The Ego As Blind Navigator
I never thought of the ego as something that has to do with our thinking, so that is an interesting point that you make. I tend to see the ego as something real within us that is vying for control. A kind of hunger that is always looking for something…
You identify the ego with thinking, which is interesting, because I think there are real limits to what the ego can understand. It’s like the ego is on a short leash… it can’t see beyond thinking. In this sense the ego is half blind, which probably explains why it can’t lead the ‘returning home’ that you describe happening in meditation.
I don’t really understand much about meditation, but I can really relate to the need to cast off the ideas or thoughts of the ego in order to strengthen ourselves and get to the root of things. I guess that the process of stopping and focusing (as happens in meditation) can help us control the ego by allowing us to return to our senses and our intuition.
Having said all that, describing the ego as thinking can be somewhat of a paradox… thoughts are supposed to be connected to awareness, and in this way, the ego can be seen as a small island of awareness within a much larger sea of unawareness.
We are surrounded by forces that we don’t understand and the ego tries to make sense of it all and to give us some measure of control over things. I think that in this way the ego operates as a positive force in our lives.
At the end of the day the ego is our companion, it walks with us on the journey of life, functioning as a compass, or a navigator, which can be very helpful in sailing the seas of life.
I think the important thing regarding the ego is to be careful that we don’t lose the connection to our natural instincts and to our intuition. We shouldn’t allow the ego to become an impenetrable barrier that separates us from life; rather, we can take it as something transparent that we can shape, paint and give colour to.