As I approach my 50th year in life I am beginning to reflect, realize, and accept that I am well into the second half of my life.
When I was younger I would say that I did not develop a healthy ego at all as I had a rough childhood with an authoritarian mother. This is the situation of many, not just me.
The simple question arises when I read Jung’s statement, is it easier to let go of a poorly developed ego or a well-developed ego? I could surmise that by Jung’s statement that I should have an easy time letting go of my poorly developed ego. Maybe you just might have a stronger motivation to get out of the circle of samsaric suffering if things are really bad. Or another way maybe it’s easier to wake up from a bad dream than from a good dream, so say the words of my Lama.
Think about it another way, why would you jump from a perfectly fine cruise ship or a really nice ego? Not very likely, but the moment you know that you are sinking it’s not even an option to stay onboard.
One of the main teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism is to use one’s strongest emotions as fuel to fire your desire to change. This transformative potential of the Diamond-like practices are like no other. One must confront his anger or fear let them arise, recognize their essence, and let it go! The is tremendous wisdom in all our emotions,
How do we propose to do this? In one word meditation, we begin with the breath then guru yoga ngondro a yidam practice perhaps Tummo.
If we want to break free from samsara we need to see the connection we have with our emotions. Do we really feel them, do we allow them to arise, and most importantly do we let them go? For a long time I was so afraid of my feelings, all of them. I did not feel them very often, and when I noticed that one had arisen I did I had a very hard time letting it go. Sounds fun eh? not really.
Thankfully I have the tools of the Buddha Dharma to work with, firstly and most importantly MEDITATION. The practice of meditation gives us space in mind to choose better decisions, better reactions, and better outcomes for ourselves and those around us. A meditation practice helps us to look within ourselves honestly and fearlessly. A meditation practice helps us to let go of things we no longer need in our lives.
How do you turn inwards and let go of that which weighs you down?
4 thoughts on “Carl Jung Letting Go of the Ego”
I would not say that it is easier to part with a poorly developed ego than with a healthy one. (First of all, the question of who decides what is to be considered a healthy ego would have to be clarified anyway). Perhaps the more decisive question is how deeply the imprints are anchored in the self and what purpose they serve for us – regardless of the external caesura of good or bad. A healthy ego would probably also be culturally dictated. E.g. does one have access to one’s emotions, should one be as cut off from them as possible? etc.
Can ego, being often fullfilling externally dictated standards or expectations correspond to our self at all? Wouldn’t a healthy ego have to embody the perfect harmony of outside and inside?
Identifying which needs come from the inner self and which from the outside, from ego, perhaps it helps to consider whether one has heard the concerns that arise earlier in life or the comments of the voice from the off. Are they things we were told as a child, are they slogans invvented by the society we live in considers good and right?
Is there fear associated with it? Is the ego afraid of losing face or am I afraid of breaking through the protective shell of the ego?
Perhaps a healthy ego could only be developed if one were always given space to be completely with oneself. In a society that superficially praises individuality but actually demands conformative standards and behavior, this is hardly imaginable.
So is the healthy ego a utopia? A desideratum?
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Hi there thanks for your comment
You pose some great questions but do not definitely say that it’s easier to leave a poorly developed ego than a good one.
I am with you that social norms do help formulate what’s good and bad. But actually in Buddhism we are moving past the ego or beyond it. It’s not desired or a goal we work for the benefit of all.
I understand that to overcome the ego is the ultimate goal (and not only in buddhism). But how to define it ? What exactly do you need to overcome?
The question is if a “healthy ego” the one being in total harmony with your inside world so to speak (not being interested in the reaction from the outside), than one could argue, that the ego (as used in common language) not really exists or no longer exists and therefore there would be nothing to overcome (?) Normally we refer to bad, arrogant, selfish or harmful belives when we talk about ego in every day conversations (“he has a big ego” etc)
On the other hand, if the ego is also seen as something necessary or essential to be able to function in this world (like your name for example) or as something that is important for others to deal with you as part of their reality, how do we continue in this life when we succeed to overcome it ? [Assuming we see the ego as the mediator between the conscious and the unconscious or for the outside world “your identity”. Pretty much what you find on your ID card.]
So are we actually exclusively speaking of overcoming a “poor ego” because a healthy one would not be needed to be overcome? And therefore it is easier to overcome the bad one, as the loss of the healthy one would make your functioning in this world impossible?
I don’t know if I can explain the idea in a way that makes sense, but I tried 🙂
“ I understand that to overcome the ego is the ultimate goal (and not only in buddhism). But how to define it ? What exactly do you need to overcome?”
We try without effort to realize our true potential as human beings. This is our Buddha nature, that we can act with wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all beings. This not just in total harmony with ourselves but with all beings in the universe.
The Buddha described this as waking up from a dream. In Vajrayana Buddhism we transform our obstacles into opportunities for growth and enlightenment.