One of the first ideas that we come across when we start a spiritual journey is the idea that the “ego” is the enemy of our spiritual progress. This notion is especially prevalent in Eastern traditions, where annihilation of the ego is often seen as a necessary step towards enlightenment, realization, and union (what we would call Connection on the LP). In these traditions, if we want to make spiritual progress we must kill/control or otherwise put the ego in its “proper” place.
If you are interested in authentic spiritual connection, if you wish to pursue authentic spiritual practice, you definitely have to think about your ego, because the ego can get in the way of spiritual progress. The ego can be “overly critical,” it can bodily ego “self-deluded,” and it can all too easily get lost in the addictions power, sex, and wealth. The ego can most definitely be an obstacle to spiritual progress, and consequently it is eminently reasonable to consider its role in the advancement or curtailment of our spiritual aspirations.
But is reasonable to consider your ego as enemy?
Your bodily ego is your body’s ego while your spiritual ego is your soul’s ego.On the Lightning Path we take a sophisticated approach to understanding the issues with the ego. First, we break the “ego” into two parts, a Spiritual Ego and a bodily ego. Your Spiritual Ego (SE) is your capital “S” Self, your higher Self, your true Self, your spirit/soul/atman/augoeides, or whatever you want to call it. Using LP terminology, I would say that your spiritual ego is an “intensification of Consciousness” that exists independent of your Physical Unit. Your SE uses the physical unit as a vehicle for entering into physical creation. Your spiritual ego is a bright and powerful fire of awareness, like a sun pumping divine consciousness into our glorious physical creation.
By contrast, your Bodily Ego (BE) is your little “s” self, the little “i” of Normal Consciousness. Your bodily ego is the conscious sense of “I” that people who do not experience consistent Connection mistakenly understand to be their true “I,” but it is not their true “I”. I would not go so far as to say your bodily ego is a delusion/illusion, but it is not Real in the sense that your spiritual ego is Real. Your bodily ego is a neural epiphenomenon. Your bodily ego is an emergent self, the bio- quantum result of the synaptic activity in your brain (Sosteric 2016). The bodily ego is a physical thing that rises from your physical unit, but its physical existence is not independent of the body, as the SE is. The BE lives when the SE embraces/descends into the body. When spiritual ego leaves, the bodily ego ceases to exist. Notably, the bodily ego is nowhere near as bright and powerful as the (too often) occluded spiritual ego. If your spiritual ego is like a glorious sun shining Light into physical creation, your BE is more like a weak little candle sputtering, spitting, and trying to hold back the darkness. Your bodily ego might think that it’s “all that,” but it can only maintain that delusion while it experiences disconnection. Even the briefest Glimpseof the sun that’s behind it is usually enough to disabuse it of any notions of superiority. It is the capital “S” self that is your real, powerful, true person/self. For the neuroscience of the bodily ego, see The Science of Ascension (Sosteric 2016).
With this distinction between the spiritual ego and the bodily ego in place, we can now re-ask the question, is the bodily ego a problem? Is the bodily ego the enemy? Does it prevent the bright light of Consciousness from shining through? Does it block the spiritual ego from descending?
The answer is…
“It shouldn’t, but it often does.”
The bodily ego shouldn’t interfere with the descent of the Spiritual Ego into the body because in the healthy physical unit, the bodily ego works in union with spiritual ego. When the physical unit is healthy, the BE is healthy. When the BE is healthy, there is no conflict between the two. In a healthy physical unit, the bodily ego embraces the spiritual ego as the source of its own refracted light and refracts this light in a pure and unaltered fashion into the physical world. When this occurs, we say that bodily ego is in alignment with the Spiritual Ego. When aligned, the bodily ego is an extension/partner of the spiritual ego rather than an obstacle. When properly aligned, when partnering with the SE, the bodily ego helps ground Consciousness in reality and helps it navigate the (sometimes dangerous) physical world. My poem I AM/We Are expresses this idea that the bodily ego is not antagonistic towards the Spiritual Ego, but instead should merge with, and becomes an extension of, the spiritual ego.
Unfortunately, while the bodily ego shouldn’t interfere with the descent of the Spiritual Ego and spiritual advancement it can, and often does, interfere, block, and even reverse spiritual attainment. The bodily ego does this a) for a number of different reasons and b) in a number of different ways. As for the reasons why the bodily ego interferes with the Spiritual Ego, misconception, fear, “wrong training” (i.e. spiritual training that disconnects instead of connects), and even emotional/psychological pathology can drive the bodily ego to interference with and even block spiritual connection. For example, if the bodily ego is afraid of its own higher Consciousness, perhaps because it has been taught that it will be “judged,” shamed, or hurt in some way, it will refuse spiritual connection and push the Spiritual Ego away (Sharp 2017, 2016). As for the ways it resists, it can fool itself into thinking it is connected when it is really not, it can raise emotional and psychological barriers to consciousness, it can distract itself with power, sex, money, or whatever, and it can even take control of nascent connections and exploit the connection for its own emotional/psychological reasons. There are lots of creative ways the bodily ego can undermine spiritual progress and subvert true connection. It is too complex to sort out in a blog post like this, so just let me say, the bodily ego has the power to block spiritual ego from seating itself in the vessel. If it feels itself threatened in any way, if it feels the physical unit is under threat, if the bodily ego is damaged in any way, if it has been trained in erroneous connection techniques, or if it finds self-delusion more comfortable than actual connection with The Real, it can preempt the descent of Consciousness. When it does, there is nothing the spiritual ego can do about it.
The bodily ego shouldn’t interfere with the descent of the SE, but it can, and often does.
At first glance, this might seem like a bad thing, but it is not. The ability of the bodily ego to pre-empt descent of the SE is actually a design feature of the body. It is part of the “survival programming” of the physical unit (Sharp Unpublished). But, even though it is part of the survival tool kit, pre-emption of the spiritual ego is only ever supposed to be a temporary state of affairs, something that occurs when the PU is under immediate threat. It is not supposed to be a chronic state of affairs. The bodily ego is not meant to seat itself on “the throne,” so to speak, for anything more than the time it takes to protect the physical unit. Once survival exigencies are taken care off, the bodily ego is supposed to get out of the way and let the spiritual ego flow through. As noted above, fear, misconception, and dysfunction can create conditions where the bodily ego asserts full time control. When that happens, from a spiritual connection perspective, the bodily ego becomes a major problem. Remember, the bodily ego is a tiny little candle compared to bright light of the spiritual ego. When the bodily ego pathologically hangs onto control, when the bodily ego prevents spiritual advancement by blocking the descent of Consciousness, subverting, or corrupting it, it blocks expression of the bright fire of Consciousness. Consequently, the physical unit experiences a lowered CQ, which in turn reduces performance levels of the physical unit, and in long term exposes it to increased risk of sickness, disease, and death.
So what do you do if your bodily ego is getting in the way of connection and spiritual attainment? I can tell you what not to do. Don’t attack it. Don’t criticize it? Don’t hurt it. Don’t harm it. Certainly, don’t “kill it.” As outlined in the article The Science of Ascension, the bodily ego is an important neurological/psychological component of your physical unit. Instead, embrace it, uplift it, protect it, nurture it, and heal it. Your bodily ego is your friend and if you want to be able to handle the high power of your highest Consciousness, you need it healthy, functioning, and able. If you want to advance spirituality one of the first things you have to do is recover/heal/strength your bodily ego. Whether you realize it just yet or not, the bodily ego has an important role to play in the spiritual advancement and proper connection to the glorious sun of your wondrous Spiritual Ego.
Sharp, Michael. I am We Are. [https://www.michaelsharp.org/i-amwe-are/]
Sharp, Michael. 2016. Lightning Path Workbook Two – Introduction to the Lightning Path. In Lightning Path Workbook Series, edited by Michael Sharp. St. Albert, AB: Lightning Path Press.
Sharp, Michael. 2017. Lightning Path Workbook Three – The Basics. Edited by Michael Sharp. Vol. 3, Lightning Path Workbook Series. St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.
Sharp, Michael. Unpublished. The Book of the Triumph of Spirit: Master’s Key. St Albodily egort, Albodily egorta: Lightning Path Press.
Sosteric, Mike. 2016. The Science of Ascension: The bodily ego.
 Yoga is the Sanskrit word for union, as in union with higher Consciousness.
 For a more in depth analysis, intermediate/advanced LP students can consult The Book of Magic. The Psychology and Psychopathology of Crown Chakra Activation. https://press.lightningpath.org/product/the-book-of-magic/
 Just a reminder, whenever I use the term “physical unit” I am referring to both the body and the mind/brain. The physical unit = body + mind.