We blame ego for everything because we were taught to believe that ego is selfish and hence, a root of all evil. One should be careful of ego. It can lead you to a bad place. We see people of big egos fall from their thrones and you are right, we blame ego for their downfall.
In my opinion, ego is not that bad. In the Buddhist belief, ego can actually become your friend who will help you go to places you want to go. Buddhism has ways of befriending one’s ego in order to take advantage of its power. Ego can propel you to heights of unimaginable worlds. I am speaking of spiritual worlds. In Kabbalah, ego is not an enemy, it is a helper to reach the heights of a spiritual ladder.
I have come up with three ways of using your ego for good. The goal of this article is not to crush your ego to the pulp, but rather to allow it to exist and use its energy for more constructive endeavors.
Be proactive with your ego.
Expose yourself to situations or places that will tame your ego. Go to places where your ego will not be stimulated by self-love. These places or situations will show your ego other things that it has never seen before. For example, you can go to a place where the homeless hang out. Stay with them and chat with them. Experience how they live.
Feel how to beg and be ridiculed. Be comfortable with taunts, ridicule, insults and disdainful looks.
This experience will gradually train your ego to accept this aspect of existence. It will start to become at ease with the situation. Similar situations in the future will not bother it anymore.
Refrain from reacting to negative situations negatively
Your ego will easily react to any situation contrary to its desires. It is your ego’s knee jerk reaction to curse when somebody cuts you off in the freeway. It is easy to fume over somebody who gets your parking spot. It is easy to blow your top when somebody treats your ego with utter disrespect. When you notice yourself reacting negatively to these types of situations as much as you should be, it is helpful to stop and reflect about the impermanence of your current state. Think about twenty four hours from now, you will be preoccupied with other things that this occurrence will just be but a bad memory.
Cultivate joy in the midst of a miserable situation
There was a story of a rabbi who was traveling in a ship. He was in the lowest level of the ship because he could not afford to pay for a decent space in it. One of the rich passengers dumped his dirt into the rabbi, not acknowledging his presence due to his similarity to the dirt. At this moment, the rabbi felt joy for only at this moment does he understand the true meaning of humility.
This joy can be cultivated when instead of asking for more in the corporeal sense, ask for more intangible things like generosity, humility, kindness, and the like. If you focus on virtues that you want to develop in you, you ask for something that will benefit others. You use your ego to acquire the qualities that will expand your spiritual horizon.
There are more ways to use your ego for your real benefit. I suggest start experimenting by really acknowledging your ego as a friend rather than an enemy. Use your ego. It was given to you from Above and it is part of your nature. Find a way on how to use it well. You can start with my suggestions. If you find more ways, let me know, my name is Rodolfo Rabonza.