The Ego

There are many different reasons that people decide to head to their first yoga class; to get more flexible, fit, focused or calm. Some of us are seeking inner peace, or happen upon it during a focused and flowing sequence. Generally to find and attain the space, stillness and peace we pursue we need to release something first... the ego. 

A great place to initiate this release is when we first get to our mat and Balasana (Child's Pose) is a wonderful asana to allow the process. A lot of Power Yoga classes start in Balasana and I find it a perfect introductory pose to any practice. There is something innocent about Child's Pose and although it has an introspective quality the humbling bow of the head seems to encourage humility, naivety, nurturing and love. When we embody these admirable virtues the ego seems to automatically fade away.

So, what exactly fades away, what is the ego? Ego is our self-pride and importance, it is the roles, labels and description that we give ourselves. We may first have heard people call us by a title, name, race or religion and then mistakenly believed those things neatly packaged our innate truth, who we really are. The ego is self-constructed it is a false identity, something we may have incorrectly learnt, where as our spiritual truth is not something we need to be taught, it is the memory of who we truly are and why we are here. Before we entered the world, we were pure and unconditioned; let the Pose of the Child (Balasana) remind us of that purity and truth.

Deepak Chopra has said that, "If you want a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, the need to judge. Those are three things the ego is doing all the time. It's very important to be aware of them every time they come up." 

So there you have it, the ego can also be summed up as the need to control, the need to judge and the need to be approved. Another need the ego has is the need to protect and the reason we protect is because we are fearful. I love the acronym for FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real); this also describes the ego, an identity of our own creation which is false.

Maryanne Williamson once wrote in A Return to Love, there are only two emotions love or fear, "Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we have learned here..." and I believe this idea may have originated from another revered book, A Course in Miracles. As we choose love (and it is a decision not an emotion) the ego fades away, so what do you choose today love or fear, ego or truth?

Inspiring Quotes

  • "As you dissolve in to love, your ego fades. You're not thinking about loving, you're just being love, radiating like the sun." ~ Ram Dass.
  • "Fear comes from the ego and not oneself. By letting go of the ego one can embrace the truth inside - which is FEARLESS." ~ Unknown.
  • A man once told the Buddha, "I want happiness." The Buddha replied, "First remove the 'I', that's the ego. Then remove 'want', that's desire. And then all you're left with is happiness."
  • "The ego has a pseudo life of its own and like all life forms, fights hard for its survival. As uncomfortable as our life might be, as painful or even desperate at times, the life we're living is the life we know, and we cling to the old rather than try something new... The ego is like a virus in the computer that attacks the core system. It seems to show us a dark parallel universe, a realm of fear and pain that doesn't actually exist but certainly seems to." ~ Maryanne Williamson, A Return to Love.
  • "The ego is quite literally a fearful thought." ~ Maryanne Williamson, A Return to Love.

This was used as the Spirit Yoga Theme for the week, I hope it can inspire you to release the ego and find your truth!

Article by Martine Ford