Human beings have been caught up in a world of delusion for a long time. We’ve come to believe very much that we are separate entities that stand apart from all else, and we’ve created hardy egos as a result.
To hold up this tenuous illusion of being a separate entity, we have to live in duality and find an “other” to keep our egos alive. We can then only know these false ego identities in comparison to other things — I can only be a Christian if I know what it means to be not a Christian. I can only be a Republican if I know what it means to be a Liberal. I can only be moral if I know what it means to be immoral. I can only know what it means to be “happy” I know what it means to be “sad”. Do you see? It would be impossible to see one without the other. These dualities need their opposites to survive. The ego lives in this (imaginary) place of duality.
Our egos are formed through convention (such as language), thought, what and who we’ve been exposed to, by our cultures, by our societies, and by the accumulation of energies and emotions we’ve attached stories to.
(What is not a convention, label, thought, or idea?)
The ego can, in fact, only survive by being continuously upheld. It needs constant stoking, comparison, and propagandizing to help fuel it. We create elaborate stories about ourselves, want to impress others, and cling to religious, political, and moral beliefs to uphold our feelings of being an individual. We see this most often in social media –we portray ourselves as “happy”, put together, and we use our page to promote our personal beliefs (which also need to be stoked and promoted to be upheld). We promote our own personal propaganda to feed the ego.
Who are we trying to convince by doing so? Not others — ourselves.
On a deep level, our false ego identities make us deeply uncomfortable and insecure, hence the near constant battling of opposites (religious wars, divisions of all kinds, moral debates, political debates, etc.). We only defend or need justification for things that we aren’t so secure about — otherwise, our true peace and security would need no justification or defense.
(What is without perspective?)
Upon self-inquiry (looking into the truth of your being) one might quickly find that even the ego is easy to poke holes through — sure, your body-mind has its natural preferences, quirks, talents, and tendencies, but all of the layers of thought, belief, defenses, staunch and unforgiving principles and labels we accumulate are quickly seen to be nothing but superfluous appendages and based on our illusions of being nothing more than a soul encapsulates inside of a body, looking out onto a world that’s in relation to it.
In reality, all is connected. This is easy to see — everything is an incomprehensible web, constantly creating, recycling, and destroying itself. There is no unintelligent matter. You are this vast, intelligent, supreme, limitless whole; you aren’t simply an ego.
If you don’t see how this is so, I implore you to begin self-inquiry. Investigate the truth of who you take yourself to be in an open-hearted, truly authentic way. What you might find in this investigation is what human beings truly long for — an identity that needn’t be constantly upheld, but an ever-present, unchanging, limitless peace and freedom.