Ego Death

The three biggest fears in life: exams, public speaking and death. Of them, the final is probably the most acute. As that fateful hour approaches, everything we worked so hard for is snatched away, throwing our entire sense of identity and purpose into question. On a subtle level, however, we are regularly subjecting ourselves to this disturbing experience. How so? The world teaches us to base our sense of identity and self-worth on transitory, external and artificial considerations. When we identify with our abilities, facilities and positions of responsibility, then we set ourselves up for crisis. Why? Because the undisputable nature of this world is that such things will almost always fade away over time.

We pride ourselves in our ‘unique’ abilities – but then we witness our own ineptitude, or find someone far more qualified and competent. Painful. We find comfort in karmic gifts like beauty, physique, learning and wealth – but the waves of time callously cause them to eventually crumble. Painful. We feel valuable because of our reputation, influence and position in society – but everyone has their day, after which we all have to make way. Painful. Constant change is the underlying theme of the material phantasmagoria – its unstoppable (cannot be checked), unpredictable (will happen at any time) and uncontrollable (could occur in any way). Thus, we suffer a subtle ego death every time we falsely identify with the temporary.

Thus, wisdom teachers continually remind us to focus on our eternal, unchanging, ontological identity. As spiritual beings, our true ego lies in being a selfless servant. Everything we receive in the journey of life is simply a facility and detail in pursuance of this, with any given situation always offering a unique opportunity for selfless service. In such spiritual consciousness, all anxieties, fear and dissatisfaction disappear. You may have the experience of coming home in the evening after a day ‘in the world.’ Surrounded by our closest family and friends, we can kick back, relax and be ourselves – no artificiality, no acting, no masks. Here we feel completely comfortable, safe and natural. Imagine the satisfaction, joy, and sense of fulfilment we can experience if we live each day with the clear consciousness of who we really are… spirit souls and selfless servants. That’s the ultimate in ‘being yourself.’

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