How does a person introduce himself? They usually mention their name’, place of work and designation etc. This is a reasonable manner to define one’s identity. But when one starts believing in all these identities as himself and acts according to them, then we call it ‘ego’.
There is no limit to our conscious form because it is so subtle that we cannot bound it in the limits of our name, gender, religion, etc. But since most of us do, the decisions made from this perspective are bound to bring sorrow in one’s life.
Through the ego, we start binding ourselves to the limits of this body, and every material thing connected to it. It’s a prejudice that makes us assume everything as our own. The ego makes us believe in something we are not. In other words, when we consider the ‘temporary’ as ‘permanent’, then it is ego.
What kind of problems arise out of ego?
In the first place, most of the problems that people face nowadays are the result of their ego. Many people get stressed just because they think they don’t look good. Here, the lack of understanding of self causes this stress. When we believe that our physical features define us then this is what limits our ability to see our true ‘self’.
Stress, tension, anxiety, and all forms of mental diseases are caused due to false identification. They occur because we assess ourselves incorrectly. When things don’t seem to match our beliefs, we start creating differences between people. As we have already falsely identified ourselves, we see others in the same light. We identify them as good or bad and based on the differences and we either get attached to some people or start disliking others. Attachment and aversion are the main causes of ego.
How do you differentiate between ego and self?
Knowing and understanding the fact that everything and everyone in this world is temporary helps to overcome the delusion of ego. The world is temporary and nothing lasts long.
The root cause of all the miseries people are facing in today’s world is that they misinterpret the material world as lasting forever.
Through meditation and understanding yogic knowledge, one is able to peel away the layers of the ego and start to discern his true self. They would then realize that their identity is beyond their appearance, social standing, and material possessions. In time, they will establish themselves fully in their new identity and further cement their spiritual growth.