Why does the EGO exist?

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Cosmic
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Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Cosmic » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:02 pm

One of my very first questions when reading Eckhart’s “New Earth” (my introduction to Eckhart’s teachings) was why does the ego exist inside a person, especially if it is so destructive?

I was watching the Oprah video series with Eckhart and in the 2nd video (I believe) she posed the same question and I got excited thinking, “YES! I wanted to know that, too” but sadly the conversation somehow took a detour and the question was never properly addressed. :-\

So, I’m asking it here.

What is the purpose of the ego? Did it evolve like man did? Was it necessary at some point in our evolution, and if it was, what was it useful for? And if it is a ‘tool’ as we perceive it to be, why isn’t man able to control the ego naturally? Why can’t man, like it does with crawling and walking, slowly learn how to use the ego without needing to be awakened? Why can’t man just be awakened at a stage in their life like the stage where man learns to crawl, and then walk, and so forth?
I've only just embarked on the process toward awakening. For me it's not going to be an overnight occurrence. But I have faith it will happen. Have patience.

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Webwanderer
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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:18 pm

The ego is a double edge sword in some ways. It can cause us a whole lot of pain, but it is also a unique venue for consciousness to explore isolated experiences of cause and effect. There is a great deal of wisdom and learning to be had through an egoic interaction. Not so much for the ego necessarily, but for the evolution of consciousness. Nothing in life experience is wasted.

WW

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Cosmic
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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Cosmic » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:40 pm

Thanks for replying! :)
It can cause us a whole lot of pain, but it is also a unique venue for consciousness to explore isolated experiences of cause and effect. There is a great deal of wisdom and learning to be had through an egoic interaction.
This sounds very profound. Can you elaborate on it?
I've only just embarked on the process toward awakening. For me it's not going to be an overnight occurrence. But I have faith it will happen. Have patience.

18andlife
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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by 18andlife » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:23 pm

Cosmic wrote: Why can’t man, like it does with crawling and walking, slowly learn how to use the ego without needing to be awakened? Why can’t man just be awakened at a stage in their life like the stage where man learns to crawl, and then walk, and so forth?
It is very good that your instincts are to frame awakening as part of a developmental process; not many people are prone to look at it in this way, and it is a very acurate interpretation.

I would probably be inclined to ask you to challenge the assumption you are making that the ego exists inside a person. Don`t worry too much about why the ego is there, or what it seems to be doing. Based on what you have written, you are probably not as much influenced by the ego as you are by the idea that you have one.

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Webwanderer
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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:13 pm

Cosmic wrote:Thanks for replying! :)
It can cause us a whole lot of pain, but it is also a unique venue for consciousness to explore isolated experiences of cause and effect. There is a great deal of wisdom and learning to be had through an egoic interaction.
This sounds very profound. Can you elaborate on it?
Here's my take on it: The ego by its very nature is a concept of self as a separate being. So as a perspective of a separate self interacting with other perceived separate selves, there is a sense of the need for safety (emotional and physical), competition (to get what ego wants in a perceived environment of limited supply) and self fulfillment just to name a few. There are lots of issues to consider in the human experience. In an effort to satisfy these concerns, one must make choices as to how best to interact with the conditions at hand. Sometimes the choices, or just conditions, end up being painful to one's self or to others. There is cause and there is its effect. What, if anything, does one learn through one's interaction in these experiences?

The point is in the overall evolution of consciousness. The ego is an opportunity to isolate experiential conditions to gain experiential clarity in the nature of how energy flows through cause and effect within the events and flow of our lives. Eventually consciousness, as related to individualized experience, evolves beyond its need for such isolated interaction and awakens to a greater perspective and understanding of being. Until then the pain we suffer is an ever present reminder that there may be more effective ways of interacting with our fellow travelers and life in general.

WW

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:13 am

Interesting question and answers here. I don't see the 'ego' as an enemy or a 'bad' thing at all. It's a part of the human condition, just as most of us are born with the skeletal frame to accommodate our individual human bodies and the organs that help us to survive, for me, the ego is a necessary component of those 'bodies'.

A baby who does not realise that it is dependent upon others and does not cry out for food, or for shelter/warmth will die. What makes it cry out is the - on some level - realisation that it has needs that are not being fulfilled. The ego then being a realisation of physical separation in our human bodies is as helpful as a heart that pumps blood around our bodies, or an individual skeletal frame that helps us to grow and be mobile.

However, if that heart or skeletal system were 'unregulated' if they started acting out of kilter with what was beneficial for the body it would either 'correct' itself or maybe need an intervention. The signal we get is usually pain and/or suffering.

Egos out of control - over protecting or distorting the natural need for it for survival of the physical body either has to correct itself, or maybe needs an intervention. The signal we get is .. yep, pain and/or suffering.

This is the same for all parts of our physical and mental capacities as human beings. Many of our dis-eases are from over-active elements of our body and mind 'compounds' throwing balance out of whack. For example, white blood cells go and attack any infections in our bodies, but if they get out of control they end up being detrimental to our system instead of beneficial.

I prefer to love my ego for the wonderful work that it does in preserving the elements of my humanness for the time that I'm here - but, I am grateful for ET pointing out how to notice if it's getting 'out of whack' to the degree that its causing pain and suffering, for myself or others. I have no more good/bad feeling about it than I do all the many magnificent workings inside each and every human being.

Every body's
Got
One

If you start making an 'enemy, obstacle, or means to an end' of a thing (including ego itself) then that is ego out of whack.

The reality is our bodies are separate - it's just our spirit that is one.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Kutso » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:54 am

Hello,
Cosmic wrote:why does the ego exist inside a person, especially if it is so destructive?
Cosmic wrote:What is the purpose of the ego? Did it evolve like man did? Was it necessary at some point in our evolution, and if it was, what was it useful for? And if it is a ‘tool’ as we perceive it to be, why isn’t man able to control the ego naturally? Why can’t man, like it does with crawling and walking, slowly learn how to use the ego without needing to be awakened? Why can’t man just be awakened at a stage in their life like the stage where man learns to crawl, and then walk, and so forth?
If you're looking for awakening, these questions are unimportant.

Mooji tells an amusing story in related to this. A banana falls from the ceiling. And what is your response? Well, a banana fell from the ceiling. But to the old mind it's like, My god! Did you see that? A banana fell from the ceiling! And... why not an apple? And, where did it come from?

Point is, these questions will take you nowhere but just keep you in a loop.
Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that.

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Cosmic
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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Cosmic » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:02 am

If you're looking for awakening, these questions are unimportant.
I disagree. What is important or unimportant is wholly subjective. I can have questions about the inner workings of any structure or mechanism and simply because you deem them as unimportant does not mean that someone else can still not be curious about them.

There is a difference between questioning something, and becoming obsessed with it. You have assumed, with your story about the banana, that finding out why the ego exist will become or is an obsession for me. It is not. It's simply a question I had and posed. Simple as that.

Awakening shouldn't be about never having questions. It should simply be about being in the moment and sometimes the moment may ask you to seek a truth about something.





Back to the discussion...

Oprah actually asked about the reason for the ego a second time, and this time it was addressed by Eckhart. She stated, [paraphrasing here] "So why does the ego exist? Why haven't we evolved beyond it?"

And Eckhart stated, "We're doing that right now."

I felt that was a very powerful moment, to feel yourself on the brink of this collective shift. :D
I prefer to love my ego for the wonderful work that it does in preserving the elements of my humanness for the time that I'm here - but, I am grateful for ET pointing out how to notice if it's getting 'out of whack' to the degree that its causing pain and suffering, for myself or others. I have no more good/bad feeling about it than I do all the many magnificent workings inside each and every human being.
That's a very healthy attitude to have. :)

Initially, I felt strange realizing that there was such a thing as an "ego" but now I'm on a similar place where you are. I'm understanding the place for the ego and using my understanding to gain more awareness of the situation and slowly create distance between my true self and the ego.
I've only just embarked on the process toward awakening. For me it's not going to be an overnight occurrence. But I have faith it will happen. Have patience.

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Kutso
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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Kutso » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:31 am

Cosmic wrote:I disagree. What is important or unimportant is wholly subjective. I can have questions about the inner workings of any structure or mechanism and simply because you deem them as unimportant does not mean that someone else can still not be curious about them.
Yes, you can have questions about the workings of any structure or mechanism, and be curious about them and such. But it is all related to the world and not the Self. The Self is not a structure or a mechanism, so to be curious about these things will only delay Self-realization. However, if that is not your goal, then by all means ask questions about whatever worldly phenomena your curious about.
Cosmic wrote:There is a difference between questioning something, and becoming obsessed with it. You have assumed, with your story about the banana, that finding out why the ego exist will become or is an obsession for me. It is not. It's simply a question I had and posed. Simple as that.
The difference is marginal. I didn't assume anything. I merely saw you asking questions about the ego, and I'm telling you that asking questions about the ego is not important for Self-realization.
It's like the classic parable about the rope in the dark that is mistaken to be a snake. When figured out that it is only a rope, asking questions about the snake, such as if it is a poisonous snake, and what kind of snake it is, is really not important simply because there is no snake.
Cosmic wrote:Awakening shouldn't be about never having questions. It should simply be about being in the moment and sometimes the moment may ask you to seek a truth about something.
That your opinion about how awakening should be. Another person might have another opinion. Those opinions are still of the mind, and does not matter when it comes to realizing the Self.
There's really only one type of question worth asking when it comes to Self-realization, and that is "Who am 'I'? Who is the perciever? Can the perciever be percieved?"
Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that.

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by 18andlife » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:43 am

Cosmic wrote:Initially, I felt strange realizing that there was such a thing as an "ego"
Again, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to question this statement. Kutso's pointing you right at it bro.

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by snowheight » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:22 pm

Cosmic wrote: was why does the ego exist inside a person, especially if it is so destructive?

...

What is the purpose of the ego? Did it evolve like man did? Was it necessary at some point in our evolution, and if it was, what was it useful for?
Keep in mind that evolution is a random walk. It is the selection, by way of survival rate, that serves as the mechanism for judgment on a cosmic scale. There is no "why" in the occurrence of the set of mutations that led down this road.

Picture a time in the really distant past, at least back to Homo Erectus, probably even earlier. When that first sub-population finally stood up in the mudhole and thought "hey, wait a minute, I'm all dirty and wet!" what else did they see?

In creating a separate "I" there is also the creation of "You". What is the first thing that an apparent individual encountering this dream is going to do? Would it perhaps be to communicate with the other? ... "oh ... hello other person! ... nice to see you! ... please don't kill me! ... what is that you have there, food? ... gimme some! ... hey, ur kind of cute...".

Miraculously, somehow, this foolishness led to a higher survival rate ... but it's not hard to see how, really. If a group is collectively hungry and their elders taught them how to build stiff spears with sharp hard points they might be able to harness the babble to figure out how to drive a herd of mammoth over a cliff and eat like kings for months.

So there is an answer of sorts, grounded, as you expected, in Darwin's theory -- no ego, no "I", no "I" no "You". No "You and I" no division of labor and we all have to eat apples from a tree to subside and that works until a drought comes and kills all the trees ...
Cosmic wrote: And if it is a ‘tool’ as we perceive it to be, why isn’t man able to control the ego naturally? Why can’t man, like it does with crawling and walking, slowly learn how to use the ego without needing to be awakened? Why can’t man just be awakened at a stage in their life like the stage where man learns to crawl, and then walk, and so forth?
Really interesting question which leads to a direct and literal interpretation of the term "evolution of consciousness". But have you thought this idea of "control" fully through? Do you see a basic contradiction between this idea and the complex of concepts that underlie it?

====

One interesting digression, discussed on the forum previously (in this post and others), is how the concept of the evolutionary emergence of ego can be used to unify the abstract underpinnings of monotheism (Adam and Eve gained knowledge) with those of the non-theistic Eastern systems (ignorance of our true nature), and how this unification occurs on the horns of a contradiction (two expressions of the same idea that sound completely opposite).
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Rick » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:14 pm

God wants love and appreciation, but this love and appreciation, in order to be real, can not be commanded or demanded but must, in order to be authentic, be given to Him freely. Manipulated love is no love at all.

All things but man are exactly as they are created to be. Everything is in its place and plays its proper role. A tree can never be more than a tree. A frog can not be a blade of grass. A stallion will always be true to its magnificent design and inner programming. All things, however elaborate and grand, are created from the first to be obedient to their inner programming. There is no choice about the matter. But because their obedience is programmed their obedience can not be credited as love for the Creator anymore than an alarm clock can be credited with caring about its owner. Obedience may be commanded but love, in order to be love, can not be.

Only man is capable of falling from his 'place' in the divine order of things. Only man can turn his back on the purpose for which he is created and fall into the illusion of ego that allows him to reject God to be his own god. This is ego, but it is also part of the game plan because a man can also wake from his dream and freely choose to return to his place as a Temple of the Living God. But this return, like that of the prodigal son, is born of free will and therefore born of love, the only thing that can not be programmed or commanded.

The ego then serves a very important role as the vehicle through which a fallen man can return to his true purpose. When a man freely chooses to lay down his egoic life to pickup his role as a Son of God it is credited as Love of Creator precisely because it is an obedience freely chosen and freely given.
Daily life IS spiritual exercise.

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by nutrition » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:25 pm

Nice post Rick. We are love, just like a horse is and a flower is. But as you said we have the ability to realize this and TO LOVE which is our only purpose in this body and mind, in this form.
Some will say we have no choice but to love, however given the ego, we have to overcome its desire to be loved and manipulate to discover what we always were. Just love.

blessing

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Rick » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:53 pm

nutrition wrote:Some will say we have no choice but to love, however given the ego, we have to overcome its desire to be loved and manipulate to discover what we always were. Just love.
Nicely said.
Daily life IS spiritual exercise.

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Re: Why does the EGO exist?

Post by Donna » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:39 pm

Cosmic wrote: ...So, I’m asking it here.

What is the purpose of the ego? Did it evolve like man did? Was it necessary at some point in our evolution, and if it was, what was it useful for? And if it is a ‘tool’ as we perceive it to be, why isn’t man able to control the ego naturally? Why can’t man, like it does with crawling and walking, slowly learn how to use the ego without needing to be awakened? Why can’t man just be awakened at a stage in their life like the stage where man learns to crawl, and then walk, and so forth?
Oooo,...great question(s), Cosmic! I love where the nature of your curiosity seems to have lead you to these ponderings, as did me.

I asked the same question directly to the Universe and this is my perception of the answer I received.

Consciousness (the Universe) contracts, expands and evolves. You can see this in many examples of space and nature. A Universal Equation is being calculated and compounded upon...sort of like Einstein writing on his chalkboard, scribbling out "aha!" moments. I don't know what this formula looks like (part of the great Mystery I'm so in awe with), but it's fascinating and inspiring to me.

If you notice, nature is all about cycles...everything (and I mean EVERYTHING!) comes and goes back to the same starting point. The point of these cycles is to bring information back to the source so that it may expand or contract to evolve.

Consciousness manifested as human "being" needs "Free Will" in order to evolve. Free Will meaning we choose in our daily situations to come from the perspective of the ego or we choose from awareness. Consciousness needs that "switching out of variables" to experience through YOU (Universe is experiencing as itself through Cosmic....get it? ha ha...couldn't help myself).

Like I said, this is just my perception (and there are more questions behind the perception, but I let them rest). I have a strong sense that we, as a mass of consciousness, are coming back full cycle/circle to that Awareness that we all are, because many seem to be choosing awareness over ego in daily situations more and more and more.... :-)

This video, Nature By Numbers, http://youtu.be/kkGeOWYOFoA almost always brings a tear to my eye some reason (most likely cuz I'm a Nature Lover :D )
~*~*~*~* I love to live and live to love. *~*~*~*~

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