The word ego comes from Latin, and means, ‘I.’ Actually it relates to the thought of, I, for example, I am my body. There are important reasons to have an ego, as its function has allowed humans to soar far above all other species of animal. Unfortunately, it has also become the cause of great suffering since the ego believes that the separate ‘I’ is all there is to each individual human. If we believe we are limited to a mortal body, then keeping that body alive is the all encompassing goal, and unconscious fear is rampant because we know, at some level, that we cannot sustain life beyond a finite time period. In fact, we know we could lose the body to disease, accident, or other causes, at any moment.
The thought, “I am my body,” is defended massively by the ego. It causes strife and anguish between the self and all other humans. We are NOT just our bodies. If we are fortunate enough to discover this before our body physically dies, we have a golden opportunity to awaken to the truth of our eternal conscious presence as a formless (spiritual) soul. Jesus said, “Lest ye die and are reborn, ye cannot enter the Kingdom of God. We can be in the Kingdom of God, now, and be the sacred observer of consciousness itself.
We are so much more than a fleshly body. We are the consciousness that animates the body. The body is more of an, ‘it,’ than who we really are. The ego is nothing more than a series of powerful self created thought-forms. It is kept alive by constant thought patterns about who we think we are. We believe our ego is who we are. If we stop believing that we are our bodies, we awaken to a glorious, ever-unfolding universe, of which we are ONE with all that is.
The ego thrives because we keep feeding it by allowing thoughts in the form of comparing self with others, defending our mortal bodies, and keeping our “story,” what ever it may be, alive. Our “story” is taken from our past experiences from birth till now. What is actually happening now has little to do with our past, with the exception of how we respond, based on our egos memory of the past. In some stories we are the victim, in others we are the conquering hero. The senseless babbling of the “story” process, keeps us from the pleasure of being alive, and witnessing the sacred unfolding of life, now.
It helps to stop speaking and thinking of the body as, “I,” or “me,” or “myself.” The more we can remember that our soul (consciousness) inhabits this body, but the body is not who we are, the more we can force the ego to disintegrate, or at least, shut up and go sit in the background of the mind. In a George Gurdjieff group, in Boston, Noble belonged to 34 years ago, one of the practices we endeavored was to never use the words, I or me. A very difficult task, but highly effective!
Ultimately, it can not cause the arising of consciousness, for we were using a system to attain consciousness. Consciousness is who or what we already are. We must go deeply into the stillness of now to experience it. Saying, “ I will get there after I have done certain things,” puts a separation between the self and arrival.