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On the trail of eternity

The Ego - the Identity of Separation and Negativity

By on 19 October 2020

Fear, separation, power: the ego

The little I, born out of fear and separation

The ego is the "little I", the identity of fear and separation. It is the existence in the minus, in the "non-life", namely in a life of negativity, full of negative feelings like fear, mistrust and lack. Compulsively phobic, it has no confidence, but sees outside itself only dangers and "enemy territory".

This article discusses the following topics related to the ego:

  1. The ego as the identity of separation
  2. The Ego as Identity of Power
  3. Negativity and the ego: denying and lying
  4. The perpetrator and the victim ego
  5. Overcoming the ego and the path to freedom

1. the ego - the identity of separation 

The birth of the ego and the fall from wholeness

In the womb, the unborn life experiences "paradisiacal" conditions, because it has everything it needs: Warmth, security, closeness, constant nourishment ...

At birth, however, it is forcibly thrust out into a harsh world. Pressed through a dark, narrow channel, it loses its breath. This is followed by an unstoppable fall into an empty room and a hard landing on a cold cot. It may even be lifted upside down and given a slap on the buttocks until the first panic-stricken breath.

Protective and adaptive layers

After that, it continues: Thus, the newborn child experiences existential feelings of fear and lack for the first time: hunger, abandonment and the fear of falling short. The little I grows up and learns: Not all circumstances are favorable. The more negative experiences it has, the stronger its feeling becomes: "I am all alone here and no one is helping me ...". Soon protective strategies emerge such as: "Don't show fear!" And in general: "Hide everything that is problematic, fight for yourself ...".

Fear as the root of egoism

Just when the person still feels small and scared inside, it wants to appear as big, strong and dangerous as possible. It is also not afraid to take what it can from others. After all, it has to look out for itself if and because it lacks the confidence that it will be given what it needs.

Thus, the ego becomes an identity of separation and imagines itself to be all alone in the world. Next, it falls into the illusion of having to be strong and powerful in order to protect itself.  

2. the ego - the identity of power 

Negativity: fear, drives, power and lies

Power from the unconscious

The ego is in lack and negativity and also draws its raison d'être from negativity. It feeds on it and thus creates more and more negativity for man himself and also for his environment. In order to be able to rule unhindered, however, the ego hides in the shadows, namely in the unconscious, and manipulates the human being from there through the drivesvia negative persuasions or fear.

Access to consciousness

Because it lacks the confidence that it will get what it needs, it wants power in order to be able to take and rule. And to expand its power, it also instrumentalizes consciousness. By poisoning it with lies and fear, it abuses its capacity for strategic planning, which becomes "cunning" to advance selfish goals. Also, the mind is abused to justify evil deeds afterwards ("The world is so unjust, therefore I must ..."; see The Rise of the Serpent and the Ego).

The former animal instinct of self-preservation

With the help of consciousness, the ego quickly grows beyond mere self-preservation. For it never has enough, but always wants more: more resources, more money, more power, and its greed knows no bounds.

Domination through devaluation and condemnation

Thus, the ego acts as a merciless shadow ruler who is immediately on the spot with the evaluation, accusation and condemnation. And because its judgment is harsh and merciless, it also cannot possibly see the problem in itself. Rather, it is also the source of shame and fears punishment, so that it rather projects the hated weaknesses and characteristics outward and assigns guilt to all others (see The Projection of the Shadow).

Toilets in the London Dungeon (2010)

3. the ego and negativity: lying

Denial of the greater, materialism and death

No trust

Because the ego itself has no love and no trust, the ego also denies a greater whole. Rebellious and unbending, it refuses to believe in a good and all-encompassing consciousness ("Father"), let alone a life that survives death ("Mother"). [S. Father and Mother, Spirit and Matter.]

Death as a sting

Instead, it lives as a detached identity that has lost touch with the greater and life itself. Therefore it is also abysmally materialistic, believes only what it sees and rules over facts. Its greatest power is the fear of death, which (however only) cancels the material existence.

Negative and destructive objections

Hilma af Klint, Pigeon no. 8 (detail)


Thus, the ego works insidiously via covert appeals and destructive whispers that subtly and unrecognized unfold their corrosive effects.

They are lies and devaluations which lead to self-pity, defiance, anger and revenge.

Examples of destructive pleas:

  • The world is dangerous, I HAVE to fight back and see that I don't fall short. Nobody helps me ... I am alone here ... Nobody loves me ... I always do everything wrong! The others are mean and I am the victim. 
  • You deserved better ... failed again ... are worth nothing. You can't be loved. You are nothing and can do nothing. Yes, feel the pain, feel the despair ...! That's it. This is your life!

Violent rebellion against any knowledge of the truth

Negativity as the ego's basis of existence

In addition, it is aggravated by the fact that the ego resists with all its might against any realization of the truth, because it lives on negativity, separation and lies, and it knows that trust and love mean its end.

Negativity as a source of energy

As mentioned, negativity can give energy on the one hand and a sense of meaning on the other. Thus, anger, rage and indignation can drive the person and cause him to rise from his lethargy and feel alive again. If this is the case, then the person may even be "addicted"tonegativity.
Behind this is precisely the ego, which will never voluntarily give up the field, on the contrary:

Resistance of the ego through more drama and unhappiness

If the ego encounters resistance, it will try to stage even more negativity to underline and consolidate its importance. It will now more than ever circumstances in such a way that negativity and pain become prevalent again (by activating unconscious behavioural patterns that stimulate the downward spiral anew).

The dramas and chaos are meant to make his message unmistakably clear, which is: "No! None of this is true! There is nothing good! ONLY I - am your only identity! I ALONE am your life!"

Dragon Snake (Cave in China)

Dragon figure in a stalactite cave in China

Exit from negativity

"Reprogramming" through constructive content and statements

It is not easy to get out of negativity and get rid of the ego, because negativity is a strong source of energy. 

It is important to perceive these objections in the first place and to expose them as lies. In a next step, one can practice to replace them persistently and consistently with positive contents and statements such as: "You are loved!" Or: "Trust that you will always receive what you need"

[S. How do I concretely steer my life in a positive direction?]

4. the perpetrator and the victim ego

The male and female side

Preliminary note: Both man and woman have both!

The ego has two different sides, a "male" and a "female". It is important to note that both man and woman have both masculine and feminine personality parts. The distinction between "male" and "female" is not about gender stereotypes, but rather about creative primordial energies. This includes on the one hand active-initiating forces ("male") and on the other hand passive-receiving and realizing ("birthing") forces ("female"). [S. Male and female, the two primordial forces of creation.]

The perpetrator ego (male-active):

Lust for power and consumption

The perpetrator's ego includes those characteristics that are commonly attributed to the "ego": It ruthlessly and violently takes what it can. It takes life and strength from others and ruthlessly overrides everything that stands in its way with one goal: to exercise power.
However,the (male-active) perpetrator ego in turn has a male anda female side:

  • Male: Power through oppression and violence ("Black magic").
  • Female: Power through seduction and delusion ("White magic").

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf - Victim and Perpetrator

The victim ego (female-passive): pleasure in suffering

Hidden pride and satisfaction in suffering

The victim-ego corresponds more to the "female", namely the passive-tolerating side. The victim-identity gains secret vitality and meaning from suffering(see also The Pain Body). It feels a certain pride, satisfaction or even pleasure in suffering, because it feels"more exalted" than the perpetrator. In fact, the victim-ego can hide itself better and looks "nobler" at first sight.

Desire for negativity and outrage

But the victim ego, like the perpetrator ego, takes life and power from others. It manipulates by "sacrificing" itself. It also drags others down into its negativity and builds itself up at their expense. It also feasts on the suffering of others.
The victim identity also has a feminine and a masculine side:

  • Feminine: passive-tolerant suffering such as powerlessness, depression and illness.
  • Male: passive-aggressive behaviour such as underlying anger, aggression and blaming.

Perpetrator and victim are not always clearly separated.
Often the victim later becomes
becomes the perpetrator.

5. overcoming the ego

The ego - one's own death

Dark ruler in the shadows

In the traditions, the ego is represented as a dark power or by a tyrannical ruler who oppresses the people. Examples of this are Gilgamesh in his younger years or the Pharaoh.
It takes death courage to look the ego in the face as one's own shadow ruler. Behind the ego, moreover, are hidden the hated weaknesses and existential fears, indeed a diffuse fear of death, coupled with the fear of losing everything and dying a lonely death.

Overcoming death with the courage of death

Compassion and warm-heartedness can recognize the fear behind the power behavior and thus disempower the ego. Whoever knows that he is loved and that he is forgiven, the ego no longer has power over him. He who has come to know love, which is stronger than death, no longer fears death. He can love himself and others and let them live.

George and the Dragon by Hilma af Klint

The dying of the ego: an inner dying

There is only one way to overcome the ego: It must "die." But with it a part of one's own life and the old existence of power and vanity must die, an experience which goes to the substance.

Hilma af Klint, Parcifal Series, Group 1, No. 3

Starve the ego: no more negativity!

The ego must not get any more nourishment, which means: no more negativity!
Therefore, negative thoughts and feelings must be persistently replaced by positive ones. Instead of complaining, gratitude can be practised, and even negative memories can be transformed into positive ones. This also happens by directing one's gaze to the good that one has experienced.

Practice and consistency

This doesn't always work straight away, but rather has to be practised again and again and consistently followed through. In this context, it is important and helpful to find new positive sources of energy (see How do I concretely steer my life in a positive direction?).

The integration of the shadows


As the person takes responsibility for their urges, feelings and thoughts and also loves themselves in their distress, the shadows are integrated. Through warm-hearted compassion, the person can reconcile with everything difficult and painful, forgive himself and others. This is already vividly depicted in Sumerian mythology in the confrontation with the angry ruler of the underworld.

Loving, comforting and re-educating the inner child

Finally, the way to perceive, love and comfort the inner child in its distress is to look at the difficult with the gaze of love: "Yes, some things were difficult, went wrong ... But from today it will be different!".
In this way, the person can take responsibility for himself and his feelings and make sure that he is well.

New constructive tasks for the little I

The loving consciousness that holds on to a better truth can give the little I new tasks, for example as a guardian against danger and for the good, attention for personal limits or also as a warning voice for justice.

The road to freedom

From bondage to the promised land

The goal is for man to overcome his ego. This struggle is symbolised in traditions by the hero's fight against the dragon.
Pharaoh, who enslaved the people of Israel in Egypt and forced them into servitude, is also an image of the ego. The path out of bondage first leads through the desert (see The Hero's Path). On this path, the drive is "starved out" and thus the tyranny of the ego is put to an end by breaking its power over man.

Through dying to life

Only with the dying of the identity of separation can the human being find the connection to the greater identity of love. This is the self. In it dwells love, trust, security, responsibility, reconciliation, peace and abundance.

Thus man attains freedom and can enter his promised land: dominion in his own life. With access to the greater, he has gained eternal life and wholeness and is thus holy or "sacred".

Hilma af Klint (detail of dove no. 8): Killing the dragon

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