In modern spirituality, there is a lot of talk about the “ego”. I don’t focus much on the ego, as I have seen many people get caught in the struggle of fighting against it, or trying to destroy it. This comes from a common misconception: the idea that the ego is inherently bad, or even evil.
There is nothing wrong with the ego. It is just a protection. The ego is the individual persona, the masks and defenses we use to hide our insecurity. In order to explain this, I often use the following analogy:
Imagine that you are an egg. Inside is a baby eagle. This eagle represents love-consciousness; your true self, your full potential. Yet we don’t know that this eagle exists; for now, we are just an egg. The shell represents the ego. The function of the eggshell is to protect that which is not yet mature; to shield the baby eagle from the world, until it is ready. This shell might present itself as false pride or arrogance, as insecurity or feigned humility. The ego is the voice that tells us there is something wrong with us, that we should be different. It is the voice that is always pulling us down, keeping us small, doubting, mistrusting, worrying. But is there something wrong with the eggshell? No. It’s just doing its job, providing protection until the eagle has grown strong. When the baby eagle is big enough, it starts to chip away at the shell. This happens naturally as our consciousness expands: soon the eagle is too big to be held by the constraints of the ego, and it begins to fall away naturally.
In your journey towards awakening, don’t try to destroy the ego or fight against it: instead, focus on cultivating the eagle within. When your consciousness has matured, the ego will fall away naturally, without any effort on your part, because it will no longer have anything left to protect.
Isha Judd is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and author; her latest book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? explain her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness. Learn more at www.whywalkwhenyoucanfly.com.