The Ego is a Hindrance
The ego must be there, for it is needed to be active in this world; but it need not take sole charge of the man. There is this other, this higher Self too.
It is not only that man does not know his spiritual nature but, which is worse, that he holds a false idea of his own nature. He takes the shadow–ego–for the substance–Overself. He takes the effect–body–for the cause–Spirit.
The ego uses all the cunning of its logical intellect and all the seduction of its pleasure-loving nature to keep a man away from the quest.
A man can hold only one thought at a time… Applying this, it follows that it is his holding of the thought of his personal separate ego alone which prevents him achieving identification with the Overself…
So long as these two faculties of human mind–reason and imagination–are surrendered to its animal side, so long will they prevent the real human being from being born.
So long as the little self feels itself wise enough to make all its decisions and solve all its problems, so long will there be a barrier between it and the Higher Power.
His way to the goal is blocked by the ego…
If his egoism is too strong, the highest part of the Overself’s light will be quite unable to get through into his consciousness, no matter how fervent his aspiration for it may be.
Until he learns that his enemy is the ego itself, with all the mental and emotional attitudes that go with it, his efforts to liberate himself spiritually merely travel in a circle.
… The philosophical meaning of egoism is that attitude of separateness not from another individual on the same imperfect level as ourself but from the one universal life-power which is behind all individuals on a deeper level than them all. We are separated from that infinite mind when we allow the personal ego to rule us, when we allow the personal self to prevent the one universal self from entering our field of awareness…
Such is the separative ego’s hold on most men that although they carry the divine treasure with them they regard it not.
If the ego cannot trap him through his vices it will try to do so through his virtues. When he has made enough progress to warrant it, he will be led cunningly and insensibly into spiritual pride. Too quickly and too mistakenly he will believe himself to be set apart from other men by his attainments. When this belief is strong and sustained, that is, when his malady of conceit calls for a necessary cure, a pit will be dug unconsciously for him by other men and his own ego will lead him straight into it. Out of the suffering which will follow this downfall, he will have a chance to grow humbler.
The egoistic way of viewing life is a narrowing one. It keeps him from what is best, holds him down to what is base, and prevents him from working with the miraculous forces of the Overself. The farther he moves himself away from it and the nearer he moves into the impersonal and cosmic way, the sooner will he receive the benediction of more wisdom, better health, smoother relationships, and grander character.
He whose resort is solely the personal ego is constantly subject to its limitations and narrowness and, consequently, is afflicted with strains and anxieties. He who lets it go and opens himself up, whose resort is to his Higher Self, finds it infinite and boundless and, consequently, is filled with inward peace.
The extroversions of the ego block the communication of the Overself.
The ego stands in the way: its own presence annuls awareness of the presence of the Overself. But this need not be so. Correct and deeper understanding of what the self is, proper adjustment between the individual and the universal in consciousness, will bring enlightenment.
The infinite divine life dwells within all embodied creatures, therefore in all mankind. It is the final source of his feelings and his consciousness, however limited they are here in the body itself.
If people are so determined to become the victims of their own egos that no words, no sage counsel, can stop them, there is no other course left except to leave them to suffer the consequences of their actions and thus learn the hard way.
We ought not to expect man to give what he is not yet ready to give. Only in the measure that he recognizes a higher purpose to be fulfilled will he renounce the ego which hinders that fulfilment.
If the ego would be willing to abdicate its rule for a short period, the way to a glimpse would be opened.
He will then see that the ego is not his true self, that the evil and error which it spawns are the avoidable causes of avoidable distresses.
The wise man lets the Overself’s presence flow through his life, never blocks it by his ego nor turns it aside by his passions.
The supreme effect of Grace, its most valuable benefit, is when its touch causes the man to forfeit his ego-dominance, when it takes away the personal obstruction to the Overself.
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