The ego, as I am using the term, today, represents our little or lower self, that aspect of us that was first formed as a very young child, probably about the age of 2 or so, when our parent, or parental role model, first said “No” to something we desired. Heretofore, everything we had asked for, had been filled, or at least if it wasn’t we weren’t aware of it, weren’t aware that we had been “denied” a wish. But, by the age of two, or so, we are beginning to develop a sense of our selves, as individuals, and we are beginning to realize that we have individual wants and needs, wants and needs which we learn to just “reach out and grab for”, to fulfill our need for instant gratification.Until two years of age, or so, we don’t’ ask for, or want things we cannot have. We are too small, too young, or too unaware, to seek out that which adults would want to restrict, such as sugar, or things that can harm us, or things that don’t belong to us. We are protected, or most of us, are, until that age from pain from our adult role models, or our parents.
But, at two, we are at that developmental stage where we feel as if we must Push for what we want, must exert our own individual wants and desires, and so we don’t just meekly give in to a restriction, we try to push through it, to insist on getting our own way. We do so because we have not, as yet, felt the sting of reprisal, the sting of the “No” energy, or perhaps even the physical sting of a slap. When we do, for the first time, we go into shock….”What is this, we ask ourselves? Ouch! We think! That hurt! And look who did it to us..that person who has NEVER hurt us..NEVER! Why has this happened? What did I do to deserve this?”
This is the mind of a two-year old trying to understand why it has been hurt, but s/he believes s/he must have been the cause. s/he never even considers that her/his parent or parental role model might have an agenda of his/her own, which is ALWAYS the reason. So, instead, the 2-year-old child looks around its environment, and comes up with a reason..always a false one, as it is unable, incapable of understanding the “right” one at this age.
So, just for an example, if the child, let’s call her Lila to make this easier, is reaching for a piece of candy she sees in a bowl at Grandma’s house, and Grandma doesn’t know if “it is all right with mom”, she says, “NO!.. And Lila, who doesn’t even understand the meaning of this word, ignores her, and tries again. And Grandma says “No!” again. And Lila ignores her and tries again…
This continues until Grandma stops her. At that time, she will cry, and feels hurt because, she can’t have what she wants, but she doesn’t know why ..doesn’t understand. All Lila feels is the hurt from the rejection of a desire (for the candy), by someone (Grandma) who, until this moment, has always showed her love…
To understand, Lila looks for a reason, and usually comes up with something associated with whatever she was doing at the time, such as reaching for a bowl, of if she falls down, then it will be associated with falling down, and every time she does that same action again, she will expect to be hurt, either physically, as in a slap, or emotionally, depending on how Grandma reacted to the desire for the candy that she could not give her.
This is a very simplistic way of explaining how our egos are born, and how they develop, over time, but it is how it works. Each time the child is told “no”, it must figure out “why”, from its perspective, and from its limited (to age) knowledge. Until Lila revisits this childhood memory, as an adult, and figures out the source of her current belief about what is right and wrong, or about her own personal judgment, and why she believes this, she will continue to believe, falsely, that she did something that made her bad, or thought something that made her wrong. Her Grandmother telling her she was bad to ‘want’ the piece of candy will not go away by itself. It will have to be ‘found’ by her, as an adult, and corrected. She will realize that it was not personal; that her Grandmother was just doing the best she could with the knowledge she possessed at the time; she will realize that it was her grandmother’s problem, not hers.
As we age, what was begun as only feelings of guilt grows into fear. Fear is a reaction of an expected “slap”, based on the first one, so it is based on past experiences relating to the present one. For example, with the candy, every time that Lila sees a bowl of candy, she will remember being slapped for trying to take a piece, and this feeling will now be felt as fear…a fear that if she tries today, even though she still wants or desires that piece of candy, she is now afraid of being slapped if she takes it or if she tries to take it. She will feel ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ every time this memory, or a fragment of it, is triggered, until she consciously returns to the childhood memory and clears it with her current knowledge, as an adult.
It will also apply to everything Grandma says, from here on. She will now be afraid of Grandma, afraid that she will slap her again, and she doesn’t know when, or for what, because she didn’t understand why she was being slapped in the first place.
This is repeated hundreds, thousands, millions of times over the course of our childhoods, by those in Authority over us, whenever we are stopped, or not allowed to have something we want or desire. And not until we are about 11-13 years old, are we cognitively old enough to grasp abstract concepts, such as Yes, or No, or Maybe, intellectually. Until that time, we are controlled by external stimuli, such as our parents or parental role models, and our teachers. And what they do to us, for good or bad, affect how we feel about ourselves for the rest of our lives.
To cope with these “bad” feelings about ourselves, our egos develop defense mechanisms, as described by Sigmund and Ana Freud. Defense mechanisms are the ways our egos deny responsibility. A list of the 12 most common are listed at the end of this article.
Our ego wants us to believe we are good people, but doesn’t know how to do this. It was developed and created out of negative judgments that were made about us, when we were children, and that we eventually internalized, and perpetuated about ourselves as adults. It is Man and his religions that determined that we had the right and the knowledge to judge one another. God does not judge. Universal Laws do not mention judgment. The closest thing is the universal Law of Karma, or the Law of Cause and Effect. But, with karma, there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Just cause and effect.
God, Spirit, and the Heaven World/Other Side do not exist for the ego. The ego was born after birth, and dies shortly after death of the physical body. The ego is a product of our own negative judgments, so when we stop judging, we also dissolve the ego. The ego is an aspect of the subconscious mind whose purpose is to sort, classify and analyze incoming information. But, it also judges this incoming information.
We realize now, as adults, that the ego manifests as fear, doubt, guilt and shame. It is only these four emotions that the ego feels…and the ego is a part of our minds, what has been given many labels: the Pain Body, by author, Eckhart Tolle, or our Desire Self, or the Little Self, or the Lower Self.
It is your ego that says, “I want, what I want, and I want it now!!!” The ego exists in either the past or the future, but has no power over the present moment.
What you need to know about it, is that it can only give you False Beliefs, because its knowledge is based only on what it takes in from its environment..from your five senses (taste, smell, hearing, touch, and sight). So, it only trusts that which can be empirically proven to exist; because it has form or is made of matter.
This excludes all that is invisible or inaudible, or unmeasurable to the mind, and that includes God, Spirit or those people who now reside in the Invisible World, known by many names, including the Heaven World, The Other Side and The World of Spirit.
This severely limits and restricts its knowledge, and yet, most people use it as if it were their God. They falsely believe that the mind/ego knows as much as God does, that they can trust what their minds tell them, and then, acting on the advice of their egos, they get hurt, disappointed, frustrated, and this in turn leads to anger, resentment, betrayals, etc. They feel like victims, and also feel helpless and powerless.
This is because the ego does not know everything, although it wishes it did, because it needs to feel it can keep you safe, but it cannot. IT is NOT, however, either wrong or bad. It is just limited to its judgments of its experiences, and other people’s judgments, about how the World should be, and how you and I should fit into it. It does not, cannot, tell you the Truth, because it is NOT connected to The Universe, or to the Universal Flow.
When we are feeling confused, it is a sign that we are learning new material, which can often be painful, because it is often unsettling. We (our egos) don’t know where we are going, or if we (the ego itself) will survive. This makes us feel insecure, and unsure of ourselves, but we are safe, just the same. Your soul is in your physical body to gain experience. You must experience, probably through pain, or fear, and by making mistakes, for through Experience you receive into your soul an increase of light or love, a deeper wisdom, a greater strength, and inner peace.
God, as we understand Him, or It, speaks to us, with or without our conscious awareness of Him, regardless of what we think of Him, whether or not we believe He is real or not, through our solar plexuses, in our bodies. He will not, nor will our Spirit Guides, or our Higher Selves, have any dialogue with our egos. They know that our egos will find fault with whatever they say, because the ego has to believe it is our source of power, and that it can make the right decisions for us. It wants to be our God, our Higher Self, our Spirit Guide….and it causes us all of our unnecessary pain and suffering whenever we allow it to be our Source, our Guide, our Higher Self. And it is a mistake.
Our intuition is our connection to the Universe, whatever this means to us. It is the way, or the channel that can be opened by us, to contact ANYONE who resides in the Universe: the Angels, the Fairies, the Elemental Kingdom, God, our Spirit Guides, our Higher Self, or those we love who have passed on. They, too, can reach us, if we ask for their help, for their advice, for their recommendations.
If we can make all decisions based on our intuition, or our gut feelings, found in our solar plexus, we will stop suffering. Any suffering we do feel, we will know is for our highest good, and something we volunteered for…we will no longer feel like victims; we will know we are not. We will feel peaceful no matter how painful or difficult a situation we find ourselves in, and we will never again feel alone. We will know e have inner guidance, and an inner truth filter, which we can use, or refer to whenever we wish, as it is built-in, within us, and not from an external source. The ego uses external sources whenever it is unsure of what to do, itself. This makes it dependent on others, and on their opinions, which may be right for them, but often is not also right for us.
It is our solar plexus, or our gut feeling that lets us know what is true or right for us and what is not. Often our egos/heads try to override what our solar plexus is suggesting, because it wants what it wants, and it wants it now! The ego hates to wait. But by waiting, and learning to trust and follow our intuition instead, we save ourselves from unnecessary pain.
Addendum: This is a great example of how false beliefs get created as children, but, as adults, we continue to make decisions based on these long-forgotten beliefs, until we consciously do as I have here, and seek to unearth them. They are probably stored in my subconscious mind, and until I go ‘looking’ I’m unaware the information is available to me now.
As a child, I believed my parents didn’t love me, but I didn’t want to believe it. Every time I’d think this, based on how they treated me, I’d work at denying it, at finding some justification for their harsh treatment of me, that helped me lie to myself that they really did love me. I made myself ‘wrong’ to protect myself from what I believed was the truth, because I couldn’t live with it; nor, could I stay with the feeling long enough to try to find a way to let it be O.K. So, instead, I worked to deny it. I decided I never wanted to know the truth; that I’d rather ‘not know’. As long as I ‘didn’t know’ I could make myself believe that maybe they did. O.K.
Why was this important? Because I believed I was unlovable. I reasoned that if my parents didn’t love me, nobody could. O.K.
Why? I believed parents loved their children. This was based on my comparison with how my friends’ parents treated them, versus how my parents treated me, as a child.
I know now that I felt unloved because of the circumstances under which I became their child, because of the agreement made between us before we incarnated. Namaste
For more Info…See the article Today’s Working Definition of the Ego
*List of Defense Mechanisms
- Rationalization – Subconscious justifications, excuses or reasonings given to make a behavior seem logical — “A student fails the final he didn’t study for and says… “I couldn’t have passed it anyway – that teacher has it in for me.”
Rationalization is included at the beginning of any list of defense mechanisms because it’s so frequently recognized as “being defensive”.
- Projection – Attempts to banish or “disown” unwanted and disliked thoughts, behaviors, and even “parts of self” by projecting or attributing them to someone else.
May be as simple as blaming someone else – “He should have let me off on that ticket but that cop was trying to fill his monthly quota.” Or as complex as seeing and experiencing a repressed or “disowned” part of self in another person – e.g., an excessively passive person marries an excessively angry person – both experience their disowned “part” in the other.
- Introjection – The opposite of projection – subconsciously “takes in” to self an imprint (or recording) of another person including all their attitudes, messages, prejudices, expressions, even the sound of their voice, etc.
- Identification – An ability available very early in life that children use to attach themselves to certain qualities, emotions, and attitudes of someone else…especially during the modeling period.
- Isolation – Separation of memory from emotion…can remember and talk about the trauma but feels no emotion — the Person talks about the incident as if it is someone else’s story.
- Sublimation – Redirection of impulses into socially acceptable activities — normal and healthy, such as when the sexual impulses of adolescence is channeled into sports and competition.
- Displacement – No list of defense mechanisms would be complete without displacement. This defense reduces anxiety or pressure by transferring feelings toward one person to another — commonly known as “dumping on” someone…e.g., man is mad his boss and kicks the cat when he gets home, or blows up and yells at his family.
- Repression – Painful, frightening, or threatening emotions, memories, impulses or drives that are subconsciously pushed or “stuffed” deep inside.
- Suppression – Painful, frightening, or threatening emotions, memories, impulses or drives that are consciously pushed or “stuffed” inside.
- Conversion – Mental conflict converted to a physical symptom… e.g., a soldier on being deployed into battle is conflicted about his desire to serve his country but believes it is wrong to kill for any reason develops paralysis, blindness, or deafness with no medical cause.
- Regression – Giving up current level of development and going back to a prior level… and older child under stress begins wetting the bed or sucking a thumb after a long period without that behavior.
- Reaction Formation – Over-compensation for fear of the opposite.
Two conflicting parts of self — one is strengthened while the other is repressed…e.g., An overly nice and agreeable person may have a lot of repressed hostility and rage of which they are completely unaware on a conscious level.
- Simple Denial – Unpleasant facts, emotions, or events are treated as if they are not real or don’t exist. — a person told that their spouse was killed in a motor vehicle accident acts as if he/ or she is still alive. (Not consciously lying)
- Fantasy – Retreating into a dream world of times past… Can be unhealthy if it happens when action is required instead. Healthy when used to go back and finish unfinished business of the past…or simply for sentiment & nostalgia such exploring high school yearbook or family album.
Fantasy is so commonly experienced that many people forget to include it on their list of defense mechanisms.