I got my ass kicked by my bloated ego this week. It reared it's ugly head and went after someone else's bloated ego, and almost caused a problem that could have torn apart some really important work. I finally refused to play anymore, and found a way to move in a different direction, but there will probably have to be some serious repair work somewhere down the road if I'm to have any kind of relationship with them.
All of this got me thinking more about ego. Our egos can be our friend or they can be our enemy. I speak of ego as if it were another, but we have met the enemy, and he is us. I am my ego, and my ego is me. Ego is one of the fiercest of all the warriors and will fight to the death when attacked.
The trick, I think, isn't getting rid of, or squelching, the ego, it's learning to work with it in healthy, as opposed to pathological, ways. Ego reality and agenda are very strong, and mine was in serious shadow, and, fortunately, I'm doing enough shadow work (3-2-1 Shadow Work Process, private therapy) to know my shadow when I don't see it. It may take me a little while, but I can recognize when I go into "ego mode," and then I know what I need to do to let go.
I'm working on seeing at the moment it arises.
This got me thinking about how ego affects our transformation and structure stages. Can someone who's at higher levels of development have a huge ego? Obviously, yes. But if they allow that ego to be the boss, then while they may be still be operating from a higher stage, it's not in a healthy way.....and if lower stages of development have unhealthy aspects, why wouldn't higher stages, as well? Ken Wilber reminds us that there is nothing linear about overall development.
An unhealthy, or even pathogical, display of ego is in the self-system, and has failed to integrate, caught up in infantile wishes and never satisfactorily moves past earlier stages, and can show up as fixation: "I want to be right."
Ego is a basic indredient of our essential make up. From time to time it will reign supreme anyway, regardless of any attempts to diffuse its tryanny. When you are lit up like a hundred watt lightbulb, don't deny it. Smile and tell the truth about it.
Digitally enhanced photo by Gary Stamper