1. You have an Ego
Just like you have a car and a house, you also have an ego. And just as you are not your car and you are not your house, you are also not your ego. This is a simple but crucial insight. Many can go through their entire life and not come to realize this simple truth. Our false identification with our ego is the source of endless confusion and misery. We are a soul, not an ego. The sooner we learn this distinction the better.
2. The Ego has its own agenda
The ego’s interests and our interests are different. Sadly we do not realize this and we make our ego’s priorities our own. We spend our entire life chasing after goals that belong to the ego and not us. The ego is about power and attention. The soul is about love and happiness. Yet invariably we choose power and attention over love and happiness.
3. The Ego will make your life miserable
If we do not wake up to the futility of following the ego’s agenda we shall end up in a very sad and lonely place. The ego is all about a boundary within which the ego-identity resides. The ego then requires that we spend all our energy defending this boundary. This makes us ever vigilant against even the smallest slight against us. This oversensitivity to real and perceived insults gets us into unneeded fights. We slowly begin to lose friends and loved ones to unnecessary squabbles. In addition the ego wants to expand its boundary by seeking to dominate those around it. This makes us insensitive and incapable of listening to other people’s problems. Instead we only want others to hear what we have to say. Nobody wants to be in the company of such people and slowly our friends and loved ones begin to distance themselves from us. As a result love dries up from our lives and we end up lonely, isolated, and unhappy.
4. Reducing your ego will make you Successful AND Happy
When the size of our ego reduces we find that love in our life multiplies. This happens because we are less defensive and more capable of empathy. We become more approachable, less self-obsessed, and fun to be around with. Our support structure increases making us happier and more successful.
5. Ego feeds on STRESS
Ego causes stress in our lives. This happens because we become engrossed in defending our ego-identity. We constantly feel threatened and under attack and find the stress response being constantly triggered. As we swim in stress our thinking becomes cloudy. We become incapable of finding our way out of our ego-driven antics and consequently our ego remains strong and dominates our lives. Stress becomes a blockage that prevents the soul from expressing itself.
6. Yoga reduces both Stress and Ego
It is well known that yoga reduces stress. But now we can understand that reduction of stress can in turn reduce ego. This happens because as the fog of stress reduces, our thinking clears and we are able to better control our ego-driven impulses. As the blockage of stress melts away both our mind-body and soul blossom. The health benefits of yoga are well known and these are primarily the result of stress-reduction. However the “Inner awakening” and opening up of the inner self that people report as a result of yoga is due to the reduction of the ego.
“Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment.” – Chögyam Trungpa