Kill Your Ego- Recognize The True You

sunset1.jpgLast week while on vacation, I took on a great challenge.  No, I did not jump out of an airplane or swim with sharks.  I did something much more difficult—I committed myself to unplugging from all work related matters completely, and sought to be “present” or “in the now” as much as possible.

This task is much harder then it seems, and for the first few days I found myself ensconced in the usual Todd Goldfarb ways of thinking.  I was worrying about my clients, anxious about this blog, stressed that I was doing nothing to move myself forward. 

Eventually I was able to diffuse these thought patterns using one thing: my awareness. 

This is a very powerful practice, and one takes a lot of work and patience.  However, if you are really interested in personal growth and want to make transcending changes in your life, constantly being attentive of your thoughts is one of the most revealing exercises you can undertake. 

How The Ego Operates

You, me and everyone else has something in us called an “ego” that diverts us from the genuine, true and authentic self

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that lies within.  We so easily confuse the little voice in our head with the real us, and the ego’s constant stream of thought makes it very difficult to observe it from a different perspective.  The illusion of ego is unfortunate because the entity behind it, the authentic you, holds all the cards to living a fulfilling, happy and successful life. 

On Sunday night during the Oscars, they showed a short clip of 100 year old George Burns in which he said “when you get to be old enough, you get to be you again”.  What George meant is that with age comes perspective, and towards the end of our physical lives the ego comes to accept its demise.  The ‘becoming you again’ is a reference to becoming aware of the authentic self, and you will find many older people speak like this.burns_georg88159973_150×200.jpg

My question is: Why not work hard NOW to become ‘you again’ while you are still young, active and vibrant?!

Once you start becoming an observer to your ego, you begin to realize how insane it is.  It is full of fear, anger, and sadness and creates conflict, uncertainty and doubt.  My goal during my vacation was simply to become me again, and I did this by paying close attention to the madness of my thoughts.  Once the ‘observer’ within me became clear, the anxiety and stress melted away and my authentic self was given space to manifest!

Awareness is the Universal Answer

The only way to diffuse the ego (or ‘kill’ it) is to shed awareness on the constant stream of thoughts it produces.  I can tell you I have been practicing this for years, and it is hard work.  Friends and clients constantly say to me:  “why should I go through all the difficulty and anguish of becoming aware of my thoughts…I like my life, and I accept the illusion if that’s what it is.  I am perfectly content the way I am”!

There are two reasons it is necessary to do the work of separating ego from the real you.  One, you must realize that you will never find true contentment and fulfillment in your life if you are run by the thoughts in your head.  If the ego is in charge you will be in a constant state of searching, comparing and desiring as opposed to being, accepting and doing.

Second, you must understand that your individual ego contributes greatly to the world around you.  Humanity is in a state of relative emergency, if you haven’t noticed.  Many of our established “systems” are proving to be unsustainable.  This is the result of the collective ego. 

Gandhi said “you must be the change you want to see in the world” and what he meant was that each of us must work individually to rid ourselves of self-polluting thoughts if we are to rid the world of war, starvation and slaughter.  The  underlying meaning here is that our personal growth is a contributing factor to the more global environment.

Intellectual Understanding Verses Experience

If you are reading this article then you are probably familiar with a variety of self-improvement and spiritual guides.  Chances are you have a basic understanding of the ego, and how it operates.  But one point I will say over and over again on this blog is this:  there is a difference in having an intellectual understanding of the way the ego works and actually experiencing it

Perhaps for this first time in human history, this type of conversation is taking place in the mainstream.  Almost everyone I know can speak intelligently about something to do with the ego or global awareness.  But how many people actually take the information and use it? 

How many of you reading this article are actively increasing your consciousness, and using the books, articles, movies that are out there and doing the necessary work to improve yourself?  The number is certainly growing, but if things are to really change on a global scale I believe we need more and more people making the shift from intellectual understanding to experience. 

The Results

Once you effectively become an observer to your thoughts, you allow the real you to manifest. What is amazing is that once this happens all of the productive and creative ideas you were searching flow naturally.  In my case, more than 20 wonderful ideas “came to me” over the course of 7 days I was on vacation through practicing the art of being present. 

Some of them were article ideas for this blog, some were fresh ideas that can help me move forward, and others were general insights about the way I view my businesses.  All of the things I would have been stressing about were virtually solved by being present.  [Of course it is extremely helpful to carry around a notebook or voice recorder to capture the moments when ideas strike, and I highly recommend doing this].

I also feel as though I enjoyed my vacation more than I have vacations in the past.  Being present, and purposefully creating the separation between your thoughts and authentic self, is very gratifying.   

Remember, focusing on being present allows you to become aware of your typical patterns of thought in a very profound way.  “Get off the couch” and make the shift from being an understander to an experiencer…it may be the very thing that saves humanity! 

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82 Responses to “Kill Your Ego- Recognize The True You”

  1. Tina Russell says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Tina Russell

  2. Good article. IT’s very liberating to reduce the ego.

  3. Sounds you took a very meaningful vacation, Todd. When I look back my life, I see most of the major changes I made came as a result of unplugging and facing myself. I think it is a necessary process we all need to take several times a year (in addition to daily quiet time) if we are to have truly good life, not the life our ego dictates.

  4. I’ve been doing this for years. I highly recommend it!

  5. Todd says:

    Thanks for the nice comments Jean, Akemi and Tejvan. It is good to hear others are doing this, and encouraging!!
    Todd

  6. Brad Baggett says:

    Nice article, I too took a short vacation this past weekend and had many of the same thoughts. It was so nice to be in the moment with my family and little boy. It sure does put things in perspective!

    http://www.JuiceofChampions.com

  7. Alex Kay says:

    This is really great advice, and I can definately tell it’s profound! Amazing article, printed out for further reference. Thanks man :)

  8. Norea says:

    Todd, thank you for sharing.
    I’ve been challenging my beliefs with success for quite some years now, but found that past socialization can be so powerful it can trick the mind. What I realized very recently is that it is only with the heart that one knows what is true.

  9. Todd says:

    Thank you Norea and Alex….much appreciated, and I love the point about the heart. Thank you,
    Todd

  10. Shannon says:

    Does becoming aware of the ego and your thoughts mean asking yourself as you become aware of the thought, “is this thought based in fear, anger or sadness?” What exactly are you supposed to be looking for?

  11. Todd says:

    Shannon– YES, thats the way to begin. When you ask yourself that question you become an observer to your thought partterns. When you start seeing the thought as fear, anger or sadness, then you view it from above, or behind it.
    This is the very persepctive you need to transcend the fear, anger and sadness. It is hard work at first, and you will not know the difference between the observer and your thoughts for most of the time. But you will catch glimpses where you experience it. With practice, and awareness, those glimpses expand. Make sense?
    Todd

  12. Jim says:

    Todd,this is the best article I have read this year and most timely as i am immersed in ‘The Power of Now’.Slowly i am becoming able to catch my thoughts and to an extent disociate my true self from the Ego – this is most starkly illustrated in the almost “evil” thoughts that occur during rush hour drive time !, I have been staggered to recognise the stream of aggressive impulses and inner dialogue that manifest-at least now i am able to recognise and start to deal with this.keep up the good work.
    Cheers

  13. Todd says:

    wow, THANKS Jim….thats some compliment! If you haven’t read Tolle’s next book, A New Earth, pick it up. It is incredible.
    Thanks again,
    Todd

    • Jordan says:

      I’ve been in recovery for 2 years from drugs and alcohol with mild success. As I’m typing this I’m almost one day sober, again. Elimination of ego is my only chance for happiness, and sobriety, but I read something along the lines that we can’t eliminate our self-created egos with self-created thoughts.

      I’m 24 and I would like to work on this because it really causes a lot of misery. Is there anything you can suggest?

      E-mail is preferable, thank you for the article.

      Cheers

  14. [...] “Kill Your Ego – Recognize The True You” [...]

  15. [...] Kill Your Ego- Recognize The True You [...]

  16. Vee says:

    An excellent article, Todd.

    I enjoyed that!

    I’ve been mediating for years. It is indeed very liberating to free ourselves from the dictatorship of ego. Meditation is for everyone. It works from the inside out. It produces precious peace of mind.

    It brings serenity, tranquillity and peacefulness. Meditation supports the person on all levels: physical, mental, and spiritual.

    I highly recommend it!

    Here is an excellent free e-course on Zen Meditation:

    http://www.lasting-weight-loss.com/meditation.html

    All my best wishes.

  17. Todd says:

    Totally agree Vee…and I will certainly check out the e-course on meditation. Thank you so much for the link!
    Todd

  18. Jacob says:

    great article Todd!

    I am also a big fan of Tolles teachings, I just have a question about the negative thoughts, for everyone.
    Mostly I notice the thought, and then I get present. But at most it just feels like I suppress the negative thought (by not thinking about it – ignoring it).
    Wont all those negative thoughts build up inside you or do you kill them completely by being present?

    hope it makes sense.

  19. Todd says:

    I have struggled with this as well Jacob. When I tried to think “more positively” I felt I was just squashing the negative thoughts for a later date.
    The truth is, you have to practice being present. The more you do, the more easily the light of awareness shines on the negativity. Eventually it becomes habit, and while the negative thoughts still persist, you see them differently.
    Would be happy to discuss this with you further!
    Todd

  20. Jacob says:

    thanks for the quick answer :)

    so the “squashing the negative thoughts for a later date”-thought is only an illusion? … maybe created by the ego in fear of its demise?

  21. Todd says:

    Thats exactly right Jacob, at least in my opinion. The only thing that really matters is cultivatig the ability to become habitually present to your thoughts…negativity can’t exist for long in this environment!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Your right without my Ego I realize I’m not good at anything and I deserve to die because I am meaningless without having anything I’m good at.

  23. J Lindholm says:

    Great article…… a very good tip to know when you are in ego is….. catching yourself using the following terms…
    1. Always
    2. Every
    3. Whole
    Examples:
    “You always do that!”
    “You do that everytime!”
    “I’ve put up with this my whole life!”
    The ego is immature.. (like a 4 year old)when you are in it you talk like a child. You can’t remember how to spell. You might throw things, like a spoiled child. Recognize these signs, catch yourself…..and bring forth your critical thinking, adult self…and take control.

  24. NoBoT says:

    I appreciate anyone intelligent enough to realize the root of mankind’s joy is not cultivated through ANY of the vulgar channels found outside one’s self. In fact, reading your article has further armed me, in my 15 year battle with the clever conventions of self. As a teenager I read a great deal in an attempt to understand my pain, and utter disgust in myself -and mankind. I concluded that eastern philosophy addressed the genuine root of suffering in a responsible, direct, way -e.g. “disciplines in mindfulness, and being present” I also concluded that the majority of americans would never kill, let alone acknowledge the existence of their ego due in part to the manufactured belief that our true nature is to produce, and consume. Equally instrumental in hiding the madness that lives in our very minds is the relative ease of existence one can achieve by embracing the product of ego -pervading capitalistic banality, advertised as success. Yes, the american dream. I realized that an ethical posture was simply not possible within the constricts of a system that promoted a the lie. I began to intentionally nurture the absurd suggestions that rang out from the hostile person within. I could not beat the monsters that disgusted me -and so I became one.

    Twelve years. I was lost for twelve years. From time to time an emaciated specter would comment quietly on the true nature of self, unfortunately, I gave ego such unbridled control for so long, that the tools I once possessed had been replaced by endless narcotics/violence/apathy/and the ever present pull of suicide.

    Recently, something sort of snapped. I observed myself from afar, and what I saw was a bundle of emotion and desire. I had become a perpetual reaction to the melee of emotions within. As of a few months ago, I remembered that this is not who we are. The omnipotent voice of ego that had me running errands for so long, became ridiculous.

    I am sorry to rant like a maniac, but, when I read what you wrote here, I felt the need to express gratitude. It is this is the sort of auspicious coincidence that proves the power of sharing strength with the collective mind.

    Respect,
    -will nordstrom

  25. Todd says:

    WOW Will, thank you for the thoughtful and vulnerable email. It sounds like you are on the right track…and the fact that you began to ‘observe’ yourself is very telling. GOOD for you. Now, you have to be vigilant and stay on the path. The old grooves of mind and ego are seductive and powerful…be aware of them and sit in silence when they arise! Awesome man, GOOD for you!

    And J, thanks for your reply too!!
    Todd

  26. Ashutosh says:

    Every human being has a moral sense of right or wrong, and when such a sense prevails there’s peace within and all around,but, this sense diminishes thanks to ego.
    And I guess that’s why the closing lines..it may be the very thing that saves humanity..!!

  27. Great post. Been thinking very deeply about the ego recently. Can be quite terrifying when you see it so strongly when communicating with other people. See even now comparing myself to others, my ego manifests itself again.

  28. priyam singh says:

    great article! I felt a shift in my consciouness on reading it and also recognized similarities and phrases from “a new earth” by eckhart tolle. For people who want to really get into observing your incessant stream of thoughts aka Ego, read Tolle.
    The challenge is in continuing the awareness as the author of this article has done and written about.

    Namaste (I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells in peace)
    Priyam

  29. Emil says:

    i read ur article and its quite interesting.even i have been into such things.i think u shud read “mind its mysteries and control” by swami shivanada.its a gr8 buk.it might be difficult for u to understand even though the buk is in english but i highly recommend it since u r interested in self realisation

  30. eric says:

    a recent state of enlightenment about my ego can be found at
    http://odysseyofforethought.wordpress.com/

    i am dedicated to diffusing my ego as best as i can. i’m 23 and i have the rest of my life ahead of me to be happy. my friend says, “the sooner you stop lying to yourself about who you are, the sooner you can see things for what they are”.

  31. Azot says:

    Все-таки по-настоящему нравится мне Ваш блог. Всегда занятно читать, включая эту тему. :)

  32. Willem says:

    Thanks for the insightful article. For years I’ve been preoccupied with the way others perceive me. I’ve always been trying to control the way they think about me.

    I’ve been mad at some people for not responding well to my jokes, for example. ‘You better think I’m cool, or you’ll be on my black list.’ That’s basically what my motto was.

    Was I really mad at these people? No, I realized. It is my ego. My ego will do anything to mask any ‘defuncts’ I might have. It just cannot accept that there are people in this world that possibly think I’m not the coolest guy around.

    The ego is like a little child, like someone here mentioned before. It will do absolutely anything to avoid pain, so it makes up these stories. It lies to you. It’s passive aggressive. Is the ego evil? Probably not. It just tries you to keep from getting hurt, but in doing so, it creates a lot of suffering.

    Just my two cents…

  33. 3wl4k says:

    I’ve just started to realise affect of my ego’s desires.

    I now realize how many people have I hurt just due to my ego. How many tears could be avoided if I could recognize it sooner.

    The worst of it all is that I realize it but still I can’t fight it.

    Someone just don’t show me enough attention and JUST BECAUSE of my ego I get so angry… I eventually make the person suffer… And you can imagine how desperate I feel when I realize “oh, I told you that just because you hurt my ego… and I it was active JUST because I had feeling I can lost her (what’s completely because she was just in bad mood for first time in month period)”…

    I’m almost crying every time I realize how stupid and weak against my ego I am. And my desire to kill it grows much stronger every time I realise it’s affection.

    And I’m glad for your site, because knowing there’s lot of people who achieved goal of getting rid of ego’s desires really gives me much hope and trust in myself.

    Really thank you Todd :) )

  34. [...] Phew, hard work! Kill Your Ego- Recognize The True You [...]

  35. HP says:

    Good article. However, to lose your ego it is not only necessary to look at the so called “negative” feelings produced by the ego like fear, anger sorrow etc. but also the “positive” feelings produced by it, like for instance joy and happiness. What you actually want to achieve is emptiness. Remember that the mass of any container gives it a sense but the empty space thus created makes it useful. Only then will you be able to “go with the flow” and discover that all these opposites like for instance happiness and sorrow are actually one and can’t exist without another.

    • arindam gupta says:

      HP I think you are absolutely right. But the path of getting rid of the ego is so hard that as a first step, I think, one has to get rid of the “negative” feelings. Once successful then aloofness from “positive” feelings must be next step. By the way congratulations Todd!

  36. SelfSlayer says:

    Where to begin?

    I’ve found myself talking to myself, schizophrenia-like, railing against the ridiculous, petty thoughts that intrude and try to direct my feelings and actions in ways that are of no use to anyone and serve only to comfort my ego.

    I think I’ve done a lot of work and found a lot of growth when really, I’ve so very far to go. 43 years old and barely able to crawl.

    Such an eye-opening clash with ego to discover that part of me is certain now that we all only get one life and that, contrary to so many previously held comforting beliefs, I am subject to the laws of nature and will one day die. Yes Rob, you will cease to be. I will end. My ego shudders at this thought and much fear surfaces in response yet, when I tell my ego, “Too bad, get used to it. It’s the same for everyone so lose the self-pity”… There’s an odd sense of peace that fills me when the child becomes silent.

  37. Blake says:

    The ego is a record of past actions/thoughts/decisions/reactions its habit. Its knowledge written into you and planning. Its helpful but much of it is tainted and will lead to cycles of thoughts feelings over and over again with no conclusion. Comparisons always, mabey back when we lived in small towns or tribes it was ok but nowadays there are 6billion+ people and we are all connected better than ever and comparing yourself to them all leads to depression/anger becuase with more people harder and harder to compete to be at the level comparenly to others you want. An ego created wrongly needs to be recreated to stop these bad cycles and habits of mind and be retooled or released.

  38. l campbell says:

    Hi Todd, and thank you for this powerful blog. I would like to comment on the ego. The ego is rooted deeply within each of us. In fact everyone is born with an ego. At times, it is hard for anyone to distinguish between the ego and the true self. I agree with you on staying present and observing our thoughts, because the ego will have you chasing desire after desire. It will never be satisfied with attaining a desire, because it soon gets bored when the desire has been attained. For an understanding of how to rid myself of the ego; I am studying “Kabbalah”.

  39. Jorge Rodriguez says:

    Great article. I sensed that the spirit within you is giving you that light that you reflect into others in your message. When we allowed our spirit to take charge we become free of the slavery of the ego and desire. Then your thoughts are guided by the universal mind, (Cosmic mind ) or the mind of Christ within us. The universal mind is that light that is “ALL THAT IT IS”, or the “I AM THAT I AM”. When we become aware that the Spirit of Christ lives within us then we are reborn. Then we are one with Christ and the cosmic universe. We gain the knowledge and the wisdom to protect ourselves of the seven deadly sins practicing these virtues: humility against pride, kindness against envy, abstinence against gluttony, chastity against lust, patience against anger, liberality against greed, and diligence against sloth. God promises we will find Him if we seek Him with all our heart. (Jeremiah. 29:13) God bless you all.

  40. Jorge Rodriguez says:

    Great article. I sensed that the spirit within you is giving you that light that you reflect into others in your message. When we allowed our spirit to take charge we become free of the slavery of the ego and desire. Then your thoughts are guided by the universal mind, (Cosmic mind ) or the mind of Christ within us. The universal mind is that light that is “ALL THAT IT IS”, or the “I AM THAT I AM”. When we become aware that the Spirit of Christ lives within us then we are reborn. Then we are one with Christ and the cosmic universe. We gain the knowledge and the wisdom to protect ourselves of the seven deadly sins practicing these virtues: humility against pride, kindness against envy, abstinence against gluttony, chastity against lust, patience against anger, liberality against greed, and diligence against sloth. God promises we will find Him if we seek Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

  41. Misbah says:

    Congratulations.

    your blog on your actual experience is re-assuring. Thank you.

    Misbah

  42. lucas says:

    i find the hardest to step back from my ego when i am in the middle of it

  43. Edward says:

    Being 45 years old now, I can say that I have been tortured by my thoughts most of my life. Maybe for the last 20 years or so, I have noticed that I had some influence over these thoughts. Like I could tell myself “All I need to do to have a good day is believe I am having a good day”.
    I guess about two or three years ago browsing the net, looking for self help stuff, I became aware of the existance of the ego. It was a comforting to know that the bad thoughts in my head was simply part of being human and that I wasnt half crazy. But more importantly, there was a way to reduce these thoughts and feelings and maybe eliminate them all together.
    It does help to read articles like this and also all of the comments. I still struggle with my ego. When I am tired, or too many obsticles are in my way, my ego runs wild…unchecked. Still, I do catch it and stop it often.
    Will I ever truly kill my ego?…for me it is the answer to living in peace. I hope I can. For now, its one battle at a time.

    • manzoor says:

      When we say that I have killed my ego it is again an ego. The essence lies in being ever conscious behind the thought… conscious that we are not the thought but awareness behind.
      Thank your Tedd , Keep it up…

  44. Marc says:

    Todd, whenever I make this challenge, to observe my thoughts, my ego joins in. So where I might observe something and my ego will make some comment to myself in my head about it, I’ll hear my ego also comment on that thought as if it were me. When I try to be present and be observant, my ego (my mind?)… I feel it plays with me or tries to trick me into think it’s really Me, probably because it is so desperate to hold on. This is what I struggle with. But I’ve found moments—days, even—where I’ve managed to murder my ego, but everyone around me who lives this dream daze of a life grabs me by the hair and forces my ego back down my through, and it’s hard to find Me again.

  45. Marc says:

    By the way, this was the first Google result for, “murder your ego”. :-)

  46. brad johnson says:

    This sounds good but my friend has isolated himself in his room for months trying to defeat his ego and it kind of worried me.

  47. deepti says:

    your experience is something i can relate to…and it is nice to read it for it re instates the faith i have in my thinking process. these things are so tough to explain especially to those unfortunate people who have never had such experiences…

    could you please help me in building some ideas on how i could install this kind of a feeling in my friend…

  48. H says:

    Great article. It is very difficult to stay in the present. I’m constantly worried about the future and money, but then on my ‘good days’ money can kiss my ass! My ego is trying to ruin me, especially with impatience. I make a harsh mistake, then i am upset for ages on why i acted that way. However when i become aware that this thought will pass, i feel overwhelmingly different.

  49. Matthew Gilmore says:

    Just today I learned what an ego actually is. Belive it or not, I found myself interested in the subject because of a movie. Its called “Revolver.” It has a lot to do with “killing your ego.” One of the quotes that interested me was about how our only true enemy is our ego, and that all “outside” enemies were made because of your ego. From this, I made many connections in my day to day life were my ego made me say or do something that truly was wrong. I’m very interested in learning more, could you suggest some books on the subject?

  50. Matthew Gilmore says:

    Got my email wrong on the last comment. This one is correct

  51. Mr. X says:

    That ‘revolver’ is a cool movie. And this is a good article… It is really interesting when you take a step back and see how your ego is ruining your life, and how much happier you can be when you don’t let it.

  52. Llewellyn says:

    My own experience is that being aware of the ego leads to you having control of the situations when you’re ego wants to react. I sometimes can stop myself in time by just being aware of my thought processes.
    I’m still busy learning more about myself. Thanks.

  53. Sean says:

    Please write a blog when you attempt to be one with your shadow. Your next step will be the hardest one to take.

  54. nate says:

    this is just what i need to read thanks

  55. Dane says:

    I have become somewhat obsessed with this topic in recent weeks after watching Guy Ritchies Revolver. It gives an excellent account how the ego operates and illustrates some of the ways it controls us. Strongly recommend watching it.

  56. Fidel says:

    Wow, it’s great relief to be aware of your enemy being imaginary and being your self – the ego. Thanks a lot!

  57. johnno boy says:

    You are who you are in private that’s what you are at heart and not what you show in public a lot of time that’s just a show

  58. Ritu Kumar says:

    I have started practicing this very recently and I am glad I came across your article. Thank you.
    I also want to share some more articles that have helped me and request if you can also share such wonderful self improving guides/tips.
    Here is the link for those interested. Thanks!
    http://swamij.com/yoga-sutras-22629.htm

  59. nabeel says:

    hello from London.
    you were the first result when i searched “how to destroy the ego”.
    congratulations on a beautiful blog post.

  60. Lawny says:

    Thanks to Todd and everyone who has posted here! I distinctly remember my childhood present state of mind. My memories of that time in my life remain vividly intact. I remember how little the impact of my external enviroment had on me. I was free. I remember having peaceful clarity about the passage of time and the many exchanges both healthy and unhealthy that was carried with it. I was free because I didn’t belong to any conclusions. I was transient, with rhymatic momentum building. I was nestled in the bossom of the river “Child”, but not for long. My ego was seemingly undeveloped and in hot pursuit of me. Little did I know it would soon catch up to me and begin it’s assimiltion of my true self. My unequipt, uninformed, ignorant true self would soon be in a very damaging fight for it’s life and would later, for many years to come, be layed up in a bed of recovery pinned up against the wall created by the evolving and highly adaptable ego. Meanwhile as I was plotting my way back to health, my ego capitolized on this and gained much ground. My true self was only working at partial capacity, which was a great disadvantage towards any hope of my return. This went on for many years and I continued to stuggled against the confines my own personal and seemingly complex abyss that held many deceptive constructs established by my egos infuence. I fought for the real me with all my might only to recently and finally learn that it is only futile to do so, for it is the energy of battle that this ego is fueled by.

    I am making progress in my, over twentyfive year bed ridden fight for life and that is because I am in the acceptance phase. My ego is part of my human experience and always will be and only when I incorporate the nessary complete acceptance of this reality will I be able to return to the present where I have truly always been.

    I started writing this because I was inspired by your Blog Todd, so thank you. I will say in closing that I am gateful for people like yourself and others that have replied here. I realize, maybe for the first time in my life that I need to meditate in the beauty of the present and make use of vividity of my childhood simplicity. A time in my life when my mortality didn’t hold me hostage. Life without borders or crippling fears. Fear is always worse than what we are afraid of.

    Here is a copy and paste of the above mentioned George burns piece that you wrote in you blog….I loved it so much that I am going to run with it!

    “On Sunday night during the Oscars, they showed a short clip of 100 year old George Burns in which he said “when you get to be old enough, you get to be you again”. What George meant is that with age comes perspective, and towards the end of our physical lives the ego comes to accept its demise. The ‘becoming you again’ is a reference to becoming aware of the authentic self, and you will find many older people speak like this”.

    Thanks again

    • Lesley says:

      I completely identify with what you’re saying… About 6 weeks ago i fell into a major hole of depression… I realized that my fear of death is all really about loss of my ego, but I’m glad I have my life to try and deal with my death… What I KNOW is that we are all part of something much grander than ourselves. This is the TRUTH and I plan to spend much more time getting in touch with that truth, as a previous poster wrote “I honour the place in you in which the entire universe dwells in peace” Namaste :)

  61. [...] of who you are or your value, but it is a big evolutionary step for your sense of self – your ego. The mind hates to change the way it sees itself but it is the only way to let go of the bad [...]

  62. Fran Purdue says:

    How do you discount the superego, and what it makes us do in a short span of a life time. Ego, manifested and controlled would have failed to create Hitler or Einstein. The unrest must exist to create balance in our minds. In a lot of ways letting that part of it turn off makes us listless, uncreative, selfish and boring to others, now this may not be something you want to strive for, that’s okay, but still you have to recognize balance.

    You know Mr. Todd, it’s your name first off, see I can see why you would want to erase the go, your reflection of the name, we are our names, they paint a life-time of colors. It sounds to me like your in an ever changing state, which is good, but it’s bad, because even though you state living in the present has giving you balance, it has not, I am sorry to say this but it has not. Your need to publish your thoughts exercises the super-ego, and that in itself propagates the theory that you can’t stand still, thus formulating therefore a catalyst to the failed professed state of “just being”.

    Wanting to be freed of yourself, during a vacation, well it’s easy, a couple of mai tais or martinis, or a day of sunshine and a very nice sunset. The noise in your head stops, and you can wish away all your imperfect/perfect experiences in life, it’s only natural. It is not reality, reality is finding that you can balance your life daily with humor and anger, but not allow them to reign over you, and to not affect you or your loved ones into running up the stairs with an uzzi.

    You want to rid your ego so you can find your balance, but it is your ego that gives you balance, and without it you can pretty much achieve nothing in this world worth giving, be proud of who you are, but not bloated of self. Be happy with your actions in life, but don’t over do it. Be true to yoursefl, but only if it causes balance in life.

    We have been searching for balance now for a long time, and think it is because we gave it up, somehow our species gave that up by allowing the super conscious to come alive. We evolved, and we opened our eyes to other realities of survivial over 1000′s of years, and while doing this we gave away our sense of wonder, stupid became smart, and smart became paranoid and fearful, and fear brings what?

    So be one, but be many in one, and be egotistical, but be a contributor in action for the good of all.

  63. Jason of Eternity says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for your insight and understanding. I am at a point in my life where I too have seen the ego for what it is, and have learned to actively observe it’s chatter until I become silent.
    It is not easy though, you really do have to be a warrior to no limit as the ego never really seems to completely ‘quit’ per se. Once you drop your guard and get lost in the ‘game’ it comes back as if it never left in the first place.
    Never give up though, this is the key. As we all fight our battle we weaken it’s force blow by blow, refusing to feed the enemy with our Anger, our Sadness, our Pain.
    God bless you all, and may The Eternal Light of The Silent Void Shine Forever upon Your Face.
    Blessed Be.

  64. Hitesh says:

    Very nice article and insights. Thank you.

  65. Curious Carrie says:

    I am very interested in this subject and trying to gain a better understanding and wish to thank you for your article. I do, however, have a question though, and am having trouble finding information and/or an answer to it. What of the feelings/emotions that go along with it? Let’s say for example, you get a negative thought in your head, then you minimize that thought and gain control of it. Okay, good job, but what of the feelings you feel in that moment, be it anger, sadness, pain? One shouldn’t repress their feelings as that would cause future problems I would think, but then you can’t linger on the negative thoughts that bring the emotions either? Confused : /

  66. Marko says:

    Ok, but still…HOW do you actually capture your thoughts and how do you recognize your ego from your true self? I think i need a little bit more instructions on this matter…

    • Mohannad Al-Shareef says:

      First of all you have to recognize that your thoughts are not YOU completely… they are thoughts that keeps on passing over your head… you can either take them or leave them …
      you can recognize the seperation between you and your (ego) when you ignore such a convincing thought that only falls in self interest…

      For example, your self benefit and momental joy is in having an expensive delicious dinner tonight… now here you have two paths.. either to judge this situation against the “what is right” or just follow the thought blindly because you want it! If you followed the second option then you have fed your Ego and followed your wants … but if you took the first option then THE REAL YOU have decided to raise himself up to control this “want” because it is not the right thing to do!

      So clearly you are not your thought! you are someone who had a thought beautifully covered by desires and good short term feelings… BUT decided to not follow it and feed this need, but instead feed a higher and more precious need … which is your real self!

      You raise your self up by not following your wants whenever you like! because the “You” here is not really you … it is a stream of thoughts that does not really originate from your true self, but rather originates from your Ego.

  67. Andy says:

    Great article and nice to see so many interested in minimizing the influence oh ego. Question, I’m very competitive and I like to compete in sports , is that the result of my ego ? Can I be competitive, ambitious and proud without having an ego? It’s confusing, is ego the fuel to drive you to success or fuel to burn you?

    • Paul Thomas says:

      I was competitive at golf and spent most of the time being frustrated because I could only occasionally play to my best. I then thought, why do I want to win? I realised it was to enhance my self image (ego), so that people would praise me for my success and I would feel more secure from that. I now still play in competitions but I truly don’t care whether I play well or not and I now thoroughly enjoy every game (and actually play better!). I realised I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Everyone has an ego (self image), I now think carefully about the reasons why I do things (e.g. compete) and adjust my attitude accordingly.

      For me, success is calm enjoyment of this life. I have found that acceptance of events in real time is the best way to achieve this.

  68. Reading this article was the straw that broke the camels back for me.
    I just reached a new breakthrough in my life, what I would call extreme enlightening. It is an accumulation of lots of philosophical enquiry and psychonautical exploration accompanied by my psychotherapy/psychoanalysis studies. This cosmic awakening underlies all previous ‘breakthroughs’ or awakenings.

    It is completely true, the answer is to kill the ego.
    It actually enriches ourselves more than the ego ever could!
    The more that can embrace natural ego death the more human life turns to true harmony.

    we are all the same. these ‘differences’ people always talk and celebrate are just variations of the same, found on the surface.
    i am we. we are you.

  69. Mohannad Al-Shareef says:

    Great Article,

    I would like to contribute to it by giving you an insight on this topic from an Islamic perspective.

    As Muslims we have been informed 1400 years ago by Allah in Quraan (The Islam Holy Book) that each Human has one being of the Jinns accompanying him, you may refer to him as Saitan. The stream of our thoughts are mixed by Saitan’s whispers (in Arabic Wasawes) and part of it is from your self desires… Saitan is given by Allah the power to intervene with your thoughts and give a sound similar to your own sound to make you think that it is you who is thinking, while it is merely him telling you things.

    Our Father and Mother, Adam and Hawwa (Eve), has descended from heaven because Adam followed the thoughts of Saitan, Saitan told Adam (Translates to Ego spoke to Adam) that Allah has only prohibited you from eating from this Tree maybe because you might become an Angle if you do so! as explained in Quraan.

    That’s why we are requested by Allah in several verses in Quraan to be in the “Faith” Phase… where you stop following your stream of wants that arises from the stream of thoughts which is often mixed by Saitan’s whisperers and actually judge any thought before taking it! and the judgment shall be complying to the light of truth and justice…

    Allah in another verse says that in the judgment day, people in heaven have this conversation with themselves:

    -Then shall some of them advance to others, questioning each other.
    -One of them will start the talk and say: “I had an intimate companion (on the earth)
    -“Who used to say, ‘what! art thou amongst those who bear witness to the Truth (of the Message)?
    -“‘When we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed receive rewards and punishments?’”
    -(A voice) said: “Would ye like to look down?”
    - He looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire.
    -He shall say: By Allah! you had almost caused me to perish;
    -“Had it not been for the Grace of my Lord, I should certainly have been among those brought (there)!
    -Is it (the case) that we shall not die,
    -“Except our first death, and that we shall not be punished?”
    -Verily this is the supreme triumph!

    End of verses.

    Now this being that the man in heaven looks for is his Ego, because he recognized that he would let him lose himself..

  70. Chris Field says:

    After a year using A Course in Miracles, I still routinely let my EGO take over. I am busy visualising stabbing him with a knife, but haven’t moved on from there. I appreciate that this is about calm and continuous meditation before I can come to terms.

  71. Cody says:

    Hey Todd,

    This is going to sound awkward, as I’m technically advising you to try something illegal. But if you are really curious about seeing beyond your ego, there are a few chemical means to accomplish this, in addition to prayer or meditation, which you mention in your article. A potent hallucinogen, for example psilocybin, LSD, or DMT, can sometimes reveal the illusory nature of the ego.

    In addition, Abraham Maslow suggests that perception of the ego occurs when all other more basic survival needs have been met, including social acceptance.

  72. terry says:

    I have been struggling with the whole notion of ego as of late. I am so sick and tired of arguing, hating, complaining, desire…I am just done with ALL of it. Your take on the attempt to abolish ego is excellent and helpful. Love, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude are what I am interested in now. But man EGO is no JOKE! It’s like wrestling with a bear, big, mean and fast. Anyways, keep the faith as I will continue the good fight.

  73. Martha says:

    Yes hi to all, I’ve discovered my Ego to be so annoying, especially when things don’t go my way…I feel my Ego like a hawk waiting to pounce when someones say’s something against all I have said, planned, believe or expect. I will rant and rave, sometimes hold my breath, or cry..I have had enough of my drama, it’s inexcusable as my children are watching and I don’t accept them behaving in this manner, and yet I am no better…Today I found this website, and realize, their are people like me who have the same problem or similar..I try to be in the moment as much as I can, and then it get’s too much to face reality, I try to avoid situations that require my full attention…then I just can’t resist, Ego just jumps out of me telling it how I think things are, by the time I’ve finished talking, I’m either in tears, yelling, or literally screaming the house down, years ago I was a really quiet person who could ignore pursuing issues, but now, I’m like a ragging bull out of control…When I recognize my ego, I near have to run away, imagine that…halfway in a conversation,,then off, I’m gone..cause ego is about to show up and ruin a good social evening..weird…that’s me…

  74. Romy says:

    Wonderful article Todd, thank you.

    For any body interested or wanting to learn more on how to defuse the Ego I can recommend (and these have been helpful for me, personally) the following:

    osho.com
    alanwatts.com
    eckhart tolle.com
    Thich Nhat Hanh

    books: Lao Tzu- The Tao de Ching
    Eckhart Tolle- The Power of Now
    Dan Milman- The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
    Carlos Casteneda- The Fire Within
    Paulo Coelho- The Alchemist

    Movies/Edu-tainment:
    Down the rabbit hole: what the bleep do we know?
    Revolver

    I have been studying and learning about this topic since I was 17 and decided to do a degree in psychology and take up a regular-ish meditation practice because of it. I am fascinated in human behaviour and the collective mind. There is an abundance of information out there and I am of the belief that what is right for you will find it’s way to you, when you are ready. However, sometimes it’s nice when there is some ready made info to tap into!

    Enjoy and love.

  75. Orly says:

    I loved your blog, the analogies and the elegant way you chose to take up the discourse of psychology and spirituality. Observing ones own thoughts is the basic tenet of meditation. And you’ve managed to consisely explain why such a practice is necessary for personal growth.

    It’s nice to know that I’m going better understand the thoughts that are standing in the way of being truly connected with who I am.

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