Is There a “Healthy” Ego?

In spirituality and mysticism we often encounter discussion about the ego, the psychological self, the “self” that we think we are. This is often referred to as a kind of illusion, something to rid ourselves of to see reality as it really is. It is called an obstruction, a veil, something which hides the Divine from us, which obscures our perception, and that it must be torn from top to bottom and done away. Sometimes mystics loudly denounce the ego, loathe the ego, punish the ego, calling for its death, its annihilation, its crucifixion, its extinguishment, extinction, falling away, passing away. This all sounds quite harsh to the “self” that we think we are, and so some spiritual teachers deny that we need to eradicate the ego, but rather transform it into something good. Which is it? Do we need to allow the ego to fall away, or transform it into a “healthy” ego? I’ll share some of my thoughts about that. Continue reading “Is There a “Healthy” Ego?”

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?”

Self-Sacrifice Does Not Mean Self-Hatred

I’ve written much lately about how ego sacrifice and transcendence is a common theme throughout religious history, and how overcoming this sense of “self” may be what all the religions are generally referring to in their highest and most exalting revelations and transformations of liberation, salvation, exaltation, awakening, and becoming One/Nondual with God, the Divine, the Transcendent, the Eternal, the Universe/Nature. This is even now being recognized as an effective therapeutic and true discovery process by scientists of the brain and psychology. Our sense of “self” may be the very source and cause of all of humanity’s suffering, estrangement, separation, division, fear, violence, etc. Continue reading “Self-Sacrifice Does Not Mean Self-Hatred”

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””