Our ego is our self-expression. It is a conglomeration of all our past experiences, our culture, our upbringing, and our values. This Tolle says is our ego. Our ego wants to be the “I”. It wants to be distinguished from the other egos around it, or the other people in its life.
One way that the ego does this is by finding fault with other people, and by complaining about others. In the Bible, Jesus asked , “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” The answer is that the ego feels superior to the one it condemns, and it is blinded of its own faults.
Complaining about people or situations can become habitual, and some egos can survive only on complaining all the time. When we complain, this essentially tells our ego that we are right by default because the other person has done us wrong. Being right is what makes the ego even stronger. This constant complaining will eventually lead to resentment of that person to whom the complaint is directed, or a resentment of a situation the ego is in. This feeling of resentment adds even more power behind the ego. Instead of forgiving others, the ego will try and enhance the negative in others, creating the faults of others into their identity. The ego will start believing and amplifying all the negative in others. This in essence creates a rift between the ego and the person whom the ego is targetting. This rift gives the ego more and more power.
Eventually, resentment can lead to a stronger emotion, like anger. Anger is a highly charged negative energy that can become permanent. When this happens, it is called a grievance. A grievance is a negative emotion that is connected to an event. If a negative event that occurred in the distant past, it is kept alive by continuously thinking about it and retelling it over and over again. This can affect a great portion of your life. It can change the way you deal with people on a daily basis, and it can change how you react to people in your life.
HOW DO YOU WEAKEN AN EGO?
In order to weaken the ego and to see the true sane essence of a person, we must look beyond the ego. We must understand that the ego which is being resentful and finding fault with others is only superficial. There is a real person under that ego. This person is true, beautiful, forgiving and sane. The only way to deal with an ego is to have no reaction to an ego. However, there are egos that do not want to change or are too afraid to change and they will be the ones tha t will go on complaining.
If you notice that you do have ego, or a grievance, acknowledge it. Accept it. What we find truly upsetting in a person, Tolle says, is also the one fault of negative that is also in you. It is the correction that we must make in this life. Kaballah, a form of Jewish mysticism teaches this. In Kaballah, we notice the particular faults we have by noticing our intense reaction to a given situation or a person. The reason we have such a strong reaction, is because we ourselves have this same fault. Tolle says that you must not try to forcefully forgive another for doing you wrong. You must just realize that there is no purpose in holding a grudge, or a grievance. The only purpose that a grudge has is to feed the ego, and by doing this, you are allowing the past to infiltrate into the present, and you are unable to live truly and completely in the present.
Tolle says that when Christ says, “Deny thyself”, what he meant was deny the illusion of yourself, or of your ego. In other words, let your ego go and tap into your true self, your true essence.