All of us are familiar, to different extents, with the emotion of ego. All of us don’t even define it in the same way. We are also aware to different extents, about the negative repercussions (effects) of the emotion of ego on us and on others. Depending on how aware we are about the effects, we work to eradicate the emotion from our daily lives, so that it neither disturbs us nor others. Some of us even consider it a positive emotion and feel it contributes positively to our personal and professional progress. To be aware completely of the negative effects of ego and to realize clearly whether it is a positive emotion or not in the first place, it is important to first become aware of what it is exactly. So, how can we define ego?
Ego is attachment, inside my consciousness, to an incorrect image of my self which I then mistake for myself. When the attachment takes place, you lose your sense of identity in the image of the object of attachment which you create on the screen of your mind. That object can be something physical like your body, your physical personality, a relationship, a material possession, your status, money, a particular skill, respect from others, etc. or something non-physical like a belief; an opinion; a mindset, a memory, a particular virtue, specialty, power or a sanskar (positive or negative), etc. Therefore ego is the self attaching to and identifying with an image that is not the self. This process takes place entirely within our consciousness many times in the day, on the screen of the mind. E.g. When we say this is my salary package (something physical) or my opinion (something non-physical), we are (without being aware about it) creating an image of the salary package or the opinion inside our consciousness and becoming attached to it, so that we lose our self identity in the salary package or the opinion, believing that I am the salary package or the opinion. So at that time, the salary package or the opinion becomes an incorrect image of the self to which I am attached. This is ego. If while thinking, feeling or speaking about my salary package or my opinion, we do not become attached to or do not lose our self identity in either of the two, then that is not ego.
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