September 28, 2015 11:07 AM
Jerry left a great comment on the various definitions of “ego” this morning and I replied with my own definition. Since my reply is in the comments and could be easily overlooked, I’ve added it below. This is really a key component to any “school” of spirituality, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to highlight my definition of ego (and if you follow any teacher, it’s probably a good idea to get them to pin down what they mean by “ego”).
What I mean by ego is not the Freudian definition (“the organized part of the personality structure which includes conscious awareness,”) nor the Buddhist definition (“a collection of mental events”).
What I mean by ego (the personal self) is, “Taking one’s thoughts personally.”
That’s my experience at least. When I take my thoughts personally, I suffer. When I gained access to the Witness, I experienced the observation of my thoughts and thus didn’t take them personally (I felt separated from them). I still slip, and it is when I slip that I suffer.
And since I don’t like to suffer, nor do I like to see others suffer, I talk negatively about the “ego” (taking thoughts personally).
Hope this helps clarify things.
Further Thought: Reading my definition above (the bolded text), I see that my definition of “ego” isn’t so much a thing as a perspective. This is probably why I call it the ego level—it is a time in our lives (and that time could last a lifetime) when we take our thoughts personally.
Looked at it this way, you could say that all the levels of the map are simply perspectives (perspectives brought about by new insights or experiences).
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