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A Step of Illumination on the Stairs of Enlightenment: True Self vs Ego Self

Updated on January 13, 2013
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Recognizing Your Self and Your Ego

I have come to a place in my life in which I have no need to defend myself. It is a step of illumination on the stairs to enlightenment. Donald D Wright, PhD 1-11-2013

The famous psychiatrist Sigmund Freud described the ego as the part of your mind that chooses between your instincts (the id) and your morals (the superego). As a baby your id is in full control. You want something and you want it now and if you don’t get it now, you cry until you do get it. The id is very impulsive, doing something without thinking about the consequences or rewards.

The superego opposes the id. It is the part of the mind that acts as a conscience and tells you when you are about to do something wrong or harmful. Whereas, the id will tell you to go ahead and do it, the superego says don’t do it.

So, the ego has to try to please both the id and superego and when it makes choices, it does so by defending itself. These are called defense mechanisms.

No Need For Defense Mechanisms

But what if you lived in a world where you did not have a need to defend yourself. Or what if in your inner world there was no need to be defensive. Perhaps this world already exists within you, you are just not aware of it. Perhaps within you is a wise person who knows exactly what you need to do. Just as within you is another person who wants to be right no matter what. Or wants things their way, no matter what.

Who are you going to listen to? Who have you been listening to? The wise part of you or the part that has no regard for consequences of actions or behavior. Are you listening to the part of you that judges others, has to look a certain way, has to wear certain clothes, has to have a certain car in order to feel good about yourself? Or do you listen to the part of you that is nonjudgmental, doesn’t sweat the small stuff, is forgiving and understanding?

The ego is the part of you that makes you believe you are who you need to be rather that who you really are. You don’t have to become angry when something does not go your way. That is your ego talking. Your true self would be able to see the reality of the situation and then make a decision.

True Self or False Self (Ego)

You can learn to separate your true self from your false self (ego). When you separate your self you learn that there is no need to try to be right all the time, or to be better than others, or to judge others or yourself. You can begin to accept yourself, to be content with all situations, to experience true happiness. Through this separation you become connected. Connected to things that really matter, not illusions.

You can gain control of your life, your behavior, your feelings. By giving up the need to control, you gain control. By giving up the need to be right, you become right. By letting go of attachments, you gain freedom.

One way to distinguish the true self from the false self is to test it. But in order to gain knowledge from the test, you have to know the true answer to the questions. The answer is found in beliefs that have been established and accepted over and over again until they represent truth. And these truths form a baseline to differentiate between true and false…between reality and illusion.

The Bible as a Life Recovery Book

There are many sources of truth available. For me, the Bible is the source I use when I want to find the answer to dilemmas. I see the Bible as a Life Recovery Book. It helps me make choices that are best for me. How do I know that it is truth? Because for most of my life I made choices based off of my false self and that got me divorces, drug and alcohol abuse, and generally a hard life. What I thought was truth were lies.

When you start talking about the Bible, many people think of a preacher standing behind a pulpit raising the Bible in his hand and telling others if they don’t change their ways that they are going to hell. When I finally came to believe in the real Jesus Christ, I was introduced to a person who truly cared for me and wanted the best for me. He helped me when I fell down, he opened my eyes to true happiness, he gave me hope that life was livable and he told me simply that if I believed in him that I would have eternal life elsewhere when I died. He said that he and his Father had laid out some rules and that if I would follow them I would be ok. And then he said the best thing ever, that since I believed in him there would be some times that I would still not do what he wanted me to do, but that he would forgive me and we could still be friends.

So, I have a unique way of looking at the Bible and Jesus. For me it is the true way. Sometimes my id and superego still want to cause problems, but now my ego is biblically based and overrules. The cool thing is that now my id and superego have accepted Jesus as well. So they know what scriptures my ego is going to throw at them when they start misbehaving.

Now that is the kind of psychology and spirituality I can deal with.

How about you?

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    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      One of the things I enjoy about your writings is that you break it down to something do-able. You simplify the steps and give examples how to work to make a state of mind or a state of grace achievable.

      Thank you.

    • doctordonfinally profile image
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      doctordonfinally 4 years ago from Central Arkansas, USA

      Yes "amen" to that teaches. And when we do we become "more than conquerors!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Such a paradox within us to ponder and to conquer! You have said it all well -- we must discover our true self through God's word.

    • doctordonfinally profile image
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      doctordonfinally 4 years ago from Central Arkansas, USA

      Couldn't have said it better myself Billy. Here's to life recovery for all of us!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The eternal battle of humility vs ego....I know that my life is infinitely better when ego is shoved in the closet and kept at bay. :)