Western yoga and meditation culture are rife with discussion of the ego. The ego is what holds us back, the ego is getting in the way, the ego is too big, et cetera. If you didn’t dig any deeper, you would definitely assume that your ego is the source of all life’s problems. The truth about your ego is much more encouraging.
Positive Ego Vs. Negative Ego
The truth is that the ego is neither good nor bad; it’s all how we express it. Your ego can express itself negatively and get in the way of your happiness. It can also clear up and express itself positively, giving you a secure sense of self.
When people want to “heal” emotionally, what they really want to is to defeat the cycle of negativity commanding their ego. Ego is simply “I”, not inherently good or bad, so when the negative dominates the ego, it sounds like this inside of your head:
- “I need to lose weight, I don’t like my body.”
- “I’ll never finish that on time.”
- “I will never be able to change that about myself.”
- “I am not good enough.”
- “I’ll never have enough money to buy that.”
When we look at it this way, it’s easy to see why the ego has a terrible reputation. But it’s also easy to see that the word “I” is hardly the problem here.
Positive expression of the ego isn’t the automatic rattling off of affirmations all day long. It’s just the recognition of the self, the internal “I”, as a unique, resilient entity.
A person with a strong, positive ego will turn down a job offer because they know they can find better financial opportunities somewhere else. Hopefully, somewhere where their individual talents would be fully appreciated.
Individuals with a dominant positive ego welcome love. Instead of ruminating on criticisms of the self, they gravitate toward solutions. Their internal dialog possesses plenty of “I”, but less “can’t”, “won’t”, “never”, or “not”.
The ego is not the problem; the way it expresses itself is.
Leave Your Ego Alone
People use singing bowls and sound therapy to heal. They read about the very real benefits it has for stress, anxiety, mood, and even chronic pain. But somewhere inside of the research, opinion pieces, and teacher mission statements, they may get hung up on the promise of “dissolving the ego”.
This is why they don’t get the results they want; they are trying to eradicate or manipulate their entire sense of self instead of healing the broken part - the negativity.
It may feel as though you have such a long way to go and many things to change, but it doesn’t take dismantling a whole structure. You don’t have to build a better identity. Sit quietly, listen to your singing bowl, and as thoughts float in, identify any negativity.
Keep doing this, and you can begin to separate those negative thoughts from the rest and cease identifying with them. And that’s real healing - no ego death needed.