Self and Ego
Before awakening to our true Self, the ego aspect of our personality dominates. It dominates through its insecurity. It needs to be propped up, coddled, and nurtured. It is hypersensitive to criticism and rejection. It has strong needs for recognition, validation, respect, and consideration. It wants to be important, special, even superior. Its need for superiority emanates from its innate sense of inferiority.
In its weakness, the ego feels unworthy and unlovable, and continually questions its value. It seeks outside itself for support and fortification, but other insecure and incomplete egos cannot satisfy it. It must look inward, not to itself as it knows itself, but to its source. The source of the ego is not the ego. It did not birth itself. If it believes in its own self-creation, it becomes grandiose, another compensation for its inadequacy.
The source of the ego is the larger impersonal Self, of which the ego is a part. It is a spark of that divine One. Its worth comes from recognizing and experiencing that. However, in order to do that, the ego has to relax and trust, and to some measure do what feels like dying. It must let go of itself, and trust that it will survive a submergence into the whole. If it doesn't, it will hold on for dear life and be subjected to a life of insecure uncertainty. Imagining itself separate and cut off from its source, it is always afraid of dying. This is its ultimate source of anxiety. What it does not know, and cannot know unless it relaxes out of itself, is that, paradoxically, it must release its grasp in order to be re-connected, be weak in order to be strengthened, surrender in order to be empowered, and die in order to be reborn.
In its insecurity the ego demands dominance, which leaves it fragile and vulnerable. It must be willing to share the power and the glory if it wishes to have any for itself. When it yields its throne, it can relish in its servitude to the greater Whole.