Why Having an EGO is GOOD News
We’ve all heard the famous quote by Rene Desecartes, “I think, therefor I am.” So obviously our identification with the thoughts that we think is not mind blowing information that is going to hit the front page of the New York Times as BREAKING NEWS!
Avidya (ignorance) reminds us that what we perceive to be true, does not necessarily make it true. Patanjali, author of the Yoga Sutras, specifically elaborates on this form of avidya when he describes ignorance as believing the “not self" to be the "true self." So it may be more accurate then, to coin the phrase, “I am, therefor I think.”
By putting the “amness” before the thinking, we celebrate the unchanging truth of YOU before the mind/ego, or before the tool that is used to connect your consciousness with the outside world.
What if we started to explore the ego, as just that, a tool?? A tool that is neither good nor bad. A tool can be used to be helpful or harmful, simply dependent upon HOW it is used. If we use the tool to build a bomb, the tool itself does not become a demon banned from earthly existence BECAUSE that very same tool could be used to create the cure for cancer, which in turn does not transform the tool into a hero, securing everlasting life.
In both of these cases the ego, or tool, has identified or attached itself to a role, falsely believing itself to be one or the other. And this is where all of the confusion or avidya lies. Asmita or egoism (the 2nd of the 5 Kleshas) is when we believe our identity lies in something that is impermanent and changing such as a hero, a victim, a demon, a doctor, a lawyer, a thief, a yoga instructor, a bank account, a number on a scale, or a really fancy car.
If you are a human, you HAVE an ego. Having an ego ABSOLUTELY does NOT equate to getting a low score on the worthiness or legitimacy scale of BEING a human. Our western culture has treated the ego like the plague and has flooded our inboxes with messages toting the subject line as: THE EGO IS BAD. As if we should develop a vaccine to rid ourselves of it entirely! Which by the way, would be a disaster because our egos were designed to serve us….except that we have somehow got it flipped around and backwards, just like the quote, and we have ended up SERVING our egos.
Yoga simply asks that YOU, your “amness,” see the ego as the tool that it is and begin to become aware of when you are using this tool to create HARM or HARMONY in your life. And more importantly, yoga asks that you begin to see yourself as the pure, unchanging light behind it all. A light that cannot be described or bound with the limitations of words……and that’s why we NEED the ego, so we can come together, right here, right now, and use our tools to connect, to merge our lights, into a light so bright, that it is undeniable, because it is the unchanging light of collective consciousness, or LOVE.