For many seekers, the ego is some sort of individual entity tagged with the word “I,” and offered an extension of its influence through the word “mine.” That description is easy to grasp, but not enough.
A seeker should not be comfortable with a description, which only brings mental understanding of the idea; but a seeker may need to observe that ego in action, become conscious when it is being displayed as it happens in “real time.”
We may discover that the inner chattering of the mind is part of that “I” and the outcome of our conditioning. When we identify with that voice as “Me,” that is the second when action is the outcome of pure conditioning. Therefore, where is our “free will”? Some trying to make a distinction between the ego and that which is “really me,” may say that the voice of the chattering mind is not me, but the one hearing it, is truly “me.” However, the voice and the one who listens are both the mind, where different faces of ego come from.
Our society encourages the cementing of ego as that brings individuality. Our society is made under the premise that we are all separate; therefore our minds will bring that understanding of Life which brings as consequence, the perception of conflict to preserve that “I” when dealing with others.
Individuality is merely an aspect of the experience of Life. Because we are unable to observe how connected we are with Life, we encourage division, competition: The “I” with its many identities will fight with other “I’s” for supremacy.
What are those identities of the “I”? A profession, social status, a team, a political party, a religion, a belief, an ideal, a country. Observe that those identities are idealistic, nevertheless; those are “real” in our mind world. For example, burning a flag may be considered a criminal act for the ideal it represents when in reality, a flag is a piece of colored cloth which encourages human division.
How is it possible for someone to observe without bias his own ego,while still trapped in some identity? It is a very limited scope of observation.
It is an interesting exercise to read the world news and observe the extension of identification of humans with different ideals which will make up their egos and how the mechanics of conflict will be unavoidably there; which are usually dealt with violence. That is in a nutshell the history of mankind, thus we are born with that legacy. That is our conditioning.
What is the way out ? It is not through some social agreement or structure or law, as those are other ways we have invented to deal with conflict in society. Those methods are meant to “do something about the problem;” and we have changed things around superficially throughout History, although psychologically man is the same. There is constant division within and with others.
As a species we are highly conditioned to use only the mind to deal with society’s problems, thus we can only perceive Life though a mental position, which is empty of fulfillment. The “normal” man is an unfulfilled creature who is constantly searching for meaning.
The issue is the overused ego driven mind. Is there another way of connecting with Life besides the mind? Yes. There is. With Feeling. Fulfillment is there. That is the journey seldom walked by the “normal” man.