What is Ego?
Ego can be defined as the pride we feel about ourself. Most of us are egoistic about something – fame, fortune, family, success, work etc. Our ego stops us from identifying with others by creating distinctions. We are born without any name. But as we grow, we start to identify with our name and forget that we are divine.
Causes of Ego
Wealth and knowledge are the two factors that boost one’s ego. Successful people who are knowledgeable and wealthy need not be egomaniacs. To reduce their ego, they can practice meditation, chanting mantras, visiting holy places, reading scriptures and worshiping God. Saints and enlightened people master their ego by overcoming the “I” feeling.
Dangers of Ego
An uncontrolled ego can cause destructive emotions like hatred, anger and arrogance. A bloated balloon ego only causes unhappiness and loss. A beautiful woman who is proud of her looks, feels shattered when age takes away her beauty. A rich person who suddenly loses all his wealth is also similarly miserable. In fact, the psychological hurt of unhappiness can affect an egoistic person more than physical pain.
Attitude of Saints
Saints relinquish their ego by dedicating everything to God. The feeling of possessing nothing gives them freedom and bliss. In fact, they think they are not the doer, but God is the doer.
Become More Humble
We need to be cautious about the “I” feeling, as it can turn knowledge into ego. To progress spiritually, we need to eliminate the ego. To do this we need to become aware and own up to our drawbacks and defects. We should also refrain from pointing out other peoples’ imperfections. We should learn to show humility towards other people and consider them as God’s creations.
Talking About Oneself
Our ego becomes bloated when we expect or demand praise and respect. People who talk non-stop about themselves, their achievements and feelings are attached to their body. To reduce this attachment, we should refrain from talking too much about ourself. This step controls the ego. We should also introspect more to get awareness about how we react to events and situations. Selfishness boosts the ego, while selfless service makes us more humble.
God is the Doer
We should not take ownership of our accomplishments and deeds, but dedicate them to God. We can reduce our ego by offering all our actions to God. Do not try to take credit from others. Think that all your wealth and property belong to God, and that your are just the caretaker. Decrease your love for yourself to decrease the ego. Unconditional love of God and His creations is required to overcome the ego.