False Ego

False ego is what makes us think that our self and our external body are one and the same. The reality is that we are all spiritual. We don’t die. Without understanding that, we think, “This body is who I am.” We think our temporary bodily labels—white, black, tall, short, young, old, man, woman—apply to us.

We’re made of spiritual energy, which means that we’re eternal and conscious. Spiritual energy is superior to the temporary, unconscious matter our bodies are made of. False ego is the most subtle feature of the inferior, material energy. It’s the the very point of contact between spirit and matter. It’s what keeps us tied to repeated births and deaths.

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Under the influence of false ego, we take credit for doing everything independently. Material nature controls everyone in this material world, to the point where we can’t see that our material bodies are machines working under nature’s laws. We think we’re winning control over nature, when really we’re becoming more and more bound by material energy.

We can get free from this by practicing Krishna consciousness, which uncovers our real ego, and enables us to be who we are. Our real identity is that we’re inseparable parts of the complete whole, or Krishna, and meant for developing loving relationships with Him based on selfless, fulfilling service in the spiritual world.

Funhouse mirror photo by Jan Messersmith.