In this video we discuss how to transcend the ego through Kriya Yoga. The ego is perhaps one of the most misunderstood subjects in spirituality. Many of us find ourselves in the paradox of believing we need an ego to survive in the world, but at the same time recognize we need to destroy the ego in order to progress spiritually. This belief around ego puts spirituality and the world at odds, causing many to believe they must retreat from the world in order to be spiritual. Worse perhaps, those who cannot easily withdraw from the world may think they cannot pursue spirituality because they need their ego to survive and carry out their duties. So spirituality becomes something they will pursue “someday” when they have the time and leisure to do so.
First it is important to recognize that spirituality and living in the world need not be at odds. The physical world is less dense with light/consciousness than other realms, but not less spiritual. As we’ve often said true spiritual mastery is being able to operate effectively in every situation from any seat of consciousness. True spiritual mastery enables us to meet whatever the present moment holds with grace. The more spiritually evolved we become the more effectively we are able to accomplish whatever task we set for ourselves.
Much of the confusion around ego comes from a misunderstanding of what the mind is and how it works. Websters defines ego as “the self as contrasted with another or the world.” Buddhists may say the ego is “who you tell yourself you are.” In Hinduism ego may be defined as “the feeling of separateness, the sense of duality, or the idea of being distinct and different from others.”
All these definitions are true, yet to grasp the full picture we have to look at the larger metaphysical landscape. The most important thing to note is that consciousness does not just reside between our two ears. Our entire body is a field of consciousness and the seven chakras represent different aspects or modalities of consciousness. Only the mental activity associated with the solar plexus can properly be said to be the ego.
The root and sacral chakra form much of the subconscious backdrop for our personality. The root chakra being our basic sense of safety and our sacral chakra our sexuality, the five senses, and creativity. The solar plexus is the seat of our ego because it is that seat of consciousness where we first experience ourselves as being separate self-aware beings.
Many strive to overcome the ego by suppressing the ego and desire for sense pleasures. This method is the source of much world denying, guilt and self-loathing. The animal and human self are banished in pursuit of the divine, and so the divine is banished from Earth to heaven alone.
However, this method of spiritual development can cause us to become quite unbalanced. Moreover, failure to cultivate and balance the energies of the lower three chakras may prevent us from having enough shakti/energy to attain the higher states of consciousness. The more effective method is the Tantric or developmental approach, which transcends and includes the lower states of consciousness.
Fear, addiction to sense pleasures, and the desire for power over others are all traps of the ego that must ultimately be transcended. These ego traps are born of the perception of separation and cannot be transcended through denial alone. Instead they are transformed and transcended when informed by the truth of our perception and experience of unity.
In my experience the traps of the ego can easily be overcome through the regular practice of Kriya Yoga. People become thwarted on the spiritual path when their kundalini energy gets stuck at one of the lower three energy centers in one of the ego traps. With the help of a mentor and effective spiritual practices, however, these lower blockages can quickly be transcended and cleared, enabling the kundalini energy to move up into the heart chakra which enables us to experience the first stage of “super consciousness.”
The first stage of super consciousness as experienced in the heart chakra is characterized by the experience of love and connection. Thus the separate self of the ego is vanquished by the expansive love of our hearts. Once the kundalini energy makes its way into our hearts and we experience the first stage of super consciousness the purification of our ego and subconscious mind accelerates. Love is simply preferred, and that which keeps us from love is not.
In the fire of love fear in the root chakra gives way to trust, addiction to sense pleasures gives way to love of life, and the desire for power gives way to peace and joy. The perception of being a separate self will persist in stages, but as long as we remain connected to the wisdom of the heart we will not take it too seriously.
This is the first stage of transcending the ego. As we persist in spiritual practice the energy naturally flows to the throat chakra, third eye, and crown, which enables us to achieve progressively deeper levels of wisdom, nonattachment, and bliss. As the volume of energy running through our being increases new karma may arise in the lower chakras with new lessons to be learned. The work is never truly done. We are always in a process of continual refinement and purification. With great power comes great responsibility, and greater temptations.