There was a time, not so long ago, when I totally bought into the idea that the only thing that stood between me and my spiritual enlightenment was the Ego. A big part of my spiritual practice for becoming enlightened was to ‘do battle’ with it. The Ego was said to be the part of me doing everything to keep me stuck in the illusion. If I were to realize the truth of who I am, the Ego would die. Therefore, this battle was a fight for it’s very survival.
As I developed the Radical Forgiveness concept, I became increasingly uncomfortable with this belief system. To me it began to look like just another manifestation of victim consciousness. The narrative seemed to go something like this: “I would be enlightened and fully in touch with my divinity if it were not for my Ego.” This had a familiar ring to it, like, “I would be whole and complete now if it weren’t for my parents.” The blame game. Projection.
In the first edition of my book, Radical Forgiveness, I mostly supported that belief. However, in the second edition, I gave two definitions of the Ego. The first cast it as our enemy like before, while the second portrayed it as our friend and loving guide. The two definitions are outlined below:
1. The Ego is an insidious, deep-seated, subconscious guilt complex based on our belief that we committed the original sin of separating from God, who will eventually punish us for doing so. The Ego seeks every way possible to reinforce itself and block any attempt to reveal the truth that we never separated from God at all. It cleverly ensures its survival by ‘protecting’ us from our overwhelming guilt, as well as the fear of God’s wrath, through the mechanisms of repression and projection.
2. The Ego is A part of our soul whose job is to lovingly find all sorts of ways for us to experience the pain of separation. In cahoots with our Higher Self and our Spiritual Intelligence, the Ego serves to reveal the purpose for our being on the earth plane. In other words, it helps to really get at the feeling level of the true nature of Oneness.
[For an extended description of each of these definitions and the beliefs underlying them, refer to chapter 6 in my book Radical Forgiveness, available as a download by clicking here.]
If you have been following me over the years or have recently read my latest book, Expanding Into Love, you won’t be surprised to know that I now favor the second definition. Far from being the enemy with whom I have to do battle, I now see the ego as the part of me that helps create all the separation experiences I said I wanted.
During the first phase of my journey, my ego took me into the illusion and taught me to believe in a false reality based on separation until I was ready to awaken. But, it did so not for the sake of its own survival, but because it loved me and knew that I wanted these experiences for my spiritual growth. Then, when the time came it handed me off to the part of my soul I now know as my Higher Self, whose gentle whispers encouraged me to wake up, bit by bit, until I finally remembered who I was. I am truly grateful for my Ego and thankful that there is nothing standing in the way of my connection with everyone and everything to the point where I can truly say and feel, “We are One.”