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About Us -- Header -- Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Question:

What is the purpose of the ego? is it a distraction from our spiritual self, the bad guy or is its existence just necessary to the counterpart of … what?

Deepak's Response:

The Indian term for ego in Sanskrit is ahamkara and its function is to give a sense of unity or singularity to human experience—the feeling that experience is happening to some person, not just abstractly in the cosmic mind. It’s like the focal point of a lens that gathers all light and converges it into one point. Ahamkara is what allows us to say,” I am eating an apple” rather than an applies being eaten. So the ego performs an essential function. The problem arises when the inner self, or Atman, is not fully awake. In this weakened state, instead of knowing our true status as unlimited, non-local pure consciousness, our sense of identity becomes overshadowed by our external experience. This is object referral instead of self-referral. Our sense of “I” is then defined by our body, our relationships, our possessions, our fears and desires. This unawakened version of the ego does generate distractions and obstacles to spiritual growth just by virtue of this self-perpetuating object referral pattern. The ego in itself is not the villain. Once self-realization occurs, the ego’s misappropriation of identity dissolves and its simple function of providing individuality to experience will remain even after enlightenment.

Love,
Deepak

 

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