Transcending the Ego – April 30 2020

Transcending the Ego – April 30 2020

The ego is an endless wantingness, cravingness, desiringness, and because that’s its nature, it can’t be satisfied. You can’t satisfy the ego because you’d have to change its nature. You can’t get enough approval, because you’d have to have every person on earth bow down to you. It wants to be God. What the ego really wants is the world to recognize its divinity.

David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.,

Transcending the Mind


There are many ways of viewing the ego. Some Christian teaching calls it evil and urges us to fight against it. The Course in Miracles says that the ego and spirit are in opposition, that the ego must be educated. 


David Hawkins, a modern day non-dualist, had a most helpful approach to the idea of ego. His philosophy is based in the idea that the ego is a natural outgrowth of the evolution of life. There is nothing that needs to be done to the ego; just to recognize it is doing its job and will continue to do its job. It can be neither educated nor conquered. Rather, it can be accepted for what it is, and then transcended.


When life arose on this planet, it needed from the outset to find food outside itself. If we had chlorophyll, we simply could stand in the sun. But as animals we must find sustenance outside the self. So from the very beginning it is the nature of life to want. With the development of a prefrontal cortex, man began to elaborate what he wanted: approval, status, power. And this wanting-ness is endless. We can never get enough. Of anything. Ever.


The ego will never be satisfied. Nor can it ever be changed. It will always want. No matter how much spiritual work I do, the ego will continue to call upon me to acquire. So now the question becomes: will I serve the ego, or will I serve the Higher Self? Will I engage in trying to fill the unfillable, or will I sidestep that system to find the truth of my Being?


Each day, with each moment, we are serving either our animal nature or our spiritual nature. One is not better than the other. To serve the ego is not evil. It’s simply to delay the inevitable; for each of us is an expression of pure consciousness, here in the world for the express purpose of transcending this animal nature. Each of us will get there. It’s only a question of when. This lifetime? Or a thousand lifetimes from now? It depends on how much research we want to do trying to make it work the way the ego wants it to work.


And if we’ve decided we’d like to move toward transcendence of the ego now, then our work becomes very clear. As Sri Ramakrishna said,


‘If you want to go east, don’t start out walking to the west.’


Today I will ask myself which direction I am choosing, which part of me I will serve. I will pause to hear the still, small voice within that may encourage me to transcend this animal nature and allow me to give of myself to the world. And no matter how loudly the ego may scream, I will choose at least once today to serve God rather than self.

Cowgirl, tintype, Downtown Photo Collective, Los Angeles, CA