The Need to Shift the Consciousness Beyond the Ego

The ego-consciousness has its evolutionary purpose. The distinction of the individual from the mass of existence led to the ability to move beyond the instinctual and habitual patterns of the species. With this consciousness, variation and innovation became more easily possible. Observation from an individual standpoint allowed comparison, evaluation and the competitive urge to develop, and thereby set in motion the entire range of action we see in our civilisation today.

Yet the ego consciousness has its own limitations and unintended consequences. Taken to the extreme, it loses touch with the rest of the creation and begins to act from a standpoint that over-emphasizes the individual at the expense of the entirety of the creation of which the individual is a part, and upon which the individual depends for existence. This can become an unhealthy relationship where the individual puts up barriers and tries to battle with others in order to aggrandize himself regardless of the needs or circumstances around him.

At a certain stage, the balance between the individual consciousness and the universal creation must be restored, and at this stage, we see the development of the spiritual aspiration and influx of a new stage of evolution that ushers in the higher consciousness that reconciles the individual and the collectivity of existence.

The mental consciousness, and the vital and physical stages that preceded it and act as its basis in the world, suffers intensely through the battle of life as it attempts to succeed as an individual in the larger world that is ready to oppose its untrammeled development. The solution is to shift the center of awareness away from the ego-personality to the Divine, to move the center of focus out of the individual nexus and into a global view that encompasses the entire creation.

It is not about “me” or “mine” but about the development of the larger next stage of evolutionary development. As long as we are judging everything from the ego-viewpoint, we are artificially circumscribing the action of consciousness and must suffer the consequences of the pressure and uncontrollable reactions of others and the world-forces in general.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “If you want to have knowledge or see all as brothers or have peace, you must think less of yourself, your desires, feelings, people’s treatment of you, and think more of the Divine — living for the Divine, not for yourself.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 11, Human Relationships in Yoga, Harmony with Others, pp. 339-342

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