What Good is the Ego-Self?

Over the past several months I’ve explored the nature of the human ego as it relates to spirituality in many of the major religious and spiritual traditions, as well as in science. As I noted in a series of posts, it seems that a recurrent theme throughout many of them is the idea of sacrificing ego, overcoming ego, transcending ego, even experiencing a kind of “death” of the ego, so as to realize the true nature of the self, of reality, and of God. We might ask then, what good is the ego? Is it all bad? Do we want to destroy our ego? Is that true spirituality? Continue reading “What Good is the Ego-Self?”

What is the Spirit or Soul?

Many religious people believe that the spirit or soul is the ego-self, our personality, the person we think we are in our heads, our psychological “self,” with all our memories and experiences and relationships, etc. But none of this existed at our birth. We had no ego, no personality, no sense of “self” in our heads, no memories, no self-awareness whatsoever. These all develop gradually throughout our childhood and life, and are mortal qualities formed through the arrangement of neural networks in our brains during mortal life. Continue reading “What is the Spirit or Soul?”

Overcoming Ego and Transforming Self in Confucianism & Taoism

(This is the continuation of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

Confucianism and Taoism are two similar philosophies or religions mainly found in China. They also have a history of teachings about the “self” and overcoming this entity in order to realize a greater union with reality. Continue reading “Overcoming Ego and Transforming Self in Confucianism & Taoism”

Sacrificing Ego Consciousness In the World’s Religions & Science

One element that I think is shared among all the religions, which has become quite conspicuous to me in recent times, is their history and beliefs about the nature of the human ego, and that this ego is a major obstacle to the flourishing of life and love in ourself and the world, and that transcending the ego is a major goal, if not the goal, of human life. This ego transcendence may be the central feature in all religions, the underlying core message and purpose of all spirituality. And science is beginning to discover this too. Continue reading “Sacrificing Ego Consciousness In the World’s Religions & Science”

Video: Harvard Buddhist Psychologist on the Constructed “Self”

I thought this short video was a beautiful summary and illustration of Buddhist philosophy from Dr. Daniel Brown, a Harvard Psychologist and Tibetan Buddhism scholar. I believe this philosophy may similarly be found in most of the world’s religions, framed in a multitude of different symbols. This is perennial wisdom. I’ll describe some of these further down. (Transcript under video.) Continue reading “Video: Harvard Buddhist Psychologist on the Constructed “Self””