In many spiritual disciplines it is common for a technique to be used that "quiets the mind" so that the unconscious can surface. This is sometimes referred to as "getting the ego out of the way."

If the ego is something that we have to "get out of the way" in order to have spiritual experiences, then why do we choose to develop an ego in the first place?

asked 14 Nov '09, 19:00

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 14 Nov '09, 22:14

The word "Ego" simply means "I". You could translate Jehovah as "Ego is existence" and Jesus as "Ego is salvation". It is your identity. If you do not like that I, that identity which shapes your experience, you have to transcend it. Transcend = to rise above or go beyond the limits of; to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of; overcome; to be prior to, beyond, and above. This allows you to recreate that ego and in so doing, reshape your experiences.

(09 Apr '13, 14:05) flowsurfer
showing 0 of 1 show 1 more comments

It is the motivator, the desire to be better, stronger, faster, more intelligent, more awake. Without ego there would be no spiritual development! Everyone would be just hanging out feeling fine where we are without caring about advancing. No one would bother trying to get rich so no one would bother trying to advance either their-selves nor society, I don't think we would bother progressing past the stone age without ego. It took ego to create Inward Quest! What if Simon thought I don't want to be known, I can't make an affect on society, I don't need to make an impact everything is cool just as it is, I'm not needed?

What if Simon didn't recognize ego as a motivator, and decided to have this site as no one gets credit or points or badges because that is an egotistical thing? Do you think the site would be as popular?

One last thing it is because of ego this is not full of errors, because I had to edit this a bunch of times until it looked presentable for you to enjoy.


answered 10 Mar '11, 07:03

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 10 Mar '11, 07:10


True, true, true we need that ego here on planet earth. Loved this answer.

(12 Apr '12, 02:30) Paulina 1

The ego is part of who we are as a human being and I don't think it is necessarily about "getting it out of the way" but more about using it as a tool in our physical existence as opposed to letting it use us. Good question, I'd be grateful to hear some more input on this one.


answered 14 Nov '09, 23:37

Michaela's gravatar image


Very good Michaela, use the ego dont let it use you.

(12 Apr '12, 02:32) Paulina 1

As Bono has said it in song. Your ego is not your enemy,treat like an infant child on an eight lane highway on your road to discovery.


answered 15 Nov '09, 12:40

Roy's gravatar image


Good for Bono.

(12 Apr '12, 02:32) Paulina 1

The Purpose of Ego (my current understanding)

The ego self in and of itself is not negative, nor is it something to “get out of the way.” Like your body, your ego self is a tool to help you, who you really are, to stay focused in physicality and to navigate through this time-space reality. The ego self is comprised of our beliefs, emotions and thoughts (in that top down order) and as long as it doesn’t get burdened and overwhelmed with taking on things it doesn’t have the capacity to do, it's a fantastic tool.

Due to this particular reality being one of self-imposed limitations, upon being born into it we were not informed of the totality of our being. Those who don’t know cannot inform the new arrivals of the truth concerning the nature of their being or of true reality. In the same way that, those who don’t feel the love that they are cannot share it because they don’t feel it.

At the time of our entrance into this reality, our birth into physicality, the majority of people already living here were conditioned and led to believe that in order to get what they want, they must try and try. In addition, they believe, because they were taught, through example, that they’re alone and unsupported in that endeavor.

Yes there is the religious idea of God, but that idea places God firmly outside of oneself and furthermore, that kind of God, apparently, needs an intermediary so in my view it’s not the real God. God is available to everyone on the planet, all of the time…

Being unaware that the ego self is but one part of their physical mind and that, in fact there is another part, a higher mind or higher self; most people unconsciously burden the ego self with the job of creating their reality through endless action. And because endless action is the least effective way of creating our reality, when they fail at that they become miserable or depressed and then they proceed to blame all kinds of external circumstances for their failure, thus creating a negative ego self state.

Or for whatever reasons, someone is successful without really knowing why. And now they believe that they’re somehow better or more special than every other person, VIPs or religious leaders for example. So they insist that they are because they really believe that they are; after all they’re highly successful at their game, whatever it is, so they obviously know better than another, and they’re right, sure. Again this is an expression of a negative ego self state.

Perceived success or perceived failure, without being heart centered and knowing who you really are and how reality comes about will lead to negative ego self states. So awareness and knowing are the keys to a happy and truly successful life :)

Once we become aware of our higher mind, higher in terms of vibrational frequency, and we know, because it makes sense, that our higher mind is the part of our being which conceives our future reality. Then our ego self will relax and do the job it is designed to do and nothing more. The ego self is designed to perceive and record (as memory) how things happened and how things are happening.

Understanding that we live in a Universe of vibrational attraction, we pay attention to what’s wanted and we ignore the rest. Through the contrast of what we are living, the ego self says: I like that or I don’t like that (so I ignore it). Thus the purpose of the ego self is simply to make a choice in each now moment; it’s not its job to create the future.

Our now moment choice is made due to the contrast of our life experience and equals our current desire. Each choice is a message or signal which is automatically sent to our higher self. And based upon that feedback, our higher self, instantly and automatically, creates our future reality (within the blueprint template reality.) And then through inspiration, intuition and emotional guidance etcetera, our higher self calls our physical self towards our already existing future reality.

My idea and an artist’s impression which represents the mechanics of our higher self.

And remember that ego self (lower mind) and higher self (higher mind) are only ways of breaking things down in order that our ego self (which thinks in terms of boxes) can see the idea. There’s no real separation between the different parts of our mind; our consciousness can and does work as a synchronous whole, if you as an ego self will allow it to do so.

So really, life isn’t hard unless we make it so by burdening our ego self with something it lacks the capacity to do. Once your ego self realizes and becomes aware of your higher self and once the idea of how your reality is really created makes sense to it, it will voluntarily ”get out of the way” and surrender to the higher self, relax and enjoy doing the job or the work it is designed to do :)


answered 04 Apr '12, 00:17

Eddie's gravatar image



Wise words Eddie I love this.

(12 Apr '12, 02:37) Paulina 1

The ego is an artificial point of reference within which our soul is contained in this reality. This artificial point of reference is supported by the matrix of consciousness.

Take away the support structure by not engaging consciousness and the point of reference loses its grip on the soul.

Translation: maintain inner silence and mind silence long enough and the structure needed to have an ego falls apart leaving a direct connection between the soul and God (which was always there but was being carefully "managed" by the ego)

It sounds all simple to put it down this way. However, for those few (very few) who actually reached the realization that it is so, an entire lifetime was devoted towards the realization of this.

Supposedly, the "energy" within creation has changed allowing more to achieve this realization now.

Only time will tell if it is so.


answered 12 Apr '12, 00:52

The%20Traveller's gravatar image

The Traveller

edited 12 Apr '12, 01:04

But small is the gate and narrow the road(truth) that leads to life, and only a few find it.

(12 Apr '12, 01:10) white tiger

Love your wisdom Traveller.

(12 Apr '12, 02:59) Paulina 1

took me 2 month traveller.

(12 Apr '12, 04:09) white tiger

Congratulations White Tiger. You are among the extremely few in this world to accomplish a direct connection to the living spirit and then exist day-to-day within that connection.
Your accomplishment is very rare indeed.
Thank you for sharing this about yourself.
We should all learn from your example.

(12 Apr '12, 12:37) The Traveller

Christ was exactly Who He said He was.

(12 Apr '12, 17:34) Dollar Bill

@The Traveller - I also love your wisdom and humor in your answer and comment! A lot of depth there. Wisdom is well applied Knowledge. I think that you have found the narrow gate.

(13 Apr '12, 07:13) Dollar Bill

Hi Dollar Bill
Thank-you for your kind words and understanding ;)

(13 Apr '12, 17:28) The Traveller
showing 2 of 7 show 5 more comments

The ego is the touchstone that allows us to integrate and make use of the experiences and insights which shape our thoughts and feelings, whether from every day events or from spiritual disciplines in which the ego is suppressed.

I agree totally that there are benefits to spiritual exercises which require "getting the ego out of the way", but ultimately, the insights we gain are assimilated with the help of the "mediator" ego. Since each person is a self-aware, individual "I", it is the ego that determines how "I" will use the information and insights I have gained.


answered 19 Nov '09, 10:00

John's gravatar image


A beautiful answer I love it.

(12 Apr '12, 02:34) Paulina 1

The Ego's sole purpose is survival. It derives from our earliest ancestors who used it as a necessary tool for survival.


answered 10 Mar '11, 01:52

Paxsecta's gravatar image


Finaly someone that knows what the ego is for. True answer.

(12 Apr '12, 02:40) Paulina 1

Is the ego our sense of individuality? Hmm spell that "indivi - duality"? Decisive duality?

It seems to me that there are three basic parts to me.

  1. Low self - subconscious mind. Repository of memory, belief patterns, automatic responses, AND our connection with the High Self
  2. Middle Self - what I consider the conscious mind. Analyzing, deducing, choosing/judging; the captain of my Ship.
  3. High Self - Source. That which, when I send an image and energy through the Low Self, manifests my reality. My connection with God. Source.

Where is ego in all this? Too often it seems to be a "battle" with the Self. But it is a part of us. I feel a need to integrate it into a harmonious relationship with my total Self. Or is it that my ego talking? !

The ego seems to have many negative connotations. "Your ego got in the way." "You are all ego." (negatively speaking) ego is ALL you are about." Is ego something that blocks our spiritual progress, or something to be integrated into our Self?

EDITED: @White Tiger has a wonderful metaphor comparing the ego to guard dogs, in his comments below that I feel like Incorporating into this answer.

I do have two guard dogs, German Shepherd and a Shepherd Rottweiler hybrid. They have both been trained to respond to my commands. I regularly take pack walks with them on short leashes. At 240 pounds together they weigh 50 pounds more than me and are very strong, but they are trained to accept my commands and walk with me and go where I want to go, not where they want to go. But I must take regular walks and give them commands so they stay bonded with me.

Anne leads Phoenix in back of our home. alt text

I tell them to sit, they sit, I tell them to stay, they stay, I tell them to "leave it", whatever it is, they leave it. They are trained to accept a stranger only if I shake hands with the stranger and therefore I accept the stranger as a friend. They stop barking, but they do watch, carefully.

But when a friend slapped me playfully on the back, they came up quickly. They have their own consciousness. I think the ego is very much like a powerful dog and has about that same degree of self consciousness.

Our life is very peaceful and harmonious. We have never had an intruder. I just like dogs. I like bonding with them, but had never before drawn the metaphor that they can be like the ego. But they are! Powerful, their own mind, dangerous on their own, watchful and protective - but above all need to be trained in the natural pack order to be happy.

Here is Xander, our ShepWeiler and me.

alt text

Dogs (and people?) need leadership and a pack order. A dog who has a strong but loving master who explains the rules and treats when the rules are followed is a happy dog. He walks beside you, not pulling on the leash. A dog pulling on the leash, a dog that barks constantly, a dog that has negative behavior is NOT a happy dog, he feels he MUST do these things, he MUST be the leader because his human leadership is weak and or, mean.

I believe in positive reinforcement, never punishment/negative reinforcement.

Though neither is happy in a leadership role, both dogs and ego want to please. But if the ego is not lovingly, but firmly accepted, trouble ensues.

If I am training and one dog gets a treat for obeying, the dog who did not get a treat will follow the first dog and get a treat also. So one dog trains another.

The spaniels were not trained to sit, initially, but they saw the big dogs getting treats and getting my focus and attention, and they began to sit, also. alt text

Hawaiian Kahunas were fabulous healers. Mend a broken bone in ten minutes. But they did not have their low self/subconscious mind, heal the other person. They had their subconscious mind "teach" the other person's subconscious mind to heal their own broken bone. One ego can be taught by another, when the other is integrated into a whole person. Similarly when one ego becomes angry and crazy, it can cause other egos to do the same. Then we have a mob.

The answer is integration. Not punishment. Not taming. Not killing the ego. It is an essential part of us, it just needs integration, as we all need integration with God, otherwise we are a house divided.

If the pack hierarchy is not observed, we are divided, we can not have a single house. So, what works for me is that I see God as our pack leader, I am next, my wife Anne is third, though she has the understanding that if she feels my rules conflict with God's rules, she is to obey God.

She and I talk about everything. We are together 24/7 and we like this. We usually agree, however on rare occasions we have a tie, then I make the decision. Anne follows and support my decision, because she feels her opinions have been heard. She also watches my back because sometimes when I receive new information, I will, with her support, take a different direction. I greatly value her input.

So White Tiger's metaphor works for me. Through conscious focus and positive feedback, I train my ego to obey, to go where I want to go, but I allow my ego to keep watch. Thus we have an integrated personality. We understand our respective roles toward Unity.


answered 30 Mar '12, 08:31

Dollar%20Bill's gravatar image

Dollar Bill

edited 13 Apr '12, 07:39

ego play is role but it is not always needed. if you have a guard dog in your house you will not let it eat your guest? that guard dog should not lead you, you should lead it. be at peace with it. yes it will still continue to tell you stuff like this person is doing this because of this and that. but before it becomes action take control say wait be still i have a better way. yes i know it is hard for you the dog wants to jump he is ready to protect you. if you are able to succed the dog will-

(30 Mar '12, 15:52) white tiger

see that your way was better and that you are able to work together in harmony. you will not be mad and the dog will not be mad either. both will have make peace in a single house. and you are stronger united then divided then the mountain will move away.

(30 Mar '12, 15:54) white tiger

indivi duality or spirit in duality.

(12 Apr '12, 02:36) white tiger

I enjoyed this answer and ego is a very needed part of self.

(12 Apr '12, 02:44) Paulina 1

of course it is needed with you in control of the ego. not the ego in control of you. there is a big difference between the 2 but the line is very subtil.

(12 Apr '12, 04:08) white tiger
showing 2 of 5 show 3 more comments

Because that's how we are programmed by our environment from childhood. we are programmed to have an ego .. an individaul ruling self. the universal self is blocked. and as we grow it seems just not there ! .. so we now call it our ''spiritual'' self. our hidden self. to us, it became a ghost. we need to awake it and activate it .. just how a little child learns to walk. imagine a 50 years old man trying to walk for the first time. that's we arde doing now. and we keep falling and falling .. but the good part is we didn't give up yet. and I think we will not give up until we start running around :)


answered 14 Nov '09, 21:31

Adel's gravatar image


I know why we developed an ego, but what is the purpose of developing one?

(14 Nov '09, 22:37) Vesuvius

Survival. that's the part that represents our individual existence.

(14 Nov '09, 22:38) Adel

ego is that individaulity of you
that was born at a specific time in place
to resume the evolution of your destiny


answered 05 Apr '12, 18:38

fred's gravatar image


Short and sweet and wise.

(12 Apr '12, 02:59) Paulina 1

Yes! Concise!

(12 Apr '12, 17:31) Dollar Bill

Dollar bill, i'll let you in on what i imagine; that we only have so many breaths to breathe and then our physical vehicle expires, so i try not to waste my words. there is so much yet to learn

(12 Apr '12, 20:10) fred

@fred 1 - your breath is never wasted. Love your Haiku! Your Truth shines in a Zen like way.

(13 Apr '12, 07:16) Dollar Bill
showing 2 of 4 show 2 more comments

Ego itself has no purpose.We work hard to satisfy our ego.Human advancement is because of the presence of ego but the same ego interferes in achieving spiritual goal.


answered 15 Nov '09, 13:15

Basawaraj's gravatar image


i think the ego relates to our free will, distinguishing us from a robotic existence?


answered 19 Nov '09, 09:37

naomi's gravatar image


i think that the ego limit you in your choice. when you have a more wide palet of choice. the fact that you have to go work like a robot show you where ego have lead the society. why some are rich and some are poor. the middle line for every one should be more poor and no more rich every one more equal.

(08 Apr '12, 02:27) white tiger

Good question. the ego is your darkness. it is the part of you made for survival. it is the guard of this physical form. it is the part that you use when you judge someone. it is the duality in you that create distention. when you judge or do stuff that you hate out of ego you are not at peace with your self.

Jesus said, "When you make the two one, you will become the sons of man, and when you say, 'Mountain, move away,' it will move away."

did the staff of moses not swallow the two staff of pharaon.

Jesus said, "Many are standing at the door, but it is the solitary who will enter the bridal chamber."

if one man stand at the door how can he be solitary? he needs to make peace with him self. other wise he cannot enter the kingdom. no darkness can enter the light.

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.


answered 30 Mar '12, 14:45

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger


Well done White Tiger I enjoyed this answer. When two become one. Now there is magic in them words.

(12 Apr '12, 02:52) Paulina 1

What is hate, but our pinching off our connection to God's Love?

(13 Apr '12, 07:19) Dollar Bill

Different people use the word to mean different things. I think the ego is who we think we are and who we think other people think we are. It is the image we see as ourself. An image we try to protect. When we allow ourselves to make decisions from the ego, we allow judgement and fear into our reality. But if we respond to situations while being present in the moment, we eliminate the fears and judgements of the ego that we create/project in our minds.

It is part of the illusion of separation from God and All there is, including everyone else. It is a projection in our mind that turns off when we are present in the moment.

I don't think we choose to create it, it is a natural thing that we do. Maybe that is Lucifer's job, to reflect back to us who we think we are. And since Lucifer was cast out of heaven and give earth as his kingdom and he is a liar, he reflects to us a false self. Lucifer would be a part of the illusion of separateness.

It is that illusion of separateness that allows us to treat eachother in ways that we would not like to be treated. If we truely remember that we are One, then we would treat others as if they were us and also as if they were God. The Bible says to do all things as if unto the Lord.

So to get the ego out of the way is to be present and remember that you are one with God and with All there is.

I think a more modern word for Ego might be Avatar. We create an avatar with which to interact with the world. Until we realize that we are the Avatar.


answered 30 Mar '12, 14:09

Fairy%20Princess's gravatar image

Fairy Princess

edited 09 Apr '13, 12:28

Wonderful answer Fairy Princess.

(12 Apr '12, 02:47) Paulina 1

Thank you Paulina 1

(12 Apr '12, 19:21) Fairy Princess
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