A Course in Miracles Blog

What does it mean to have an ego?

  • By Paul West
  • In Ego, Illusion, Spirit
  • 1134 Words
  • 5 minutes 40 seconds
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The ego only comes about when there is an emphasis of DIFFERENCES between any two things.

If two holy beings are relating to each other, recognizing their equality, there is no egotism involved. Their equality makes it impossible for them to be different or to have different interests or for different rules to apply to each.

Without differences there cannot be a difference of opinion, therefore there cannot be conflict. Without conflict there is no ego. The ego is made of illusory differences or the idea of inequality. When there is equality there is no ego.

Therefore, recognize that “having an ego” does NOT necessarily equate with “having a self”, nor does it equate with “being an individual”.

The only way in which a self could turn into an ego is if that self is DIFFERENT to other selves in some way - a different appearance, a different opinion, a different form, a different nature, a different interest etc.

The only way that individuality turns into ego is when a person attempts to DIFFERENTIATE their individuality from others by trying to make their self SPECIAL. Jesus says that the separation (creation of ego) occurred only when we sought “special favor”. We already had our own self and individuality BEFORE we tried to be “better than” or “different to” others. Before that, we were equals with all of God’s Children - our “brothers” in Heaven.

Ego is NOT the idea of “being separate”, as in, there being many individuals. The only way that individuals become separate in an egotistical way, is when they aim to be SPECIAL and thus in COMPETITION with others. That is egocentric, because the individual is then seeking special exclusive treatment that they would deny to others.

This also ties into “what is not love is murder”, in which when one thing applies to one person that does not apply to another, cause and effect are separate and it seems you can escape the consequences of trying to attack a brother - thus getting away with murder. What is the opposite? The opposite is not to have NO brothers, it is to treat your brother as an EQUAL. LOVE, therefore, recognizes EQUALITY. Love does not have to mean “one self”, when those selves are cooperating lovingly.

The same is true of free will, which each Child of God is granted. You would think that if everyone had free will there would be ego chaos. Not necessarily. If everyone wills IN THE SAME WAY or with the same GOAL, there is no disagreement and therefore no ego. When all wills are “united” or “in accord” with God’s Will, there is HARMONY.

Harmonious, ego-free relationships arise from mutual recognition of holiness and equality. Therefore every child can have their own free will and be co-creators, provided they are always desiring to share joy and love. When their interests are not different, there is no war, and thus no ego.

We need to be careful to recognize then that EGOTISM means SELFISHNESS, and being selfish isn’t inherent to you having a SELF - it’s just a bad attitude. Selfishness means self-interest or in some way believing that something applies to you which others should not be a part of. It is a lack of SHARING or willingness to be equal and share everything with others. When there IS a willingness to share everything equally, there can STILL be selves, but now these selves are holy and innocent.

The idea therefore that ego means “any kind of separation” is not true! It’s okay for MANY BEINGS to be LOVING. For brothers to be loving, equal, identical and to share everything. The fact that brothers are getting along in a NOT-SELFISH way, lacking ego, does not mean they have to stop being separate beings. You getting along with your neighbor doesn’t entail you having to destroy them.

Jesus says that the ego entails selfishness, while the SOUL entails SELF-FULLNESS. If you think about it, when you are being selfish you actually WITHDRAW part of yourself from sharing with your brothers. Therefore you are no longer being the fullness of yourself. To be ego is to be NOT YOURSELF. It is a withdrawal of yourself from your brother and an attempt ISOLATE so that you stop SHARING. Egotism is simply lack of sharing, not being a “separate being”. When you isolate yourself you become UNNATURALLY SEPARATE, but your inherent “self” which is “separate” from other selves is NOT unnatural.

Although it looks like being self-oriented, ego is actually the ABSENCE OF SELF, because self is naturally open and sharing. Ego is confinement, imprisonment, limitation, lack and a loss of identity. This is why being in the ego ends in death of the self. Self denial, self attack, self abuse and self sabotage are attempts to UNDO the Holy Self that God created you as. Death is a denial that you are a free-willed individual who lives forever.

Becoming “more ego” does not make you MORE SELF, it makes you less self. And the more you TRY to emphasize your “self” the more you LOSE IT. This is also why waking up means returning TO BEING YOURSELF, and is NOT a loss of self but a GAINING of self. It is only the LACK of yourself that disappears!

Being FULL of self is the opposite of being “full of yourself”. Being full of yourself really means PRETENDING to be someone you are not. It is a lack of authenticity. Being your authentic SELF means being the Child of God that God created. “I am still as God created ME” means you are still the holy child which God created as ONE of his holy children.

Egotism or having an ego does not mean having a self or being an individual. It means HIDING YOUR SELF behind a facade of lies. You DO exist. You have a Holy Self with your own Holy Mind. There is nothing WRONG with that. It is not ego to say that God created many children. Ego does not equate with all forms of separation! It’s OKAY for God to have created “separate beings”, provided those beings are loving, equal, and have no egotism or specialness. It’s only when they COMPETE that there is a separation problem.
”God, who encompasses all being, nevertheless created separate beings who have everything individually and want to share tit to increase their joy.”

That is a recipe for harmony, happiness, joy and peace. There is no ego in that. God creating a Kingdom with many things in it, doesn’t mean there is any EGO in it. It’s okay for WHAT IS REAL to be a living world filled with light beings who love each other equally. Being one of many children of God does not man that you are fundamentally in competition with or attacking other children of God. Love brings order to God’s divine creaion.
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