Ego is often villainized as the source of behavior we don’t like. Though ego is often used descriptively with a negative connotation, the term originated in psychology with none of the negative charge.
The 2 Definitions of Ego
At some point, 2 separate definitions of “ego” arose:
- Common parlance: One’s opinion of oneself, ‘self esteem’
- From Psychology: The part of the human psyche that forms a sense of identity from external references.
Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung thought about the term as an ambivalent function of the psyche– not in terms of positive, negative, good, or bad.
The ego forms a sense of identity in response to stimuli, like a parent’s chidings or a teacher’s encouragement. That identity informs our thoughts and actions as we go through life. Some parts of our operating identity we like, and some we dislike so much that we feel driven to change ourselves.
The Trap of Resisting
The ego is a popular scapegoat. It’s easy enough to say, ‘I had an ego flare up,’ or, ‘that’s just her ego talking’ as a way to excuse behaviors we don’t like as lower parts of ourselves, or parts informed by the past. However, resisting the ego and demonizing it is not much more helpful. Our attention then snaps to all of the ‘ego habits’ we disagree with (even though in many cases, it’s our self-opinion telling us that the ego-driven habit makes us look bad).
We know that resisting and controlling create more tension and stress in the body, rather than leading us to a place of pure being. So what do we do with an identity we’ve formed that we don’t like?
In the Vedic Worldview, the ego on its own cannot lead us to our highest selves by referencing external stimuli. Expanding our consciousness comes through direct contact with unbounded consciousness itself.
When we practice Vedic Meditation, we come into habitual contact with unbounded consciousness during each meditation sitting. Slowly, the ego will turn from referencing outside stimuli to reference this unbounded nature.
Does the ego disappear?
As the ego takes on characteristics of unboundedness, totality, and inner bliss, we experience our identity shifting. We haven’t disappeared the ego – to do that would be to lose individuality and sense of self – but we have given the ego an infinitely broader reference point to form our identity than our limited experiences.
Imagine having unbounded intelligence, pure creativity, and the unified field informing your sense of identity….
In this video, Thom takes 5 minutes to give a Vedic Worldview perspective on the ego and shows how we can work with our ego to move toward our true nature of being and unboundedness.
- The common misconceptions about the ego
- How the ego assembles an identity
- How Vedic Meditation affects the ego
What happens when meditation relaxes our mind and body?
Just as the mantra charms the mind to deeply relax into quiet and Pure Being, the ego is charmed to identify with the new experience of inner unboundedness through meditation. As we identify with our unbounded nature more and more, we are less and less constrained to reactions informed by past traumas or pains. Thus, our emotional and mental responses no longer come from a limited, experienced-based identity, and instead come from a place more closely resembling Pure Being.
Meditation offers the regular re-calibration for the ego to reference your true unbounded nature, and slowly take that nature on as its identity. Ultimately, the ego becomes the gateway to experience the bliss of meditation beyond your 20-minute sessions each day: as a new identity, present in your every waking moment.
Jai Guru Deva