to the bathroom is not “bad.” It’s just a collection of thoughts about its perceptions, being unaware of itself and the witness consciousness. It’s an automatic thing. Do you want to see how automatic it is? Just sit down, in quiet, with no distractions. I know most people think this is hard, but actually all distractions are manufactured by the ego. In reality, peace, tranquility, and silence is the background in which our ego exists, and makes its noise.
So sit down quietly. Notice all the thoughts that appear to the witness consciousness: I’m not doing this right. I should be working. I should be making dinner. I’m bored. This isn’t working. Where did these thoughts come from? Are they automatic, or did you make a conscious decision to think them? The answer is obvious. They occurred automatically. If they occurred automatically, and you have no control over them, what responsibility for them do you have?
You own them, they’re yours, but in reality, you don’t have control of them. You’re not to “blame” for them. The choice you have is what you pay attention to, and what you believe (although this is highly debatable as well).
When you choose to align with witness consciousness, you get to choose what to do with your ego’s thoughts. Do you listen to them? Do you act on them? Do you even believe them? The choice becomes yours.
Also, the more you align with witness consciousness, the more choices miraculously occur. Witness consciousness allows in more choices for you to make, especially ones that seem “out of the box.”