Ego Ideal

We’re building in our focus … Over these few weeks we focused on completing your past last week. Tonight we’re going to focus on your ego ideal. What is an ego ideal for a human being. We’re building toward a series that we’re going to do on awakening, on enlightenment and after enlightenment. Really I think it’s more like awakening and after awakening because people have this misconception that you awaken, and it’s like a flash of lightning, and then you’re done. It’s more like awakening, seeing something, then the journey really begins after that as the ego basically evaporates and dissolves, and we’re left as our presence as opposed to our ego.

Tonight we’re going to focus on a central part of the ego. We’re going to focus on the ego ideal. Most of the time human beings pursue goals. Most of those goals are given by one’s ego, by one’s relationship blueprint, by one’s conditioning, by things that we’ve learned, by the data, our conditioned data in our minds. We’re going to call that our ego. Obviously I’m implying that that ego is not our real self. It is not our deepest self. It’s a conditioned self. It’s more like a whole bunch of strategies and a sense of our self that’s actually a picture and a sense of others that’s actually also a picture. We often to refer to the relationship blueprint. Our ego is another way of saying that relationship blueprint and all of our conditioning.

Human beings have a lot of goals in their egos. In fact the ego is largely a set of goals about what’s good and what’s not good and how we should be and how others should be. It’s like a set of standards if you will. If a person feels into their ego, there’s always a type of activity like a getting somewhere in order to … a movement, but not like a relaxed natural flow. It’s usually more like a hamster on a hamster wheel, a frenetic type of movement or an anxious type of movement. It’s going on all the time. It’s got a feeling of anxiety. We want this, and we want to be over there, and we want to have that. It’s not that having any of those things or even pursuing any of those things is bad, but there’s something about the way that human beings do it that drives us nuts. It’s like not stopping and smelling the flowers but instead focusing on trying to own 3 flower shops. That kind of situation. I’m sure you’re familiar with what I’m talking about. It’s very fundamental to human beings.

These goals that we pursue were for the most part created very early in childhood. They come from what we call the ego ideal. That’s really where we’re going to focus this session. What is that? What is an ego ideal? How does it relate to this frenetic, goal oriented movement that’s so common for human beings. The ego ideal is the holy grail for the ego. It’s how the ego thinks it should be. It’s how the ego thinks you should be. It’s how the ego thinks I should be. It’s how our egos think we should be. It’s the ultimate us, the perfect version. It’s practically invisible because it looks like such a good idea to be that way. Of course we should be that way, whatever that happens to be. Kind, and generous or strong or feminine or masculine or rich or whatever it happen to be. It’s practically invisible because, it just looks like, “Well, obviously it’s the right way to be and how I should be, and it’s just who would question that?”

It looks like the truth, but it’s just an ego ideal, the ultimate goal for the ego or the relationship blueprint, if you will, because that’s normally how we talk about it. The ultimate goal for the ego, the relationship blueprint for our sense of identity is the realization of the ego ideal, to be that way. At this point in our topic, take a look for yourself, how do you think you should be? What would be the ultimate way for you to be? What are you working toward ultimately? It’s often a person’s ego ideal that even gets them into something like romance coaching. It’s not really what romance coaching is about, but it’s normally how we get into something like romance coaching or self-development work or the job we pick, where we choose to live, and what have you.

You want to take a look for yourself. What are you working toward ultimately? What would be the ultimate you? Whatever comes up for you there, you might want to take a look. Is that real or is it an ideal? Maybe it’s a picture. Maybe as human beings we have this picture that we’re mesmerized by. Obviously that’s what I’m suggesting in this topic, that it’s a picture, that it’s an ideal, that is has nothing to do with reality at all or at least very little to do with reality. It’s a picture. It’s separate from reality. It causes a split within us because it causes a split away from what’s actually going on in the moment. Whatever’s going on for us in a given moment. Right now, the things that are going on for you. Is that your ideal? Does that fit that picture? Is that that ego ideal? For most people, most of the time, it’s not.

If you look most of the things that you feel, now and otherwise, don’t fit with your ego ideal. Most of the things that you do don’t fit with your ego ideal. Most of the things that you have and don’t have don’t fit with your ego ideal. We should have this, and we shouldn’t have that, but actually we do have this and we don’t have that. Most of really what you are doesn’t fit with your ego ideal. The ego, the relationship blueprint under the influence of the super ego, the relationship blueprint, again, our sense of identity and a sense of the other is based on our parents, and it’s like the incorporated parent, the master internalized. The ego, under the influence of the super ego, under the influence of our parents in our head, chooses the ideal instead of choosing you and how you are.

That’s just what we do as human beings. The ego keeps its attention on, “Oh, I should feel this way and do that and have this and all of that. It causes a split from what’s actually going on for us in the moment, and then the ego says, “That’s right. That picture is right.”

Even as difficult as the experience of what is going on for us in a given moment might be … It might be anxiety or frustration or shame or physical pain or the way our body is, whatever. Even as difficult as that experience may be, in truth, it’s much better than the ego ideal because the ego ideal is just a picture. It’s just an idea. It’s very thin. It’s lifeless whereas what we’re experiencing, even if it’s a painful experience, well, we’re actually really experiencing this. That’s actually really going on. It may not fit with our ideals but … It may not be ourselves at the deepest most ultimate level of our being and consciousness and all of that, but it actually is what we’re experiencing, but the ego chooses typically what we’re not experiencing, something we don’t have: the friends we don’t have or the feelings we should have or the bod we should have. It’s an ideal by definition.

It’s mostly derived from how our parents thought we should be and what they rewarded us for. If you were very cute, and you were constantly being rewarded for being cute and like that, then maybe that person’s ideal develops into being attractive. The ultimate person for them is being an attractive person. If somebody’s parents rewarded them for being nice, “Oh, you’re so nice. You’re so considerate.” Their ego ideal might involve something around being kind or being generous or being nice to people or being a good person or something like that. Of course it’s not bad to be a good person. Being a good person’s great, but it’s different when we should be that way, and there’s no room for maybe in a given moment we’re angry. We’re frustrated about something. That is not accepted.

It’s great to see these things about our ego so that we have some room, some distance from having to be nice or having to be strong or having to be popular or having to be rich or having to have the perfect body or be the perfect person in some respect. You want to take a look. What did your parents reward you for? How did they say you should be? How did they say you shouldn’t be because that’s been incorporated into the relationship blueprint, the super ego, the other pole of the relationship blueprint, the identity and the other, our sense of ourselves and our super ego. The super ego takes over that role, that parental role and basically sacrifices you and your experience for the ego ideal.

Some people think they should be enlightened. Some people think they should be incredibly capable and powerful. Some people think they should be incredibly wealthy. Some people think they shouldn’t have any money at all. Some people think they’ve got to be ultra good looking and in extreme physical health. Some people, as I said a moment ago, think they have to be the ultimate person or popular. Fill in the blank for yourself.

Just like emotions … emotions are qualities of … emotions are qualities of reality that we feel in our hearts. That’s a loaded statement. I don’t want to go too in depth into that because there’s really a whole topic on this. Think about 3 months ago, if you want to look that up. Just like emotions are often … When a person is vindictive, originally that vindictiveness was probably a feeling of strength and power, a healthy feeling in ones-self. It goes through the relationship blueprint, and it gets twisted into something. Maybe punitiveness or vindictiveness or a meanness or something like that. This is what the relationship blueprint does to the qualities of our presence, the qualities of our consciousness, kind of twists them. We often call those emotions.

The ego ideal is also a twist on reality. It’s ultimate attractive force is based on our desire to be loved and our desire to be as we are and the ultimate inherent attractiveness of reality of our deepest self, the qualities of reality, our core, the God within, if you will. I know that’s also a loaded statement, so the being within if you prefer. The ego ideal is a twisted version of that. Instead of realizing that that’s who and what we are all the time, and that yes, sometimes we don’t experience it and things happen in the mind and emotions and the rest of that, but we are that. We are that perfection no matter what’s going on in a given moment.

The ego ideal is a twist on that. The ego ideals says, “Well, we’re not that. It’s over there.” The ego ideal says, “The perfection is over there. It’s somewhere else. We have to get over there.” Originally our parents who were basically God, reality, everything, the supreme for us, for a little kid, that’s what parents are for them, they said it’s over there. Most parents actually said to be good you have to do these things to be good. Most people’s parents actually said, “It’s over there.” There was a lot more love coming when we were acting certain ways, being nice of being strong, or whatever our parents preferences were, really.

My point is that people spend their whole life looking out there for something, and the ultimate something that people are looking for is the ego ideal, and that ego ideal is actually a twisted version of the inherent perfection that you are already. It’s trying to find it somewhere else. In fact, the ego can’t even understand that we already have it, that you are already that. It doesn’t even make sense to the ego. The ego’s like, but that doesn’t make sense. I feel this way. I’m not in touch with it. This and that. I do this and that. I’m not perfect for these reasons. It’s like for the ego it’s just a does not compute because the ego is based on that search. The ego is completely and totally devoted to that ego ideal because the super ego and originally our parents said we should be.

The relationship blueprint is that kind of … We could look at it as a thing, but it’s also a dynamic, frantic movement toward something. The relationship blueprint we usually talk about it like a thing, but just as much as a thing, it’s really an activity. Another way to look at it, it’s like a forward moving activity always going someplace or trying to get somewhere. You want to look for yourself, where is it that you’re going? What is the ultimate you?

It doesn’t often happen, but occasionally, things work out, and people realize some degree of their ego ideal. Occasionally people even realize the whole thing. They become that rich or that popular or what have you. Occasionally things work out, and people realize some aspect of their ego ideal or even the whole thing. Some good thing happens and some life circumstance or they have some tremendous insight or whatever, and they think now I’ve got it. Now I’m that. I’m that way. They usually go around advertising as like they’re so great, or they’re so complete or whatever. It’s got that look at me kind of feeling to it. A lot of our popular culture is based on that, music stars and movie starts, and these are people want to be that way and get to that level and that kind of thing. A lot of our culture revolves around that.

Sometimes people achieve that or realize that, but if they tell the truth, they still feel deficient because filling the ideal doesn’t really fulfill anything. It’s quite empty. The fulfilling the ego ideal is like moving away from oneself. It’s like splitting oneself. It’s not unconditionally loving oneself and how one is and realizing the perfection of life itself and how you are which actually feels loving and great and accepting and with all the warts and all that feels like love. It’s very conditional. Fulfilling the ego ideal which occasionally happens for people is a very conditional type of success. It’s like a person loving themselves because they are some way. That’s not actually really love.

When some aspect of that gets fulfilled or even the whole thing gets fulfilled, they get that rich or that popular or whatever, if they tell the truth they realize, “Oh, it’s quite empty.” Either by fulfilling the ego ideal and realizing it’s bankruptcy. You see this a lot with movie actors who they’ve got it all, but they’re doing more and more drugs, and if you read about their lives they’re circumstances are better, but they’re not much happier than anybody else. The great movie actor, just a few moments ago, really one of the best, very, very high quality actor Seymour Hoffman just died of a heroine overdose. What’s this guy? He’s so talented, has it all. Not even just the popularity. He was actually a really good actor, really admired, and really quality actor.

What’s he doing doing lots of heroine? Enough to kill himself. That’s because even having all of that, I’m sure he achieved a greater level of success than he imaged he could, well, it was bankruptcy. Either by fulfilling the ideal and realizing it’s bankruptcy or simply realizing it’s bankruptcy which is what I recommend because you can spend your whole life trying to fulfill your ego ideal to then realize it’s bankruptcy. You can simply realize the bankruptcy of it. It allows us to confront the cloud of emotion and incompletion and really the subtle suffering that human beings experience that is the relationship blue print that is our past projected into our current life.

The incompletion from the past. That’s why I had you write those autobiographies last week as your activity. If we say, “Hey, wait a minute, I’m not really so sure I’m into pursuing this ideal. I’ve achieved some pieces of that. It didn’t really pay out that well.” Or, “I haven’t, but I just realized this will be a lot of work, and I don’t think I’m really up for that. Looks pretty empty, actually.” It allows us to face our life and face our experience, the good and the bad, but face the things that we weren’t facing, the anxieties, the incompletions, the incomplete relationships for example that are so central in people’s relationship blueprint.

From there we can feel through that. We can heal. Even though a lot of that material is painful there’s something about being with ourselves and being with each other how we are that has a feeling of wholeness, that has a feeling of love, that has a feeling of reality. Maybe something is painful to confront, but it’s just that sense of you know when you eat some food that’s it’s quality food? I’m not talking about just something that’s ultra-green and ultra healthy from the health food store. Maybe it is that. It’s quality. You eat it, and it may not be super sugary, and it may not look like an ice cream sundae with 6 different kinds of ice cream and chocolate syrup and loads of whipped cream, and all the rest of that kind of stuff. It may not look like that, but you taste it, and you just feel nourished. When we stop pursuing the ego ideal, and we distinguish what our ego ideal is, the perfect person, a perfect job, the perfect whatever, and we start to metabolize our experience, we start to digest our experience, we start to confront our moods and what’s going on, and inquire into that, there’s a nourishment that comes with that.

There’s a realness. There’s qualities of love and wholeness and peace. It’s like we know we’re on the right track, and there is a movement forward that’s a natural movement forward. It’s not this frantic chasing. It’s more like coming from ourselves than it is trying to reach some ultimate pinnacle or something like that. It’s more like love and realness. There is a dynamism. You could even say there’s a type of goal in it if you want to call inquiring into or experiencing and getting in touch with ourselves a goal. Sure we can language it that way. It’s a very different type of goal. When people make that fundamental about face, in their life, it’s called a backwards step, and really turn to really what’s going on, and start to inquire and unveil that and uncover that, those are the people who move forward. That’s when we really move forward in our lives and become happier. It’s so great because there’s an immediate good feeling that comes along. An immediate nourishment that comes along with doing that even if we are confronting something difficult and painful.

The activity this week I’ll tell you ahead of time is going to be to explore your ego ideal. Some things probably came to mind during this topic … to explore it, maybe to have a conversation with somebody about it or do some journal writing about it. It’s very revealing when a person starts to see that and see how they’re used by that. If you really distinguish your ego ideal, it’s not easy to do because it tends to be invisible like I talked about earlier. When you really distinguish it it brings up some emotions. Oh my God, if not that, then what? There might be feelings of emptiness or what do I do now or what’s the point of my life, existential concerns, things like that. It will bring things up to distinguish ones ego ideal and realize that it’s just a picture. At least then one is really dealing with fundamental issues, and there is cheese at the end of that tunnel.

Alicia Davon