In esoteric, spiritual circles, many people will tell you, that the Ego is the source of all evil going on in the world and that it is the enemy of any intent of spiritual understanding. I don´t subscribe to that.
The ego is there for a reason, it has its place, its importance. The ego isn't the problem. Our ignorance of our true self is the problem. The ego is a vital building block of the self that allows us to be part of the material manifestation we call reality. It makes possible for us to live individual experiences and it gives us a sense of continuity. Thanks to the ego we can build our stories, meet and interact with other people. Without having a proper place in it, the world would be confusing to us. It would seem senseless. Our ego is our reference point from which we part and to which we come back to. It helps us to measure, weight and relativize things. But just as in the theatre we know that the actor is merely playing a role on stage, that his name in the story isn't his real name, that the props on stage aren´t really his own, that the costume he wears is fitted to the role and the play he is in - the same way we should be aware of our own ego as our role within the human experience. Without having a role there is no place in the play for us. No story. No plot. If you want to be part of a story, in order to participate in life on earth, you need a role to to play in it. That doesn't make you become that role. Your stage name doesn't become your own. The props don´t form part of your identity. The costume doesn't define who you are. But we forget that and we get confused.
This doesn't make the story less important. We are meant to work our way through our story, experience a wide range of emotions, feelings and sensations that are embedded in it for us, and evolve through what we call the “human experience”. Just like it is intended in the origins of drama - it shall lead us to a catharsis. The purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art, or in our case, through a life-story. Spiritual understanding can only come through experience. To enable us to have that experience and to relate to it as our own - that is the job of the ego. Having an ego is not a problem or an obstacle. It´s a blessing.
Confusing our ego with our real self, that indeed is a problem. I am just as little my ego, as I am my pinkie finger. Both of those are part of me. And just as my pinkie finger has a colour, a touch, a temperature, my ego also has its particular attributes. When confused with self, the ego gets corrupted and it panics. It is simply not its place, and what we expect of it - to be us - that´s simply too much for it. Expecting a mortal shell to act like the immortal being we really are, is insane. And even so, the ego does what it can, to grow up to the task. It inflates itself, it tries to get bigger, more important by having more attributes. More things, more money, more attention, more love, more energy, more of whatever it can put its hand on. It´s motivation is fear, terror. The responsibility we place on it is simply too big. The ego absurdly fears its own mortality, whereas it is its very essence. No actor wants to do their groceries as King Lear. That costume only lives within the context of its story. On stage. At night from 19:00 to 21:00. It is designed to be finite. If you identify yourself with your name, cloths, social roles, the work you do, it means that you have lost yourself in the story. Those are merely parts of the experience. Building blocks. Your aid to make sense of the world. Your sandbox to explore the depths of your own soul through evolving and living your stories.
The ego is a mask. The original meaning of the word "persona" is the mask which was used to amplify the voice of the actor in the ancient greek theatre. Per-sona: the mask which makes the actor´s voice come through and be heard. Our personality is the mask, through which we act in the manifested reality. The ego isn't limited to the incarnated human experience. Think of it as definition. A name tag. The angels have names too. So do demons. In reiki, different qualities of energy have their own unique signs, and colours. The ego is something that differentiates things from the source, from eternity. It defines a certain shape and vibration for all manifested energy. A stone is manifested energy, so it has an ego too. It has a shape. It has a name. It has a material. It has a destiny within the manifested reality. It can kill a person or build a house. The stone´s Ego is surely thousands of times less complex than that of an incarnated human being, but the principle is the same. Ego is definition. If you take a look at the Genesis, what you see, is that when God creates the world, he first looks at it, sees it, and than he gives it a name. Light, darkness, heaven, earth, etc. It is impossible to create something and name it nothing. Because it will be nothing then. It is the process of separation that gives things a meaning. And the way to separate/create things is to name them, to define them. So they become experienceable.
If you want to understand eternity, or as I prefer to call it, the source, first you have to take it to pieces. Separate and look at it bit by bit. Experience it bit by bit. Which is what we are doing here right now, in this manifested reality. So then, when we put the pieces back at their places, it all will make sense, whereas before doing so it was just source. No-thing.
Be egoless for an hour and you go mad. The world doesn't make sense without it. Without it you loose notion of who you are, where you are coming from, where you are headed. So, please don´t aim to throw away your ego. And don't place the responsibility for your whole existence in it´s hands either. Enjoy it. Play with it. Experiment with it. See all that it can become. You will be surprised to learn how flexible the ego is! You can be many things thanks to it. You can be a painter, a friend, a parent, a child, an explorer, a king, a prisoner, a clown, a scientist, a miner. You can change the colour of your hair every day if you like to. This however - as you already might have noticed, isn´t limitless. You can shape your ego only within the limits of your story. It is true, that your story will be conditioning your ego. You cannot bend the story to your liking. There are many things in it you will have to endure, suffer and overcome. Knowing your part in the story will help you to deal with it. Knowing how you can shape your ego will help you to process and build these experiences into your soul. These experiences enrich the soul and make it evolve. This is the whole sense of all this. You, learning about yourself. Exploring what you are, who can you be what you can create. The more you accept, acknowledge and treat your ego at it´s rightful place, the less scared it will be to fail you, and the less scared it is, the less it will be ruling your life. And the less your ego is ruling your life, the more control you really have over it. You become conscious and can so make better choices. Choices that will bring harmony back to your life.