Freedom is "to be free IN all conditions..."
It is NOT "to be free FROM any of them!"

"The Integrated Yawning and Stretching Technique" or "AuraPuri"

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"Putting an end to the alter ego" instead of "Killing the ego"


Steve: How come, in certain spiritual circles, that many consider the ego to be "a good for nothing?" Some even say, that in order to be who one really is, or to become who one actually should be, one has to kill one's ego.
But what is "ego?" What is it actually? 
Is it who I am not, or is it who I actually am
If I have an ego, should I really be killing it if it possibly identifies who I am? 
Or, suppose I have to kill it, where can I find it, so that I can kill it? 
I'm sure we are not meant to put an end to our physical existence, so what is it then what we are supposed to kill?  

Wim: There's nothing wrong with ego per se, so killing one's ego is not really what has to happen! Let me explain... 

Steve: Hold on Wim, you were saying, "ego per se," what does that mean? 

Wim: Per se literally means "in itself", "an sich", "by itself," and that self is...: you – the authentic real and unadulterated you, the unconditioned being who you were from your moment of conception and who you still are!
What you are not – actually never were – is how you over time came to be identified and characterized by people other than yourself... of course quite likely with good intentions or... perhaps... maybe not! 
Perhaps others identified you the way they did for their own reasons, with their own personal agendas, for their own benefit.
Could it be that others than yourself have been attempting to shape you to their liking, maybe even to their own likeness
Could it be that thus an alter ego(1) was created around you – but an ill fitting one at that, however much it was made to stick? 
Could it be that you subsequently became so solely identified as that alter ego that you in the end learned to identify yourself according to how you were identified by others? 
Isn't it so that eventually the repeated adulterations and identifications by those who wanted you to "change yourself" according to their wishes, caused you to give up and give in, so that you eventually surrendered yourself to such an extent that you in the end also came to identify your "self" as that with which you were so repeatedly identified? Hence the feeling that this alter ego feels so jarringly out of place! 

Steve: That sounds surprisingly right, although... I never thought of it that way. 
Maybe that explains the negative feelings I experience when I feel so deeply hurt by certain judgments and personal remarks directed at me by others. Although… when I express those feelings, I've often been told that it is my pride or my need for self-victimization that is showing... or that my "ego is acting up"... and then I'm usually made to understand strongly that that is the very ego I'm supposed to kill.

Wim: Whereas in fact those negative feelings and sensations that you are talking of, might have less to do with undue pride, unwarranted hurt and playing the victim, than with you fighting this "ill fitting alter ego" I was talking about, that pseudo-identity, that illusive entity that for a long time had been projected onto you by others and which you over time – under plenty of stress and duress – were made to adopt as your "self" while it actually was no more than a "pseudo-self." 

Steve: So, these negative feelings and sensations of resistance that I have when I feel I'm not being seen for who I am, when I am not being accepted as I am, when I am not being treated as an authentic and unique human being, they are OK then? You are saying that they come from a natural and to be expected resistance to the – how did you put it? – adulteration that I was subjected to for such a long time… probably from the beginning of my life?!

Wim: Yes. Let's look at it in more detail. 
People who have trouble with your ego, actually see two layers in you that they object too, but they've piled those layers up into one heap and call it your ego. One layer is the unique being that you are, the one they wanted to alter to their liking and likeness, while the second layer is your resistance to that adulteration. So your subsequent natural resistance to their initial attempt to adulterate you, gets treated as an additional inadequacy on your part. Your natural objection to their original mis-characterizations and mis-identifications gets judged as an additional inappropriate unwillingness or inability on your part to be shaped and molded by them. 

Steve: In other words, in addition to the attempts to identify me as what I am not and what I should be, I now also get identified with my objection and resistance to their initial adulteration. Instead of my natural objection being recognized as a necessary urge to remain myself, an unavoidable reflex that I couldn't even not display, my natural resistance is now treated as further unappreciated behavior.

Wim: Right. I believe that everyone has that initial natural resistance, and rightly so. Even those who appear to have submitted themselves unresistingly to social and societal pressures not to be who they authentically are, have hidden within them and waiting to be released, underneath the appearance of submission, a nigh unsuspected layer of appropriate resistance that may for the time being remain unnoticed or unrecognized. But to get back to the question of who you are per se. Who you are is not that complex mix of feelings that you have been made to feel yourself to be, it is who you are minus that artificial structure of non-authenticity. The advice to "kill the ego" must be seen as an advice to put an end to that structure, that alter ego, the one who you so unfortunately, unduly and unwarrantedly were made out to be, that surrogate self that you could never truly and authentically be. 

Steve: So it is not that I have to "kill my ego." I have to eventually convince myself not to treat that acquired pseudo-self as "that" who I am. So I can actually stop breathing life into that empty balloon of my… eh… not my… pseudo-self, that alter ego. I can see it now, it is no more than a figment about me in other people's heads, no matter how much that figment seems to have been fixed on me, no matter how much I have identified with it in the past.

Note
(1) I don't mean Freud's interpretation of alter ego.


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