In the first two parts of this article, I discussed 6 pervasive traps the ego uses to keep most people from enjoying the abundance of the Universe and living a life of peace, joy, and happiness. These traps were:
- the ego always prophesies negative futures
- the ego always want more
- the ego has to be right all the timeThe ego judges what is good or bad
- The ego wants to feel superior and special
- The ego is ready to be offended
In part 3 of the article, I will complete my discussion on other powerful traps the ego uses. Although these 4 traps appear in part three of this article series, they are just as power as the traps I discussed in part one and two. So with that, let’s take a look at the next trap the ego use to cause suffering and unhappiness.
7. The ego keeps us in the illusion of separateness
The ego wants to convince us to believe the illusion of separateness. It keeps us from knowing the truth of who we truly are. The ego cuts us off from other people, from nature, from Source Energy (God), from our Higher Self, from and our true purpose. Our ego is the great usurper and convinces us that we are truly separate Beings with ultimately separate will, having no inherent connection with other people or with God. The truth is that we are divine Beings that are one with God.
From the moment we begin to compare anything to “me”, “myself”, or the “I”, we perceive the illusion of separation, and we blocked our connection to our Higher Selves. Think about it, do you say statements such “I am an American, I am British”, or “I am a Republican or a Democrat” or “I am an alumnus of Harvard” etc? Well, the ego loves when you use these and similar labels (identities) because these labels say you are distinct from another group, and they infer you are separate from other groups of people or another person. Not only do they say you are separate from other people, but they hide your true identity which is an individualization of Source Energy. We are not separate; in fact ee all an individualization of God, and we are all one.
When you use labels to describe yourself, be aware that any term (label) that you use after “I AM (label)” is not you. You are the one who is witnessing your experiences. Do this experiment: close their eyes and take a deep breath. Slowly exhale, stop all thinking and remain quiet. Do this for about 45 seconds. After 45 seconds, open your eyes. While your eyes were closed, did you hear a voice in your head. If you heard a voice as everyone does, who was listening to the voice and who was speaking?” If you are like most people, you probably said your mind was creating the chatter you heard. If this is the case, it appears there are two of you. There is your mind (ego) and there is the observer or witness of what was spoken. The observer is your Higher Self, sometimes referred to as the True Self or Soul. Your Higher Self is pure Spirit and is a luminous ray of light from Source Energy (God). Your Higher Self is your inner core that has awareness, and it is the center that observes. It is eternal, and is the part of yourself that consist of pure consciousness and connects you directly to the Source Energy. But your ego hides this truth from you because it is terrified if you discover it, you will live through your Higher Self, and it would no longer be needed.
8. The ego keeps us focusing on the past or future
The ego is our habitual thought program. Like a computer, it is unconscious and unaware. It just sends random thoughts and information about things having to deal with the past and future. The internal dialogue within our minds continuously comments, often critically, on everything we do. It thinks, “I did that well, so people will approve of me”, or “if only I had said it differently she would not have gotten upset.” It is the voice that speculates on the future, “Should I make that telephone call?” or “how would life be if I marry that person?” are examples. It wonders what other people are thinking and how they will react.
This incessant chattering keeps us trapped in time because it focuses on the past or the future. As long as our attention is in the past or future, we are not experiencing things as they are. Instead, we are seeing them through the ego’s judgments (filters) of the past and the ego’s fears for the future. At times we can be so caught up in our self-talk that we do not even notice the present moment. We ignore what is going on around us, and do not appreciate how great life is. We are so engrossed in our concerns that we never seem to pause to let things be. We have lost the present moment of the NOW.
However, this moment is all that exists. This fleeting instant is the only reality. The past is gone forever, and the future is not yet born. We are alive in the NOW, but the ego keep most people’s minds stuck in the past or in the future. We grieve or glory over events of long ago. We carry resentments, guilt, and shame about events that occurred in the past. We think of what we should have said or might have been. We fear and fantasies over the future, and we worry about every moment of wasted time.
The ego loves when we have our attention in the past or are worrying about the future because we are unable to be aware of the ego traps. When we consciously enter into the stream of present moments as they unfold, we discover a sense of peace. We do not have to worry about the future or be concerned about the past. We can just enjoy what is happening right NOW. Moment by moment, as be stay in the NOW, we become aware of what we are thinking and doing, thus we notice the ego is causing our suffering.
Each day, take a few minutes and just notice what you experiencing and really feel the joy of each moment. Daily, I go on a gratitude walk, and I watch nature such a bee going from flower to flower or turtles playing in a pond. I give thanks for the experiences and I really feel the joy. There are no thoughts about the past or worrying about the future. I just enjoy what IS. It is amazing to surrender to the flow of life. As you get better at letting go, you will begin to see that the Universe will take care of all the truly important details of your live.
9. The ego causes attachment
One of the traps the ego use to bolster its identity is through the ownership or the clinging of things, experiences, and desires. It is amazing how easily we get attached to things. Have you ever found yourself parking in the same space at work or sitting in the same chair at your dining room table? How do you feel if someone else takes it first? We tend to think in terms of MY house, My car, My dog, My spouse, etc., believing that these things somehow actually belong to us. If someone attempts to take them away, our egos get miffed, and we can become very upset when they are lost or damaged.
Attachment is that which follows identification with pleasant experiences and is partly the cause of our suffering. It comes from the ego’s fear and insecurity; fear of change, fear of loss, or perhaps uncertainty about the future. Nothing lasts forever and all our worldly possessions have finite lifetimes. If we can just allow things to change without our clinging to them, life is much less stressful. To reduce suffering, we must learn to weather change.
Although we tend to associate attachment in terms of physical objects, it can also apply to mind-states. We go through life expecting certain outcomes based on previous experiences. We expect to feel satisfied after we eat, or that if we plan a future event carefully enough, it will turn out exactly as anticipated. What happens when these expectations are not met? The ego can become irritable or frustrated, to say the least, and perhaps quite angry with the people or situation we find ourselves in. Here again, we have caused unnecessary anxiety in our lives. Or perhaps we are being held captive by our memories, unwilling to let go of the pain or pleasure they afford.
These attachments to past events, or obsessive worrying about future events become hardened little nuggets or souvenirs that we carry around with us. It is the unproductive “emotional baggage,” both mental and physical, that we drag along with us. Both the past and the future can be traps for our minds. The past traps us in “if only” memories and the future traps us in “what if” scenarios. How much better it would be to just be OK with things as they are right now? The challenge is how to get to that point.
We can also have an attachment to our “specialness” which creates enormous blocks to awakening to our true identity (an individualization of Source Energy). It generates fear and resentment and prevents our alignment with Source Energy because these things we are attached to have become our identity.
Examples of attachments:
Being attached to your children or spouse
Being attached to a title such being called Doctor, Senator, Your Honor, Captain, etc.
Being attached to your physical features
Being attached to wanting to be financially abundant
When you have an item or a desire that you are attached to, ask yourself “why am I attached to this thing?” Furthermore, ask yourself “if this was taken away from me or I released it, would it diminish who I am?” Think about it. If you had $10,000, and it was taken from you, would who you are change? Yes, you wouldn’t have the money, but the core essence of who you are is still the same. Therefore, ask yourself “if you can release your attachment to the “thing” ?” If you can, just release your attachment. If you are unable to release your attachment, before dozing off to sleep, ask your subconscious mind to show you how to release it. Follow the suggestions you get from your subconscious mind.
10. The ego causes aversion
Aversion is the flip side of attachment, and the two are closely related. Aversion is a leaning back from or repulsion of or to something or an extreme desire to keep away from something or someone. Aversion is that which follows identification with painful experiences. It tells us that we (our egos) anticipate future unpleasantness based on past painful experiences. This makes us want to retreat from a situation or person we expect will cause us mental discomfort. It is also telling us that we believe outside events cause us to experience joy or pain, but this is a fallacy because all emotions arise inside ourselves and are just interpretations of our minds.
With aversion, expectations have not been met, and tension, fear, and defensiveness result. The ego feels the need to be in control and becomes stressed when situations or people thwart that need. Anger arises which bolsters the sense of power, and righteous indignation encourages feelings of superiority. If that does not work, the ego may retreat in fear, assuming a “victim mentality.” It whines and complain, “Why me?”.
Aversion manifests in two ways: outwardly or inwardly. We express it outwardly in anger towards others or the situation we find ourselves in. We dislike what is happening and we outwardly project our inner dissatisfaction. We also begin faultfinding, and we look for what is wrong in everything. The second way it manifests is by experiencing an inward withdrawal; we feel fear, grief, disappointment, or guilt. The first way generates enormous negative energy, while the second becomes paralyzing. Both of these reactions are painful, self-centered mind-states that allow us to be caught up in life’s little “dramas” and cause us to have negative thoughts which induce negative vibratory feelings.
Examples of aversions:
Spending time with people with bad manners
Hating rude people
Hating being poor
Disliking when people talk in a foul manner which causes you to get upset
When you encounter a situation or a person that your ego dislike and you feel disturbed by negative thoughts, immediate think opposite (positive) thoughts. This means you must understand that the unpleasantness you experience is not coming from outside. It is simply a condition of your thoughts and your ego’s interpretation of a situation based upon its rules. Furthermore, you must know that the condition is temporary, and it will soon pass. Once you acknowledge the pain or dis-comfort, instead of trying to avoid it, you can move toward acceptance of what “is” rather than the way your ego want things to be. Do not be afraid to name the demons of your ego- fear, confusion, guilt, anger, etc.
Most people usually react unconsciously to their feelings, but by bringing awareness to them, you can change to positive emotions. You become free; not free from feeling them, but free to feel; then move on, abandoning your ego’s rules and embracing another. Let go! It is an active choice that allows you to discovering yourself in new ways, and freeing yourself from old, limiting views.
The above ten ego traps that I discussed are merely an introduction to the power of the ego, but these are the most pervasive traps that the ego uses to control our lives. By gaining an understanding of what is occurring in our lives, we can come to see that our ego is not for our highest good. If we can begin to see the ego for what it is, a neurotic task master that is causing our suffering and unhappiness, then we have taken a step becoming our Higher Self toward reclaiming control over our lives.
In conclusion, remember you are not your ego. It is just an illusion.