July 4th 2017 – Posted as a question on Quora – which I answered:
As with all topics of this nature, words become problematic because of their limitations…but I’ll give it a try.
I think ego – or the false sense of self – is intrinsically linked to the material world we find ourselves in. The non-ego is the eternal or divine part of ourselves which transcends all of the physical material world.
Being born into this world of matter in a physical body it is inevitable that we start learning to increasingly operate with the ego from a very young age. Most people are also overtly taught from birth that we are the body & the mind, thereby strengthening this instinctive tendency to identify with the ego.
To start to consciously operate from the eternal/divine part of ourselves is not easy – at least I haven’t found it easy & I think that’s the same for the majority of people. Most adults will have to become aware of the conditioning they have gone through that has led to the identification with the ego. Then one must actively practice letting the mind recede so that the divine part of you can come more into the foreground (Meditation is a very good technique for this). From here you start to realise that you are consciousness itself. I can operate on this level for short periods of time now & usually only when I’m by myself. As soon as someone else enters my space, I will often go back to operating on the level of ego again.
However, as I practise more, I am becoming more aware of when I’m identifying with ego & why. I have definitely become more relaxed & joyful as a result of this practise, & I seem to need less & less material things, so I am continuing on this path.