In some circles, the ego gets a bad rap. We are advised to transcend the ego – and everything will be better. Tarred with the epithet “false self,” the ego can be dismissed as the source of all our problems. Can we cut the ego some slack?
Let’s give a shout out to our egos for excelling in the important work of keeping us all alive. “Well done, good and faithful servants.”
Granted, there are many teachers who are quick to say the ego is not bad – it’s just insufficient. Our ego is very good at navigating the world – it’s just not that great when it comes to other things that really matter – like comprehending mystery, ambiguity, paradox, love.
Cynthia Bourgeault’s metaphor for the ego as like the binary operating system of a computer is compelling.
As I see it, the real work lies not in transcending our egos (as though that were possible), but in not being restricted to engaging with reality only in binary terms.
It’s also about not thinking of the faces we present to the world as the entirety of our being.
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