In my case, which I think is similar for many, many people, the greatest solvent for ego is found within our lives, the fabric of our existence, the grit of what’s actually happening in our everyday experience. I find that this is often overlooked within the context of spirituality. Many of us are using our spirituality as a way to avoid life, to avoid seeing things we really need to see, to avoid being confronted with our own misunderstandings and illusions. It is very important to know that life itself is often our greatest teacher. Life is full of grace, sometimes it’s wonderful grace, beautiful grace, moments of bliss and happiness and joy, and sometimes it’s fierce grace, like illness, losing a job, losing someone we love, or a divorce. Some people make the greatest leaps in their consciousness when addiction has them on their knees, for example, and they find themselves reaching out for a different way of being. Life itself has a tremendous capacity to show us truth, to wake us up. And yet, many of us avoid this thing called life, even as it is attempting to wake us up. The divine itself is life in motion. The divine is using the situations of our lives to accomplish its own awakening, and many times it takes the difficult situations to wake us up.
– Adyashanti, The End of Your World
Ego here means identifications, holding stories as true, finding ourselves as what a story tells us we are, and taking it as the final or absolute truth. More intimately, it’s fear that’s met with lack of love and that’s unexamined, and the mind reacts to that fear by holding onto stories and viewpoints as true and solid. It takes refuge in these stories, and tries to find safety that way. It’s innocent and natural, and creates suffering as well.
The remedy is often, as Adyashanti says, life. Life rubbing up against these viewpoints and identities the mind holds onto to find safety, and which instead creates suffering. Often combined with the most simple and natural approaches, such as resting with the discomfort and any other experience that’s triggered, meeting it with gentleness and kindness, asking or praying for support (guidance, resolution, peace), giving it over the the divine.