Here I am using “negative ego” as a term, I am not using “negative” as an adjective to define ego. The ego is basically the “I” reference in our physicality, and inherently it’s essential for our physical existence to have a structure, meaning and perspective.
The problem is basically with the negativity that creeps into the ego structure owing to garnering negative perception. With time, the ego structure keeps growing in the strength of its negativity to the point where it acquires a very powerful standing in your being. It becomes an “entity” that has a voice of its own, it’s like a negative person living inside you.
It’s very normal to take this “negative ego” to be who we are, and this becomes very dangerous because now we start protecting this structure in us – we become attached to it.
We fear its dissolution, we defend it, repair it, attract people who can keep fueling it and basically keep away from anyone who might cause it to be brought down (have you noticed a part of you that just hates this whole “alignment” process and basically wants to defend its right to be negative).
Dissolving the negative ego is one of the most challenging experiences one goes through during the process of alignment, it’s much more challenging that the release of “past” negative energy accumulation in our body/being. The reason it’s challenging is because we take ourselves to be the negative ego and so its dissolution feels like our own dissolution, or a psychological suicide – it’s literally a death of a certain personality in us, a certain identity that we took to be who we are.
And the fact is that only after the dissolution of a large part of the negative ego do we start glimpsing that it’s not who we are – there is a lot of joy in this realization, but the process of allowing the dissolution of this negative ego, till this point, is a work of understanding. Without proper understanding it’s really easy to hold onto to this negative ego, and keep defending it as who you are. It’s tricky business because the “negative ego” becomes such a strong identity in your brain that it starts protecting it as a necessary part of survival, and anything that’s threatening its dissolution is taken to be the enemy.
It’s so easy to see this in people (especially the intellectual ones), how they come up with some really clever arguments to defend the presence of the negative ego, for most others the argument always is that “it’s too damn tough to let go of it”.
What drives the negative ego?
The part in you that always finds a way to be unhappy is the negative ego, period. The negative ego can’t be happy for long even though it does promise you that it will be happy if only it has “——-” (fill in the blanks). Actually, the negative ego clings to the desire produced in the moment, and uses it as a means to feel even more unhappy by stating that “I don’t have this, and I won’t be happy until I have this”. So the desire by itself is not the problem, the problem is that the negative ego clings to it and makes it into a new reason for being unhappy – in fact, it also starts feeling negative about the desire, it starts doubting the desire and uses it as a means to proclaim unworthiness delving into throes of self-pity, blame, resentment, anxiety and anger. I am sure this is a good enough description for you to see this entity in you – it’s so evident and its behavior is the same in all the minds.
The negative ego is fueled by your identification, your attention, your interest, your belief and your servility towards it. Without your identification, it can’t sustain itself because it’s just a “thought force”. The deal is that you can’t change the negative ego into a positive one, you just need to dissolve it and the natural wholeness of your being comes to the front. The negative ego can put on a pretence of being positive for a while, but anyone who has an iota of awareness can see through this charade – you can sense the fear behind the show of positivity. Since the very structure of the negative ego is based on lack and fear, it can’t ever be positive, not for long. The only way towards freedom is to dissolve its force in you to the point where it’s influence becomes “zero”. This process will take time, and it can feel like a real war in your mind for a while, and it can be tiring – however the more understanding/awareness you have, the faster you allow the dissolution to be.
There can be a few surprises where you feel really certain that you are done with the negative ego only to be struck with a new episode of its “emergence” triggered by some events or some thought – you can feel flabbergasted by its intensity, and wonder if you will ever be free of it. But the deal is that when it really done, it’s really done – until then it will keep emerging. At some point you will be stable enough to not be shaken up by its emergence and you can deal with it quite easily – when you reach this point you feel a sense of “power” within you, and it’s what I call a place of inner stability. When you lack an inner stability, when the negative ego is in the foreground, you “become” it – it’s just like being possessed, and this causes you to start believing that this is who you are, thus creating a cycle of identification and reinforcement. People who have some awareness can always see the “real you” (or the possibility of you) below the surface of the negative ego, this is because we always carry the vibration of our “higher self” (or ideal self) within us which is evident to anyone who is sensitive to it – when you sit alone with yourself you can also sense this ideal self within you, like your inner being that just feels submerged in the layers of the negative ego.
Identifying the negative ego
The most important requirement to start dissolving the negative ego is for you to identify it in your mind. As long as you take yourself to be the negative ego it’s not easy to dissolve it, because you will constantly keep defending it, protecting it, repairing it and pampering it. What feels like your “ideal self” is actually your true self, there is no two ways about it, and this is the self that comes to the foreground when the negative ego dissolves. So any part of you that does not feel congruent with your sense of your ideal self is part of the negative ego. It takes some brutal honestly to really start seeing the negative ego for what it is.
Another characteristic of the negative ego, that you can identify it by is that it’s never driven purely by love mostly because it’s rooted in “lack” and love is a loss of lackful-ness. Under the influence of the negative ego, everything is made into a means to an end, a possession, a way of self-enhancement, an achievement, a means of approval/acceptance, a means of entertainment, a means of security etc, and it’s not long before it brings this tendency even to the purest forms of love. Love, in its true form, is the only feeling which goes beyond the survival mode and it’s the most liberating feeling because when you are in love there is no “negative ego” involved – it just feels like the real you. It’s just that, it’s not long before the negative ego creeps in and basically corrupts this love in some way owing to its sense of lack. It need not even be love for a person, it could be love for a body of work, for a vision, for a desire etc, the purity of it is destroyed when it’s infiltrated by the negative ego and it becomes more or less artificial, losing its sense of depth. A work done from love has a depth that can never be achieved by a work done as a means to an end. When you love someone for who they are without the need for possession it has a completely different depth to it. The negative ego will convince you that it’s impractical to live a life driven by love, and when you buy into this argument you basically sign up for a life of drudgery and deadness that just starts eating into you with time no matter how hard you try to cover it up with distractions.
Actually, the negative ego is really easy to identify, it’s just that in many of us it’s in such a force that we are totally taken up in it; we never consider stepping back and observing it for what it is. It’s a heavy baggage on your being to contend with the constant resistance of the negative ego. The momentum of the negative ego causes you to fear it and you would rather give in to it rather than dis-identify from it – it’s like giving in to a bully out of the fear of being beaten up, it’s really no different. A lot of us claim that we are bullied by our mind, and it’s very true considering the fact that the negative ego is like “another person” within us, just that this person runs on the fuel of fear. Your true self, or your inner being, runs on love, that’s all that drives it and it doesn’t need love, it is love and it is self-sustaining. The negative ego constantly “needs” love, approval, security and compassion from the outside, and it’s always on a blame game routine.
We are so taken up by the negative ego in our society that it’s almost considered “stupid” to have an integrity or an innocent honesty – being manipulative, shrewd, calculating and cold are considered worthwhile traits to imbue, it’s called “learning the ways of the world”, it doesn’t speak much about such a world. This is one reason why people perceive it as being dangerous to be “innocent”, because the sense is that the world is filled with people ready to exploit your innocence – this obviously causes us to become even more closed, creating a strong fortress of negative ego. The only problem is that a negative ego can only attract more negative egos in your reality, there is no getting around it. We desire a reality filled with people of integrity and innocence, but we are unwilling to have the courage to first be that ourselves (you can’t attract what you are not being) – if not outside, atleast within you align with honoring your innocence, stop trying to be so “cold” and calculative. When you see innocence, and honesty, in others honor it, instead of trying to exploit it to your benefit or putting it down – a lack based, and cynical, mindset is the hallmark of a negative ego.
Disintegrating the negative ego
Poison for the negative ego is when you are no longer identified with it – it takes time, and it’s a war in its own right, a war between your inner being and your negative ego. Just that the way of the inner being is the way of a peaceful warrior – it wins by “allowing” fully. The mind feels like a battlefield for a while when you start disengaging from the negative ego – emotional blackmails, stark threats, projected doom are the ways in which the negative ego will try to pull back your identification, it will want to survive at all costs and the only way it can survive is by pulling your identification. Of course, the moment you become aware of the negative ego is basically its death knoll, this awareness ensures that you will see it for what it is even if you become pulled in it by it – with time you will be able to see through most of its gimmicks to the point where you are no longer taken in by it. Awareness comes from understanding and honest observation, and it’s the only force that can free you of the grip of negative ego. An important understanding is to realize that the dissolution of the negative ego does not happen through “fighting it” but by allowing it fearlessly without identification – if you fight it by trying to suppress it or hating on it, it just fuels it indirectly.
When you allow the momentum of the negative ego, in you, to dissolve (through the state of allowing), you will start seeing glimpses of your inner being come to the forefront. Initially they are just temporary glimpses and it leaves you with a sense that may be it’s not you, that it’s just some “experience” of goodness, but with time you will sense this inner being becoming you (it was always you to start with) in this physical expression, with no “gap” – it no longer feels like there are two of you, you just feel unified and whole. This is an end of conflicted behavior and resistance, allowing a harmonious expression to follow. Once you start getting a glimpse of your inner being coming to the forefront, the negative ego can feel even more suffocating, and it’s a good thing, because it allows you to let go of it more easily. You must understand that it’s pure “physics” that this force built over years will take time to ebb away, however, the advantage is that without your identification it burns away in short time (an approximation would be that it would take 4-6 months to sense inner stability and after that some more months to see a total dissolution) since it’s not supported by your life-stream as it were. Of course, if you keep identifying with the negative ego, it just takes more time to dissolve it – so it’s also a question of attitude.
It’s not an easy journey but it’s a journey that you can’t avoid for long because there is bound to come a point where the negative ego hits the threshold of imbalance, creating suffering which directly triggers the need for growth. When I say it’s not an easy journey I just mean that it can be physically fatiguing to deal with this intense play of energy (the negative ego has a strong force) within you, to go through a period of feeling a bit “dysfunctional” because you are in a limbo between the negative ego and the inner being, to see several parts of your external reality (that were fueled by the negative ego) dissolving, to deal with the fear of uncertainty created by being in this limbo. Frankly, this journey is one of the best adventures you can ever be on, it’s something you wish you could avoid when you are going through it but something you know you didn’t want to miss when you are done with it. It leaves you a different person.