As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and self-realized energy worker (found that out by accident along my spiritual journey) I've often found myself reading books or sitting in workshops where a discussion of the ego is raised.
Initially I had a fairly simplistic view of the ego. Essentially that being in ego was acting as if I was a 'little too big for my boots'. This would result in offending or annoying other people - to be avoided at all costs.
So my initial take in order to be 'spiritual' or 'more evolved' was not to annoy other people and not to 'show off' any skills, talents or abilities I might have that could potentially rock the boat and make anyone else present feel small.
This didn't work so well. I've always felt very at home in personal development or spiritual workshops and found myself needing to hold back and not say what I thought...in case I bugged anybody with my languishing ego! Hmmnnn. It began to occur to me that I might be missing out on opportunities for development by taking this approach, both for myself and for others.
When I was younger initially I exhibited a natural confidence and ability in certain areas. Unfortunately this was not always encouraged (told in a BBC interview when I was 18 that I was 'overconfident')...when I was even younger I wrote a great poem listening to my inner voice and was told by the teacher that it was the 'wrong kind of poem' for the class that day. So over time I stopped listening to my inner voice for quite a while.
As a person who is very sensitive to, let's just say, the energies and the vibes in a room, I progressively shut down areas of myself in order to fit in. (Can't let that ego get out of control).
Fortunately, over more years, more personal development, more reading and more workshops and more life experience I've found myself with a new and more useful point of view regards the human ego.
Two great spiritual teachers have also helped me evolve a more useful viewpoint.
I'm an EMF Balancing Technique® Practitioner, and the originator and teacher of this technique, Peggy Phoenix Dubro, often refers in her talks to how we can balance the ego. It's gone too far one way or the other if we are either too full of ourselves to be aware of our surroundings and how we're impacting others, or so shut down that we guru-ize others and minimize ourselves. I liked this. It seemed like a much more multi-dimensional approach and matched better with the feelings I get when I read energy.
I also found helpful confirmation in another great spiritual teacher's written work, John Edward's Infinite Quest book. (John Edward is an internationally renowned psychic medium). He states that he needs 'just enough' ego to do the work, but not too much. He goes so far as to say that psychic mediums who go into ego often attract spirit-bound entities that 'feed' them some correct information, so that they still think they are good mediums, but that these entities feed off the inflated ego of the medium...he says 'it's like crack to them'. Ewww. That really made me think hard about staying balanced and using my ego effectively to help myself and others with energy work, spiritual work or any other endeavour, for that matter.
What I've also noticed is that when I am balanced in my ego, as opposed to the more common term 'being in ego', I can take criticism from others more easily, constructive or otherwise. I believe it's because if we have a sense of wholeness about ourselves, being in touch with all of who we are as humans, we can connect with others and feel the compassion and humanity for them also.
I've observed some interesting characteristics in human behavior when the ego is out of balance...
Another piece of information I've found very useful with ego work is that our ego is really here to protect our personalities and I also like to view it as an ancient protection mechanism. (Just think if you were a medieval person how useful an inflated ego might be for personal protection).
So, if I feel my ego going out of balance, I always thank it for doing its' best to protect me and simply say to that part of me that is the ego "Thank you for your help, I'm in balance, so I don't need you right now."
These new perspectives have helped me enormously - I hope you find them helpful too.
I'm interested to hear your comments and any other inputs/viewpoints you have regards balancing the ego.
Sarah Lawrence Hinson
Sarah is a Visionista - (like a barista, only with words, ideas, our personal energy and potentials) ... not averse to adding whipped cream or mocha!
Regularly contributing to her self-hosted blogs Mom On A Spiritual Journey and The Personal Energy Practice she writes about practical applications within the fields of alternative medicine and energy work.