The Ego Hates Being Content And At Peace, But Why?

In the context of modern culture, the ego is often very partially defined as “big-headedness” or feeling superior or inferior to what you actually are. However, this is just one aspect of the entire functioning of the ego.

A fuller definition of the ego would be the belief and feeling that “I am this body or I am in this body, living separately and independently of everyone and everything else.”

This belief is the fundamental definition of the ego. Once a belief is so widely accepted and left uninvestigated, it seems to become real. It is a belief that exacerbates itself through internal and external dialogue, and re-affirms itself through culture and society.

Language and thoughts creates the idea that there is an “I” at the centre of everything. “I am thinking… I am upset…I am working”. But who is this “I” that is supposedly thinking, upset or working? Is there an “I” there at all? Or are they just, happening? Of course, these aren’t questions we are taught to ask, because most if not all of our teachers have never asked these questions themselves.

If we identify ourselves with this pseudo-entity or persona, in particular our restless thoughts, we might arrive at the mistaken conclusion that we are not meant for peace of mind. Contentment is a fantasy, and endless struggle is a necessity.

This may be true for the ego, but not for us, the witnessing presence of awareness which sees the ego, its stories, beliefs, judgments, endless monologues about itself, other people and other things.

The ego may chatter on endlessly in the form of internal monologues, but we are the ones who see it coming and going. Having the ability to separate oneself from one’s thoughts and feelings is one of the most valuable things that anyone can learn and understand.

But why does the ego – the pseudo-entity that we sometimes mistake ourselves for – hate peace of mind? Quite simply, the ego perpetuates itself through constant thinking, and it needs agitation, conflict and problems in order to keep thinking about things, to stay alive and seemingly in control.

Because the ego consists of an artificial idea of oneself, it survives and thrives on comparison. “Am I better or worse than this person? Am I doing better than them? Look at them, they’re doing so much better than me…” Of course, this “I” and “me” all refers to the ego, only more mental images and ideas, not our actual selves.

No thinking and peace of mind is like death to the ego. And no problems, conflict, struggle, future planning, things to stress over or problems to solve means no reason to think – and it can’t allow that to happen!

When we sit down in meditation, allowing thinking to subside, why does the mind come up with all the things we need to do, or puts an image in front of us from our childhood that we particularly liked or disliked? Because it is fighting for our attention, and it will do anything to get it back.

Practical thinking has its place in short, measured bursts. But if you don’t have the ability to stop thinking whenever you choose, or if you feel you always need some new problem to solve or challenge to conquer or thing to worry over or plan, or comparison to make against someone else or yourself, you can be sure the ego – the ghost entity masquerading as you – is in total control of your life.

The way out is to simply observe the ego, which is nothing more than old and conditioned patterns of thinking and feeling – not an actual entity – as they appear to you in daily living. If you see the patterns, you are automatically at a distance to them, and the disentanglement process has already begun.