You try to build up this sort of spiritualized ego persona, which ultimately is the ego trying to attain some kind of 'image' of enlightened God-like status. But to do this, it has to keep only the special, valued, accepted, allowed, preferred parts and reject the rest.
So the main mode of functioning of this ego persona isn't so much to 'acquire' the good stuff, but to simultaneously weed out and get rid of as much of the bad stuff as possible. In other words, it is a function of denial and rejection, based on condemnation and judgement.
So once again the ego is contradictory, in that it *appears* to be seeking to include only the stuff it likes or wants, which it has selected from the big soup of life, but actually accomplishes it by rejecting and condemning and relegating the parts it doesn't want to some kind of waste basket. Fact is you can't select and section-off some part of your self or life without simultaneously rejecting and condemning some other part.
This waste basket lives in the ego as the rejected, suppressed, hidden, repressed, denied, shut-out, blocked out 'stuff', which is nevertheless still there and still functioning. This generally 'dark stuff', or at least, surrounded with beliefs and judgements of darkness, will seem to do the opposite of what the persona wants, and indeed attacks it from time to time.
When the shadow attacks (ie the pain body) you generally will want to get rid of it, of course. Just like any 'pain', even physical pain, it's generally the sensation of something you want to get rid of. But that's a major problem. Because how will you get rid of pain? You'll use the persona. The persona will then be selective and attempt to relegate, reject and condemn the pain, to make it go away. The persona doesn't want to accept the pain or integrate it so that the persona and shadow cancel each other out. The persona wants to maintain a separation.
So it seems I think, that most of us are traditionally fixated on loving the persona, building up the persona, reinforcing the persona, choosing to use the persona to manipulate and get what you want, using the persona to paint a picture of 'everything is great' when it's not, or generally repressing your real Self. And you would not SUSPECT that this alone is the entire problem with the ego, because it then directly produces a large body of repressed pain in the shadow.
The ego persona wants you to think of the persona as all sweetness and nice, so that you would not suspect IT is the big problem, yet alone suspect that it is the CAUSE of everything that is dark and unwanted. Instead it deflects all appearance of the dark icky stuff onto the shadow so that the shadow gets to look like IT is the bad guy, IT is the thing to get rid of, IT is the thing to weed out and destroy.
So on the one hand you have this picture of 'innocence' in the persona (like the innocent victim), which you would not suspect is causing any problems at all, and then you have the apparently 'guilty' shadow which looks like it is the sole location of all the pain and misery and guilt and sin. Are you fooled? Most of us are. I know I am. I am fooled all the time by this. I keep believing the persona and seeking out that innocent, denying self, and trying to get rid of all the nasty icky stuff that I think the shadow represents.
So now all the bad shit in the world seems to be blamed on the shadow, and all the 'good stuff' is credited to the persona. When in fact, all the bad stuff is CAUSED by the persona. We choose the persona first (or simultaneously), and then by choosing it, ie choosing to focus on including only a PART of what is, or a PART of ourselves, we automatically simultaneously are adding more stuff to the shadow part of ourselves. That shadow part, generally seeming to be that which we repress and deny and hate or don't want to feel etc, seemed to be generally held at bay in a sort of 'unconscious' state for the most part, until it rears up into awareness and seems to attack the persona.
But let's look at this. Does the pain body/shadow actually attack the persona? Or does it just seem to behave in the terms of what the persona has given it? If the persona chose 'i want cake not dog shit', and the shadow became 'you are dogshit', then the 'you are dogshit' comes up seeking... healing, and exposes itself to the persona, which generally reacts with its usual relegation and denial and hate and 'get rid of it' attitude, which makes it an UPSETTING experience for the persona, disrupting its facade of pretend specialness and fake innocence. But what if the persona weren't so resistant to the shadow, and instead the SELF (real self) stepped back from the persona and was simply AWARE of what's going on, observes it, and allows both the persona and the pain to basically... be seen to be the same thing, to cancel each other out, then perhaps there can then be HEALING and RELEASE.
Anyway. My main point is this. And you may have heard it before. Choosing to use the persona is a trap, which absolutely guarantees that you will experience pain and suffering, because the persona will create the perception that something is unwanted, painful, and in need of being denied/separated from. This happens the INSTANT that you put the persona mask on, because you can't wear the mask without condemning everything that the mask does not contain. ie the shadow is the 'negative space' of the persona - everything else - which the persona is made to reject. The persona can only 'focus' on what it wants to include by excluding everything else that exists, and that simply becomes the shadow rather than 'extra stuff that never has anything to do with me'.
Morale of the story then is.... you believe you have the ability to choose what you WANT, WITHOUT in any way being affected by or involved with what you DON'T want, but this is a complete 100% ego lie. When you partially included, you partially exclude. Basic fact of a dualistic mindset. Every time you partially include something you have to reject something else and that rejected stuff is. ... ultimately, what is ... which includes the whole you. So as you wear that mask, you are attacking your whole self, suggesting that only some portion of it is acceptable, and that the other portion is unacceptable.
That is like... simultaneous self-eggrandizement and self-attack. Simultaneous ego inflation and a diminishing of Self. It splits the mind in two, shows one half to the world and hides the other, and as it does so, the shown part seems to amplify into 'goodness' while the dark hidden part amplifies into 'darkness'. You cannot escape the presence of this darkness. Just because it is hidden, does not mean it's not there. And some day it's going to manifest as sickness and death. Each time you believe in good and bad, or right and wrong, or any other dualities other than true and false, you are making BOTH a persona and a shadow, and must accept the consequences of both. The persona is your special love, the shadow is your special hate. Both of them are special.
Use the ego persona, get attacked. Use the ego persona, suffer the consequences. Use the ego persona, to make yourself look good, to win, to get, to be successful, to appear to be innocent, to have this fake facade of a person that you aren't even really that, ... be prepared to die. And who will have caused you to die? Yourself. Your own choice did it to you. So it's a good idea not to play with 'fire'... don't play the ego's game, don't live a life where you are constantly trying to 'gain' in manipulative, ego-persona ways. Just be what you are. You're perfect already.