Understanding the Ego
By Kala Ambrose
Excerpt from the book, 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled by Kala Ambrose
Before students can continue with the teachings of unconditional love, they must understand how the ego affects them in its current state of existence in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.
Psychologists have debated for years about the ego and what effect it has on the personality. If this is a point of interest for you, there are many wonderful books which discuss psychology and the perspectives of the psychological understanding of ego and the mind. In this book, the philosophical discussion will be focused specifically on the effect of ego on the spiritual journey and with the soul. One of the books I recommend all students read to understand the power of thoughts and their effects on all of the bodies, is a very small and powerful book, As A Man Thinketh (download freely here), which was written by James Allen almost a century ago.
To understand ego, is first to understand that as humans, we are not born with raging egos, (with the exception of a few souls who come back this way due to many lifetimes seeking power at any cost). For most people though, this is not the case. The ego develops, like all things in life, because it is fed. Most people are not aware how they feed their ego, because at the time, it appears they are just pursuing something which will lead to their eventual happiness.
In the teachings, we often use parables to explain how this occurs with ego. In this story, picture yourself as a young man. As a young man, you begin to desire something that you wish to have in your life, perhaps you wish to gain the attention and affection of a young girl. As you approach the young woman in an attempt to engage her in conversation, you are quickly rebuffed as she mentions in conversation that she is interested in another young man who has an expensive sports car. At that moment, the young man experiences abandonment, rejection, sadness, loss and self-doubt. It has become apparent to the young man, that he alone is not worthy of attention or affection, and that in order to receive what he desires and not risk being rebuffed in the future, he must possess an expensive sports car. His first reaction however, is the emotion of anger. He is angry at being rejected, angry at not feeling self-worth and angry at the other young man who has now been touted as being superior to him.
At this point, a typical young man often takes one of two paths. In the first path, the young man becomes obsessed with obtaining a car and other material possessions, which he feels will attract the attention and admiration of young women. He becomes consumed with this obsession and once he is able to obtain and fulfill this object of his desire, he becomes filled with false pride. It is false pride because the desire was not to obtain a vehicle for love of the vehicle, but rather as a means to an end to gain power and control.
Once this is achieved, the car also becomes an attachment, because as the young man is learning through this ego trip, one must protect this attachment at all costs, as it preserves the feeling of self-worth and power and control. This in turn leads to greed, to want more and more, because the feeling of self-worth is falsely inflated and thus requires more and more acquisitions to feed the hunger within. This cycle continues, as the young man still equates feelings of acceptance and love to be based on his material possessions. Even though he may gain the admiration and companionship of the women that he originally sought, he no longer feels that he is loved for himself. He must strive daily to hold on to his possessions and maintain control, so that he can continue to have admiration and companionship. On this path, the young man is trapped in this cycle of negative reinforcement, which makes it difficult to connect with the higher self in order to explore feelings of self-love based solely on the person and the soul, rather than material possessions.
On the second path, the young man is not motivated enough to work and do what is necessary to obtain the finances needed to purchase the sports car. Faced with this decision, he instead decides to wallow in sadness and anger. He blames circumstances and others for his problems and seeks and finds people of a similar lower angry vibration, which he finds comfort in associating himself with as companions.
These like-minded people are also willing to blame the world and others for the source of their miseries, rather than accepting responsibility for their negative thoughts and poor choice of actions. This anger and detachment from other emotions and people serves to produce and further expand feelings of self-loathing. While the young man may not become attached to a material good, he becomes attached to the anger and other resulting emotions. In this scenario, anger eats away at him from the inside out and the emotions must be quieted, so the young man in many cases turns to other sources and substances to avoid the expressions and pain of these emotions.
In both cases, the ego is out of control and the person exists in a state of being dominated by the lower bodies. In a third scenario, which was taught in the mystery schools and the esoteric teachings, the young man is able to fully see this situation as it unfolds. He is able to view the experience from his higher self and understand the situation using the power of discernment. He would see the bigger picture, which reveals that he reached out originally in love to another person, in this case the young woman. The young woman herself, while appearing confident, was suffering from insecurity and did not love herself and so she believed that being with a person who had an expensive car would elevate her status and feelings of worthiness and love. The young man is able to see and connect with this situation as it is unfolding and understands that rather than taking the situation personally, that they are two people coming from two different energy fields at this moment of time on their journeys.
In this scenario, the young man would simply understand the situation for what it is, and filled with self-love for himself, he would not be reactive, but rather would be able to be proactive. He would send love to this person, from a higher level unconditional love and then be free to move on to the next experience. In this mindset, the young man is able to learn from the experience and understand it further, without creating and causing a long negative chain and karmic cycle of misery and negative emotions for him and others.
In this example, we gain the knowledge that ego, while convincing us that it is protecting us, is in fact, keeping us trapped within our lower bodies. In actuality, it is blocking us from discovering our true selves. Once a Neophyte student understands this invaluable concept, it becomes easier to work through the trappings of ego and unravel them to create an ego in balance, in which the ego takes a back seat to the higher mind. When ego is in balance, discernment always comes into play first. With each experience, the person is not instantly reactive to a situation; rather they are able to process the event as it occurs around them and understand from deeper and more complex levels.
From this loving place, one is able to share their accomplishments and goals with others as forms of inspiration, rather than in a posturing or bragging state. In the balanced state, ego is used wisely to help one move forward into the creative phases of action, driving one to continue to create and explore. The major difference in this state of mind is that the focus is on the person to achieve their personal best, rather than directed as a reflection of competition tied to what others are achieving or acquiring in order to feel better.
The journey to transcend the ego, takes a dedicated amount of time and work, coupled with a willingness to truly look in the mirror and see what one has created in their lives and what walls are built around them. If this is done correctly, it is a huge undertaking and not an easy experience to face. In the mystery school teachings, it is described as a symbolic death, the death of the ego, which does indeed feel like a near death experience. Many students find that they can not move past this lesson and go no further in the teachings. They fear that if they unravel what is keeping them together, they will lose themselves and all sense of power and control over themselves and others.
To do this work of transcending, most students find it helpful to have a loving teacher, who is willing to guide them through this process. It requires tremendous inner strength to take on this lesson and work through the emotions. The ego does not like to give up control and it will fight the entire way and use any means it has with the personality to maintain power and control, including convincing the student that the teacher is causing them to do something that is wrong and possibly harmful to them. This esoteric teaching has been the subject of many novels, fairy tales, parables and lessons, as it is one of the most difficult lessons for a Neophyte student to gain control over and master. It is described in its most basic stage, as taking the first leap of faith in the journey of the esoteric teachings as a Neophyte student.
Once one has gained control over their lower bodies and the ego, the higher self is able to communicate more directly with the mind, which leads to greater intuition and guidance. Note that I say greater intuition, there are some people who are able to be intuitive, accessing information from the lower planes and can access intuitive/psychic information, without having worked on the lower mind and the ego. One does not have to proceed the other in order to work, but it is found that if a person does first work on some form of either the esoteric teachings, or other spiritual teachings and on the inner self, that the psychic and intuitive abilities are able to reach into higher realms and obtain greater degrees of information for some purposes.
9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled delves into the teachings from ancient Egypt and Greece and explains the Mystery Schools and their ventures into the spiritual realms. The nine lessons are designed to stir the soul, awaken the mind and reveal long forgotten memories of past lives in these schools, as well as inspire you to explore the magnificence of who you really are.
Peter Shepherd, founder of Trans4mind, says: Kala's book is definitely a recommended purchase... The "mystery" lessons are basically lessons of empowerment, based on universal truths that have been recognized by masters of consciousness since time immemorial, and as Kala describes, taught to those entering the schools for initiation. But instead of esoteric symbols and strange terminology, it's all made very accessible. And beautiful, really... there's a current of aesthetic and love that pervades the book and proves its authenticity.
Kala Ambrose is an award winning author, intuitive and talk show host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. Her thought-provoking interviews entice listeners to tune in around the globe! Described by her guests and listeners as discerning, empowering and inspiring, she speaks with world-renowned authors, artists, teachers and researchers delving into metaphysical, holistic and paranormal topics. Kala's book, 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled, delves into the mysteries of ancient Egyptian mystery schools and explains their wisdom teachings. More info at Explore Your Spirit.com.