Whenever you suffer mentally try to analyze it. You will find somewhere the ego is the real cause of it. The ego goes on finding causes to suffer. Ego lives on others’ attention. If nobody pays attention to you, if nobody thinks that you are somebody important, significant, then the ego feels hurt. Ego is always depending on others, always in search of food, that somebody should appreciate it. As Osho calls aptly, this is a deep begging. It is a deep slavery.
We want to have more to draw others’ attention. The ego always wants more. It has an addictive need for more. But it can never be satisfied. The Buddhists calls this egoist structure as the hungry ghost with an enormous belly and a mouth the size of the eye of a needle.
It is “the enemy within”. It is the enemy of a genuine happy or spiritual life. It is what gets in the way of experiencing real happiness or real love.
Comparing, complaining and resentment are common egoist activities.
Comparing yourself to others is the ego in one of its most vicious forms. “I have more than him. My ___ is better or worse than yours”. It’s a perpetual losing battle because there will always be somebody better and always somebody worse than you are. Even if you are the best in the world at what you do somebody will always be right on your tail. If you keep seeing your life as a competition with those around you, then you will continually be dissatisfied and the ego will drive your life.
Ego has the great need to always be right and to have the last word. This is another one of the ego’s most destructive functions. People who have a need to continually be right are headed for the ultimate downfall. These kinds of people will often get far in life because of their persistence and aggressiveness. But these people mostly will fail when they are on the brink of great success. Their need to be right will be their downfall and years of hard work can be destroyed in minutes when this portion of the ego takes over. Leaders with this attitude ultimately lose touch with reality and eventually stop perceiving truth that can rectify themselves because they are so adamant about being right.
Be very clear – your ego is not the real you! Through the ego the society is controlling you. You have to behave in a certain way, because only then does the society appreciate you.
Some people live their whole lives fighting for the sake of satisfying their inflated egos. Each one of us feels worthy in a way or another, even those who feel inferior. But it becomes a problem when this sense of self worth becomes exaggerated to the extent that it leads the person to a life full of suffering and pain.
Here are the views of two great thinkers -
Zen Master Phillip Kapleau says, “Ego, that shadowy, phantomlike figure with insatiable desires and a lust for dominance, sits astride the senses like some oriental potentate. Or, to change the simile, ego is like a magician carrying up his sleeve the deadly tricks of greed, anger, and wrong thinking. Worse, he is quite capable of rationalizing his actions with an air of sweet reasonableness. This wily and slippery conjurer deludes us into believing we can enjoy the delights of the senses without pain only by delivering ourselves into his hands ..”
Eckhart Tolle says, “On the psychological level, the sense of lack and incompleteness is, if anything, even greater than on the physical level. As long as you are identified with the mind, you have an externally derived sense of self. That is to say, you get your sense of who you are from things that ultimately have nothing to do with who you are: your social role, possessions, externl appearance, successes and failures, belief systems, and so on. This false, mind-made self, the ego, feels vulnerable, insecure, and is always seeking new things to identify with to give it a feeling that it exists. But nothing is ever enough to give it lasting fulfillment. Its fear remains; its sense of lack and neediness remains.”
Whenever your mind is in turmoil, start looking for the ego - not in others, but in yourself. Whenever you feel miserable, immediately close you eyes and try to find out from where the misery is coming and you will always find it is the ego that has clashed with someone.
When you can learn to let go of the ego, the level of success and fulfillment you will achieve will be dramatic. Only with your ego in check will you have the ability to reach your full potential and real peace.