Overcoming Ego

Some object to The Secret on moralistic grounds that it caters to narrow, selfish materialistic motives. Surely, they argue, it cannot be the aim of the universe to help a few people become fabulously wealthy or buy fancy cars! Why should the universal force lend itself to such petty purposes? There is a truth in this view, but there is a limitation on this truth. The universe can act to fulfill our aspirations only in the measure we open ourselves to the power of the universe. That is what The Secret means by alignment. The ego acts like a straight-jacket imprisoning us within our small personal existence cut off from the world around us. The universe is an infinite energy. But it can enter our lives only in the measure we relate to something beyond our narrow boundaries. All of the methods advocated in The Secret are intended to help us escape from the confines of ego, even if it is done for a selfish personal motive. When a person earning $8000 a year conceives and aspires to earn $100,000, he is overcoming the narrow boundaries of his present existence, expanding beyond his limiting ego, even if he appears to be acting purely for personal, selfish motives. Therefore, the universe responds.

In common parlance we use the term 'ego' to denote someone who is self-centered, ambitious and self-important. But the ego is present in all of us, even those who exhibit the very opposite of these characteristics. A person who doubts his own capacity or self-worth, who feels it is wrong to aspire or assert, who feels other people are far more important and deserving is also living well within the bounds of the ego. Only in this case the ego feels weak, helpless and insignificant instead of strong, capable and important. The essence of ego is the sense of separateness. The exaggerated sense of self-importance is only one expression of ego.

In order for the universe to act in our lives, we have to rise above the constraints placed on us by the ego sense and realize in one way or another that we are much greater than our present being – in fact, our true Self is infinite and one with all – and we have much greater potential for accomplishment than we have realized up to now. The aggressive entrepreneur who seeks to earn more and more money is really trying to exceed the limiting boundaries of his ego, albeit for selfish purposes, just the way the star athlete aspires to break new records and reach the top spot. Striving for higher accomplishment that far exceeds our present level of achievement is an expansive movement that helps us overcome the limitations of ego.

Ego has played a very important role in the evolution of humanity from the physically unconscious animal to the mentally self-conscious individual. Now humanity is at the stage where it becomes a bar for further progress. The methods of cheerfulness, faith and gratitude advocated in The Secret are all methods designed to help us shift away from the ego. It is very difficult for the ego to remain always cheerful, because so many things happen in and around us that are not to our liking. To remain always cheerful is to shift away from the surface ego to a deeper center of consciousness inside that is in harmony with the universe around. To generate such a powerful faith that we feel now how we will feel after achieving the goal we aspire for is also a means to move away from the ego. The ego is full of desire, impatience and discontent. To feel fulfilled now means to reject these disturbing influences of the ego. Gratitude is very powerful because it makes us stop thinking about ourselves and what we want and concentrate instead on what life and other people have already given us. The advocacy of these three spiritual methods shows that The Secret is based on profound wisdom.