Before You Relinquish Your Ego, Relish It

Young woman standing out, stationary in motion blurred crowd

When I first met Dr. Vasant Lad, he had just arrived in Cambridge, MA from India. One of the most beloved authorities within all of Ayurvedic medicine, Dr. Lad is a loving healer and deeply inspiring oracle. 

We sat on pillows in a tiny room where Vasant told me that I was tridoshic. He prescribed some herbs, mantras, and meditations, and he encouraged me to look deeper into my spiritual gifts. Moments later, he directed me to tell my best friend where her engagement ring was situated. He had known me for 2 minutes. The ring was behind the night table.

When we truly relinquish our egos, or, at the very least, nudge them aside, we begin to see beyond our limited, temporary self-identities, and into eternity. This miracle is always available to every living Being, throughout all the realms, in all of creation, and throughout all the universes.  

Dr. Lad’s intuition and light-based nature is the result of years of having chosen to relinquish his ego, in service to humanity. While Vasant’s state of Being is admirable and exemplary, It’s not easy to expand, without first being thrust into a variety of fires. Some of these fires are more enjoyable than others.

When I first asked Dr. Lad why my ego was so challenging to wrestle and release, he said, “The ego is the I am. Without the ego, you are not.”

I cried for an hour.

Discover the Gift

No other spiritual teacher had phrased this idea so succinctly. Everything he said to me that night was so wonderfully simple, precise, and relatable. Dr. Lad set me on a unique path, and I was forever changed. 

Some new-age “prophets” can be so intensely focused on the relinquishing of ego, they fail to reveal the implications of giving up something we may have never known. 

If each of our soul identities and spiritual imprints is at least partially represented in our egos (for the purpose of our experiencing three-dimensional reality), how can we evolve without first embracing our egos, at least for a period of time?

After all, whether we were created by Gods, aliens, or biochemical explosions from other realms, each of us is unique and remarkable. 

When we fully embrace our egos, we might understand our motivations, intentions, gifts, talents, and attributes. In the pursuit of these understandings, we might also experience an expanded appreciation for the mechanics and infrastructures of this physical world. In doing so, we begin to deepen our respect and gratitude for every cog, player, mechanic, operator, assistant, and creator who works to bring our physical realities to life.

Throughout time, there have been multitudes of religions and spiritual movements that sought to mislead millions of people. 

In many cases, dark souls with selfish intentions intentionally misrepresented the masters they once followed, all in the name of greed and control. The result of this misuse of power resulted in the manipulation of the masses and included theft, rape, and abuse of the Earth’s most vulnerable minerals, plants, and living Beings. At their best, religions and spiritual movements give us lexicons and pause, while they relegate us to confined intellectual and spiritual prisons.  

What is the ego?

The ego is your platform for evolution. It’s your calling card. The ego is how the world uses you to evolve itself. Your ego was born to help creation give birth to more light. Allow the ego to enjoy itself. Allow its imperfections. Permit it to explore itself. In that journey, we learn how to see ourselves more clearly, relate with others, forgive flaws, and make our boldest moves. 

Yes, you are most likely imperfect, but only perfectly. Within your unique imperfections live desires, emotional curiosities, and the trajectories that will lead you through your individual unfoldment. Find safe ways to let it all live and let it all out. While the truth will set you free, you first have to allow yourself, as you are right now, to be part of that truth. 

Many of today’s religious fanatics and spiritual phonies are living from narcissistic self-identities, behind which they hide. 

From their self-righteous perches, too many spiritual leaders hate LGBTQ people, judge angry men, and resent masculine constructs, even the ones that produce safe environments, jobs, and sustenance for their families. It’s from these narrow-minded positions that misguided souls also judge themselves. 

The tragedies don’t stop there. With each of their judgmental thoughts comes a myriad of negative frequencies and vibrational elements, which then attach to the individual. These attachments act as magnets for experiences that will naturally confront these individuals with their shadows. With each problematic experience that emerges, we have the option to either evolve or seek more of the same.

How does this all relate to me? What does all this mean?

  • If you’re an angry man, begin by honoring your anger, then nudge it toward sadness, which is the most accurate state of anger. When you’re ready, see if you can convert your tears into actionable boundaries, knowledge, and strategies. This is how you can improve your life and serve your family.

 

  • If you have deep-seated issues stemming from abuse, first honor your anger, and see if you can express it healthfully and without hurting others. Following that, if possible, try to convert it into knowledge, forgiveness, and grace. Work through every aspect of every emotion related to this horrible event. While this is unfathomably difficult, there is always a pathway to love and light.

 

  • If you’ve been screwed-over in life, love, or business, find ways to honor and release the related emotions. From there, you can invite forgiveness, knowledge, graciousness, and rebirth. If that fails, regularly write in your journal until your current self-identity breaks and allows for change. 

 

  • If you feel drenched in ego and greed, be gentle with yourself before ripping open walls and terminating the structures that have served you.

Upon each painful experience, we have two options: 

Rot in pain or burst toward the light.

Regardless of what you’ve experienced, never new-age yourself out of your feelings. Never Buddhify your pain. Never forsake yourself. Even if you have to forget Jesus’s teachings for a split second, never reject the YOU that you’ve come to know and love. Never push yourself out of the way. If our selves are not involved in every step, we’ll eventually regret it. 

Most importantly, after each negative experience, honor your mind and heart as they process what has happened. From there, you can forgive, let go, pivot, and expand. Over time, negative experiences begin to feel like encouragement. 

When you’re ready, you can re-embrace your ideologies, religions, and spiritual movements. At their cores, these things are not bad for humanity. The trouble begins when spiritual leaders and teachers tell us to forsake ourselves before first honoring ourselves. After all, we are created by an unlimited, forgiving, and ever-expanding universe. 

To save ourselves and the planet, consider pausing before spreading a doctrine or religion. It might also be helpful to learn to love and honor ourselves before relinquishing every aspect of our identities and lives. 

Before we toss anger out the window in self-judgment, we might want to experience the anger and learn more about it. In all things, we must first look in the mirror and love without threatening punishment. From there, we can make conscious and fair assessments. Embedded in the bosom of love, we can nurture ourselves into forgiveness and expansion.

Alan Watts on Ego


Sacrifice as a Catalyst for Rebirth and Bliss in Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell is one of the most influential writers, philosophers, and professors in history. His work on mythology has taken native stories beyond their face value and deep into the human psyche, where they resonate with the core of who we are. 

Campbell’s life’s work brought countless people across the world in touch with the collective unconscious that underlies our every thought and motivates us to seek happiness. His phrase “follow your bliss” is now a household prompt, thanks to a series of interviews with celebrated journalist Bill Moyers in the early ‘90s. Gaia members can now experience this timeless discussion, listening to episodes discussing “The Hero’s Adventure”, “Sacrifice and Bliss”, and more.

Campbell’s teachings applied the lessons of heroes and metaphors of mythology to our own lives. “A myth is not a lie,” he famously said, despite this commonly misused definition. Rather, a myth is a story meant to turn the mind inward to reflect upon itself and reveal the essential truths of reality and our relationship to the transcendent. 

As Campbell explains in his series of interviews with Moyers, myth is often constructed as a hero’s journey — a pivotal course of events that slowly test the story’s protagonist and push them to the next step of unfoldment — toward transcendence. Each obstacle the hero experiences is a reflection of himself, as he is moved one step closer to sacrifice the egoic sense of self to the greater good, which is total consciousness.

When we study mythology, Campbell taught, we find the theme of sacrifice to be all-important. We must let go in order to receive what is already present. Campbell said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” The hero sacrifices his lower nature for his higher nature, and his safety for the one he rescues, or perhaps an object of desire for a noble cause. 

Campbell taught that sacrifice is a theme that runs through all things natural — death (the sacrifice of a living being) gives way to new life in an ever-continuing cycle. But death is often metaphorical and may be the death of a habit, a pattern of thinking, or an attachment to something. Or, he said, “When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you’re sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship.”

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