I’ve always had a real tussle with this, mainly because I thought that if Awareness is present, I assumed that ego is as well. Well it is…and it isn’t!
Ego is Awareness without Emptiness.
Awareness on its own clings, grasps, and holds onto an idea of every thing being real and solid… this is called “ego clinging”. Empty Essence is knowing the true nature of everything as being an illusional reality. There is no thing called ego: it is a made up expression which has become a thing in people’s minds.
Awareness – when forgetting Empty essence – goes straight to perception (this not pure perception) in the mind, and then into its usual routine of naming and judging…and sticking to that!
It is the sticking to judgements that turns Awareness into what is called Ego. Ego just does not… NOT… exist. Awareness has merely dimmed and held on to something! When Awareness is united with the Empty Essence, Awareness is bright and lucid…this is pure perception.
So when people say, “I need my ego to function!” this is ludicrous and limited. It does make one wonder how this idea of ego came about! Was it just to make people feel guilty, and therefore control them? Hmm…? We can see that getting people to identify with an idea, makes them both prisoner and prison officer.
However, being relative creatures we still have preferences – likes and dislikes. I like grilled tomatoes on toast, but do not care for caviar (true, I have very little sophistication!) We have a body and have to care for it, and maybe because of our upbringing, we have cultural preferences. The body quite often tells us what it needs. If we do not obsess on this, there is no clinging…no ‘ego’ clinging!
Not obsessing is due to a feeling of spaciousness, of carefreeness, of Empty Essence being present. We all get glimpses of this freedom, when we are not bothered one way or another, and we are happy to fall in with others’ wishes. The preferences of others have no effect on us.
“The meek shall inherit the earth” is not saying the weak shall inherit the earth. As spiritual warriors, the strong serve the weak: the weak are those who do not know their true nature.
Until we are Enlightened, there will always be some sense of an “I”, but we can have a mere “i”. As we proceed, we develop a feeling of one taste. Flowers smell, manure smells – it is all just smell…then we make a decision about that smell! Getting obsessed about flowers or manure may obscure the function of creation.