If you're on, have begun, or are dabbling in a spiritual journey (or "awakening" as I like to call it) then you have likely heard about your "Ego Self." If you haven't, your "Ego Self" is said to be, essentially, the fake you, the "persona," the mask, usually associated with materialism and self-centredness. And most people are striving to be free of this Ego Self and be ultimately free of all attachment and become their true "Higher selves."
Okay, so clearly I don't have a degree in Buddhism, and I'm not going to pretend that I do. But hopefully you know what I'm talking about, because that's all you really need to know here. ;)
Now, here is the problem that I have with the concept of the "Ego Self." I feel like most people don't really know or understand what this "ego self" actually is, even fear it and look down upon it. I feel the yearning to be free of this ego actually tosses people down a different rabbit hole altogether. People become so opposed to this ego self that they view everything as this ego self. Not only this, but I feel that most people that claim to have found this freedom from the ego have lost any entity at all and have become rather hollow shells. That, or they are often quite self-righteous in their own subtle (yet obvious) way, looking down upon others because they are above everyone else for having ridden themselves of this ego, as if that makes them better than everyone else. Clearly not actually enlightened at all.
Obviously, this is not the case for everyone. I'm quite certain there are amazing human beings out there that have ridden themselves of their "ego" and are quite happy, loving, positive and all that they should be. But I'm talking about this subject because I know an awful lot of people who think they know what they're talking about and are dipping down that rabbit hole or are reaching quite the negative, withdrawn, and counter-productive state of mind.
Again, I may not be any professional Buddhist or spiritual teacher or anything of the sort, but from what I do know, any sort of true spiritual awakening does not come along with a self-righteous better-than-thou attitude. If you are truly enlightened then you aren't going to tell people that you are either.
So, here's my two cents, take it for what it's worth… Be You! And stop getting so caught up in trying to let go of something you don't even understand. Life is Happiness, pleasure, laughter, fun, respect, freedom, and enjoying the ride. If you're not smiling then what's the point? Be who you enjoy being, the person who makes you genuinely and unreasonably Happy.
Don't get me wrong, I do believe that people have a sort of "ego self" and that they live as this self and that they should release it. However, my understanding of this concept seems to be quite different from many others--perhaps for the reason that my view of this ego is only to serve as a lesson to be happy and further your path. I believe your ego self is the mask people play in society when they don't yet know who they are or are afraid to be who they truly are. When people play the "copy cat" game; dressing and acting to fit into whatever crowd it is they are trying to fit into or be a part of. When people constrain themselves from being, acting, and looking the way that is true to them.
So how do you let go of your ego self (again, in my humble opinion)? Be True to You! Dress the way you want because You want to, because You like something. Of course, letting go of materialism is a good thing, but let's face it, everyone wears clothes (unless you're a nudist), and everyone chooses what it is they are wearing. Even those who claim to be at a higher state still have to choose what clothes they are going to wear, they made the Conscious decision to wear simple clothing--it's still a choice they made about their appearance. So wear what you enjoy wearing, don't put yourself in a type-cast or genre or fad. Be free to express your beautiful self! To me, clothing is just another artistic expression, and there is nothing wrong with wearing something wild and crazy or something absolutely simple and subtle. Express yourself freely and in accordance to how you want and feel like!
Obviously, obsessiveness over your appearance isn't a great thing either, and is usually a sign of insecurity. This is all okay though, these are just things to be conscious of so that you can work through them--without making a big huge deal over it and over-analyzing. Remember, over-obsessing over concepts is counter-productive… and Balance is everything. ;)
When you take anything too far and too seriously in any direction then you run into problems, whether it's being this ego self or trying to get rid of it.
Act the way that You want to act, the way that makes you feel blissful and happy, that resonates with you. Stop caring what others think or trying to impress them. In my personal experience, most people truly respect and, dare I say envy (?), those who are genuinely being themselves and embracing all sides of their character. And character is ever changing as we grow and learn and evolve so learn to accept and embrace that too.
If you're not comfortable in your own skin then that's probably a good indicator to work on yourself. Same if you don't love yourself or if you don't feel genuinely happy. Self love is the most important part to enjoying life and, I often say, the first step in that "awakened" journey--you know, the magical path where happiness is.
The point in life is to enjoy it, not to be overly analytical and walk around with a better-than-thou attitude. The truth is, we don't know everything, we'll never know everything, and that's the beauty in life. Our concepts and ideas are ever-changing, just like our attitudes and "selves." I may totally change my opinion on this "ego self" in a few weeks, months, or years, but one thing I do think is important is to understand that over-obsessing over complex concepts is not productive and does not make you better than others for thinking you understand. The importance in any lesson or thought or idea is to learn and grow and do your best--not get caught up in the details. Life is meant to be Enjoyed, Happiness is the Purpose of life. Don't take life so seriously! So love, laugh, smile, and be happy. Be You and you'll be just fine. And don't be afraid or shy away from Who You Are. Embrace it, express it, Be it. Just Be You.
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