What is Ego
Ego comes out of human nature. To be a human is to live a story. Living to a story is hard work, and stories are not always real. So we evolved several tools to keep the spirit driving a story. In other words: Ego is the sheepdog keeping your essence within the boundaries of a story.
Release the Dog!
I love how humans get so entwined, en-wrapped, and finally entrapped into a story. Taoism teaches to let go of ego.
As a Taoist, I threw ego on the surgery table long ago to dissect and play with it. In the end, I kept it, let it play about since it is part of our nature. Ego can be the source of some entertainment, to help keep life interesting. But Taoism does teach to remove self-centering behaviors. Is it the full game to fully let go of the ego? People often mistake the end game to be the full game. In fact, in our lives, we have a long way to go before we reach the end game when we do indeed release ego.
It’s a question of timing and perspective.
Taoism does indeed teach how to remove ego, and many Taoist practices exist for just this reason.
But that isn’t quite right. Don’t confuse the destination with being the path. Within the path of living, Taoism teaches one how to accept your nature. Part of our nature is the ego. So while physically alive, we should also come to terms with this dogged herder of our stories as an aspect of the living experience.
In Taoist practice, when one “sheds the bones,” a Taoist will finally fully wash off all the glue that holds the spirit to the bones of our stories. However, until that point of full release, a Taoist allows ego to play a bit, as it’s part of our very nature. Instead, at first, a Taoist learns how to live their life without that sheepdog in control of our life.
The initial lesson to learn to live “ego-less” initially means learning how not to let it only control your life.
Once embracing this, it then becomes possible to go further. Leave behind the burdensome stories holding you back from traveling in spirit.
In the West, some would jump to the assumption this means only ideas like astral projection. It means being able to live selflessly, sharing fully in life, going places the body cannot, to laugh when the thunder rumbles and to truly fly in life by embracing the light of any new challenge.
So the path of letting go of ego opens up amazing practices. But it’s best to leave possibility undefined, without us forcing our life stories. When done openly, this process is the entrance to the more extensive universe, while still being able to embrace oneself.