Breaking Free of The Mind’s Prison

In psychology, the ego refers to the persona or image of who we we wish to be and to be seen by others. This mask becomes our prison when it takes on a life of its own and becomes self-preserving. The ego thus becomes driven by the fear of being discovered as not true. When tested, the ego can drive us to regrettable behaviors.

On a daily basis, the ego clothes and shields the shadow, the less desirable aspects of ourselves that we hide from ourselves and others. This is the ego’s purpose and it was created during the innocence of our youth when we were taught right from wrong. Without the ego, societies could not exist. So don’t beat yourself up for this, just understand that you are not your image.

In its self-preservation, the ego prevents us from rising above Duality. We see life as black and white when we live from this aspect of ourself. We are living life based on an image, an idea of who we are. Yet this image is only a small part of the truth.

When the ego and shadow are at odds with one another, we are given the opportunity for growth and transcendence. However, it takes valor to transcend duality as one must be willing to sit through the paradox of the shadow and the ego. When the contradictory and uncomfortable emotions within rise, and one is able to ride the wave it will crest and peak. This is the moment when the two edges, when allowed, become synthesized thus creating a new understanding, a new vision and a new freedom. In this moment, we transcend duality and we grow, seeing a new option that we didn’t see previously. 

Due to the ego’s stranglehold on reality discounting the other aspects of self, most of our egos do not allow us to sit through this transcending process until we have reached the proverbial “rock and hard place.” When we become frozen and the ego cannot find a solution, that is rhe very moment when we can most exact the greatest change. This is probably why so many of us must hit rock bottom before we rise up again. For if given the choice, the ego will choose self-preservation and the life of its own image.

Change rarely occurs when we are happy and riding high. 


This is part of the Owning Your Own Shadow Series, based on the book by the same name by Robert Johnson. This series is an investigation into seeing and integrating all aspects within to recover inner peace. Only with loving ourselves can we be the change we wish to see in this world.

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