I awoke this morning with a familiar feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach. As soon as I opened my eyes my ego began to point out to me everything that could go wrong. It seems that it’s my ego’s job to keep me in fear of all the pitfalls that lie ahead and to convince me that there’s no way I can avoid them. It took me a good hour before I realized that I am perfectly fine and the fear is not based in reality, but only my ego trying to assert itself.

My ego is a false idea of who I am created by me in temporary ignorance of my true spiritual self. It’s the choice to be separate. I can always tell when I’m in ego. Whenever I’m arguing, reacting defensively, acting like a know-it-all, or in any form of self-pity, I can be sure that I’m coming from my little separated self. My ego is an illusion, but it is so compelling that I can’t help but get caught in it, like a dream I just can’t seem to wake up from.

I heard a good definition of ego -- a huge fortress with towering walls of steel reinforced concrete three feet thick and razor sharp barbed wire strung all around the top built ... around nothing. Isn’t it funny that my ego builds up these elaborate defenses and then someone says something I don’t like and the mighty walls come a tumblin’ down. One tiny little comment is all it takes to reduce my vast defenses into piles of crumbled ruins. This is proof positive to me that my ego is an illusion and has no real power. If ego had any real power wouldn’t I be immune to the comments and actions of others? But it has no power because there is One who has all power and it ain’t the ego.

The problem is not what my ego tells me. The problem is that I believe it. Thus I react in anger and say things I don’t mean. I lie to try and impress you in the false belief that if I can get you to feel good about me, I can feel OK about me. When I focus on everything that’s wrong with the world, I’m in ego, separated from the truth that life is just fine the way it is. My ego is not a bad thing. It simply can’t be trusted. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is "don’t believe your mind, and when in doubt, don’t believe your mind." This is so hard to do!

My ego is like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain pulling the levers. The lights are dazzling and I can’t help but get sucked into the drama. I’m not sure I will ever be completely free, but it’s clear that my desire to recover and my willingness to do what is suggested is slowly but surely leading me out of ego in the direction of my true self.