Ego Perception and Our Reality
Ego Perception and Our Reality
Ego perception is the way we see ourselves and our world from the point of view of self-awareness and spiritual teachings. Ego perception usually refers to the system we use when we’re just reacting to life but not living it. We are emotional beings, and we live our life completely dominated by our emotions until we wake up and start to take an active part in our life. Essentially, that sleeping state is what our ego perception is. This awakening frequently takes place as part of midlife but, not always. Thus, the question may arise, from what are we waking? What is this Ego induced sleep? Or maybe more familiar, why do I feel like I’m in a fog, and how do I get out of it?
As emotional beings, our emotions filter everything we experience. That means that every thought, physical sensation, memory, perception, belief, and experience goes through our emotional filtering system and gets colored by it. When we are asleep in our lives, we think the filtered view is reality. We then react to that filtered view, making decisions based on our perceptions and not on reality. Let me try to describe this with a picture.
Notice the beautiful sky, the bridge, and the light pole lighting the path. This picture is similar to an ego perception of reality. Looking at it we think it’s perfect and it looks inviting. We want to walk the path across the bridge and enjoy the sky and clouds on this gorgeous day. But beware! This picture is an egoic view, not the reality of the scene.
“How can that be,” you ask? “Obviously, it’s exactly what it looks like! I’ll go and walk that path across that bridge and enjoy that perfect day.” This reaction is living life by the egoic perception. I’ll try to explain.
How do we know this picture is real? How do we know what we see is genuinely what indeed is. We don’t. This picture is a captured moment in time with limited information. So, what do we know for a fact? We know there is the sky in the image. We know there is a bridge in the picture, and the bridge is near the light pole. Honestly, that’s about all we know.
Here’s another way to think about reality versus our perceptions. Think about being with a friend, and you say something critical about them. Immediately their face scrunches up, their eyes squint, their lips purse together tightly, and their skin starts to redden. Without even thinking, you apologize and backtrack, trying to soften the blow. Immediately you think you’ve upset them and it’s going to cost you an argument.
However, what, in fact, truly happened in this scene? You made a critical comment. Their face scrunched up, their eyes squinted, their lips pursed together tightly, and their skin started to redden. You have no idea what they are feeling! Yet, did you react to what they looked like or what you thought they were feeling based on your interpretation of how they looked?
They could have just stepped on a nail, and they felt pain in their foot. Maybe they see a spider crawling up your sleeve, and they feel fear for you. Perhaps a mouse just raced up their leg, and they are bracing for it. We can’t know without asking them. Yet, when we’re asleep, we react to how we feel about what we think they are feeling. Can you see why it’s not really a surprise when people have disagreements?
A dose of reality…
Now, back to the picture. Let’s get some more information. In other words, let’s not just see our ego perception. Let’s see the whole picture as much as possible. Here is the bigger picture, the entire scene if you will:
Notice, all I did for the photo above was take the reflection in the black smelly putrid pond and turn it upside down. However, we wanted to see the beautiful scenery and, thus, closed our eyes to the small items which gave it away as a reflection. (I promise it’s the same picture; look at the park bench to see the give-a-way)
This image creates precisely how the Ego works! Our Ego refuses to see the reality if that reality isn’t what it truly wants to see. Instead, it will ignore the little peeks at fact to bolster its view of the world. It does this because it thinks it’s helping your chances for survival. And, this is where we get back to emotions and our ego perception of the world.
A bigger view of our lives
Ego is a term I’m hesitant to use nowadays because it’s perceived very differently by everyone. Ego is a Greek word that means “I” or self. As an example, here’s the Wikipedia page on Ego. When I’m coaching or writing or speaking with groups, I prefer to use the term Survival Mind instead of Ego.
We are emotional beings. We perceive the world emotionally. Thus, to fully live our own lives, we have to see through our emotions or ego perception to the reality underneath. It’s not always pleasant (think of the putrid black pond above), but it is always real. When we live in the reality of our lives, we have real power to make our destiny. We can control our decisions and move forward into the life we truly want to live, not just the one dictated by our emotions and reactions.
When we start to wake from our Ego induced sleep and ego perception into the reality of our lives, we frequently feel like we’re in a fog. It’s an awkward move at first. What is real, and what is our perception? I suppose that’s why it’s generally called a midlife crisis. It feels like a crisis when everything we hold as true is all of a sudden torn away, and we see reality for the first time. It’s hard, but with some time and practice, we start to recognize our Survival Mind at work and see past it. We can use our emotions as one wisdom tool we have versus our whole toolbox.
I hope Ego Perception and Our Reality is a bit clearer now. If it isn't, please write to me and let's talk, I'll be happy to learn from you and, hopefully, you can also learn from me. Please contact me here.
Posted April 28, 2014