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Is There Room for Ego in Spiritual Practice?

photo: Matt P on flickr

photo: Matt P on flickr

Dear Meli,

I’m currently in a spiritual community where they talk a lot about the ego. Mostly, they talk about how bad it is. I’ve also started reading things about the Law of Attraction, where it talks about the power of thought in attracting what you want into your life. In terms of what I’ve been taught about the ego, this seems like using the ego to get stuff. But I also think that maybe there’s a little bit more to it than that. What are your thoughts on this?

Uneasy About the Ego

Dear Uneasy,

Let me start by saying this: Although it is convenient for the sake of conversation, I think it is tricky to divide ourselves into aspects. We are whole beings, and in healthy-minded people, each aspect is integrated beautifully with the rest of self.

That said, I will utilize the language of aspects in order to answer your question.

The beauty of the Law of Attraction – and all spiritual teachings, for that matter – is that you apply it from wherever you are in consciousness! So yes, for many people, when they discover the Law of Attraction, and how it works, they use it to get things for the ego-self.

The aspect of self we call ego infinitely wants more. More love, more power, more stuff.

If the ego aspect of “me” is in charge of my life, then I am making choices in order to attempt to fulfill the ego’s desires. I would then use the Law of Attraction to get more of what the ego wants.

The problem is that filling these needs is impossible. The ego will always want more.

However, in my opinion, the ego is also an important and necessary aspect of self!

One definition of ego is that it’s part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious. This part of the mind is also responsible for reality testing and maintaining a sense of personal identity.

In other words, without any ego at all, you wouldn’t have a personality self! And you wouldn’t be able to mediate between your “out-in-the-world/personality self” and your “Divine Self/the Truth of Who You Are.”

So it is your ego that makes conscious choices – such as the choice between getting stuff and living a life aligned with your divine or highest self.

I think that as we evolve spiritually, our ego selves get better at surrendering to choices that are aligned most fully with our true divine nature. We start to realize that the wants and needs of the ego self are not where our happiness lies.

I have watched, through the years, as my own use of the Law of Attraction has shifted and changed as I have evolved. I used to “pray for stuff.” Now I almost always, in any given situation,  pray for things like serenity, joy, peace. Or simply whatever is the highest possible good.

I don’t think that using the Law of Attraction for specific things is bad at all. I simply believe that when we tell the Universe exactly what “we” want, we are usually asking for far less good than we will experience if we open to something even greater than we can imagine.

May you find the greatest good available to you in this journey!

Blessings and Love to you in all you do,

Meli

What is the role of ego in your spiritual practice? Share your comments below!

Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at meli@ohmygodlife.com

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4 Responses to Is There Room for Ego in Spiritual Practice?

  1. Cindy January 19, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    Thank you for all your comments on this. I have often wondered about this seeming discrepancy between different approaches to the ego and spirituality. I really like your take on it. Thank you!

    • Melissa Phillippe January 19, 2016 at 11:22 am #

      Yes, there is definitely a discrepancy and it can be hard to navigate it, at times. Thank you for your comment!! 😀

  2. Pete January 19, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    I used to think I was supposed to hate my ego. Now I see that loving my ego, in a gentle compassionate way instead of a narcissistic way, is about the most spiritual thing I can do. Thanks for a great post!

    • Melissa Phillippe January 19, 2016 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Pete! VERY well said! I love this. It certainly is a most wonderful and beneficial thing to give ourselves this sweet compassion. Thank you for saying it so well. :)

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