Acknowledging Your Ego - How the Ego Is Connected to Spirituality

There are many factors which have built up your ego or self-image, who or what you think you are in relation to others who live around you. Some of these factors you are not even explicitly aware of, but they are there.

Factors Making up Your Ego

To begin with your parents have the first determining factor in the process of forming your ego. The color of your skin, the contour of your face, the blood in your veins, and a host of other physical characteristics come from your parents and you formed your self-image according to these data about you.

If you are born of black parents your skin by the genes transmitted from them is also black. And you see your self as a black guy or gal. On the other hand if your parents were white you inherit their white complexion and so you think of your self as a white guy or gal.

But the image of your self goes beyond your skin. Your parents also influenced your image of your self in the society where you live. If they are well to do, then your tendency is to consider your self as well off. If your parents are poor then you think of your self as a poor member of society.

Teachers, especially religion or values education teachers, your peers, your neighbors, your friends, your enemies, the animals around you, the plants that give you oxygen, the total environment around you influenced the making of your self-image.

Redefining Your Ego

As you grow up you redefine or remake your ego. Your poor parents won in the lotto and suddenly you think of your self as a rich person. You got the highest score in an exam in your class and you think of your self as not so dull. A handsome man falls in love with you and you think you are a beauty queen in your community. Your ego or self-image does change.

Sometimes the image in your ego hardens and becomes difficult to change. You think you are the underdog and you fight anybody who comes to oppose you. I know of an old man, he is a senior citizen now, who has maintained this image of being an underdog from the time he was in the elementary school and he has no friends.

Acknowledging Your Ego

Most do not reflect upon their ego, who or what they think they are. They just go through life acting without reflecting on their identity.

But a crisis may come which forces them to reflect on who they really are. A courtship break-up occurs and the man reflects what in him caused his girl friend to leave him. He begins to ask who or what he is to himself and to his girl friend.

A valedictorian in a law school fails in a bar exam and she asks, Why? Is there something in her personality which disqualifies her from passing that exam?

The ideal and proper thing to do is not to wait for a crisis to change or redefine our ego for the better. If a person is perceptive of herself and asks the great questions of life (Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?) then she can begin to investigate her ego and acknowledge it for what it is.

You do not have to wait for a critical moment in your life. Right now you can take stock of your ego or self-image, acknowledge it and if you are not satisfied with it, then change it.

The Ego’s Connection to Spirituality

Spirituality is the life of the real you, the spirit in you. As the Christian existentialist philosophers keep on saying, you are an embodied spirit, a spirit enclosed in a body of flesh, blood and bones. And the task of spirituality is to discover your real self, who you really are. Once you discover your real self, or as some have expressed it, once you have reached self-realization, then you can function as a full human being.

To reach self-realization you have to cut your way through the ego, because in a sense this ego has blocked your view of your real self. You have an image of yourself as defined by others, your parents, teachers, peers, friends, and even enemies.

The first steps then in living the spiritual life consist of knowing your ego, acknowledging it and then discovering or realizing our true self. Once you discover this true self you redefine or remodel your ego to conform to this real self so that you can function as a full human being.

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