Embodied Enlightenment | The Western vs Eastern Ego Dilemma
I discuss the psycho-spiritual dilemma that people have when they get to certain level of consciousness. Should we focus on developing a strong ego, or should we transcend the ego? It can be considered a difference in western vs eastern ego philosophies.
It is a common question for the spiritual seeker.
This video will explore whether we should develop an ego or whether we should transcend the ego. Two seemingly opposing philosophies genuinely considered Western, and Eastern. Hello, my name is Alex. On this channel, I’ll explore the psychological and spiritual fields of the human condition, no university degree, no academia, just study, research and dedication to realising the deepest foundations of reality.
If you’re watching this video, you’re probably seeking to become a more wholesome, holistic human being. And I am to this is why I put out this type of content. It helps me to clarify ideas while sharing them and interacting with the world. It’s my way of aligning self actualising with entrepreneurship.
At this point, in my development, I know a lot of questions that people ask at specific levels of consciousness. I’m by no means an expert, enlightened or anything else that a lot of people claim. I just do relentless self work, study, and put that into action through entrepreneurial endeavours.
A major question that arises at certain level of consciousness is whether we need to develop our ego or whether we need to transcend that. It’s something that I battle with.
I might conclude this video and have a completely different thesis next week. The reason I believe many people get stuck with this dilemma is because the action that you take in the world will be different depending on which philosophy you tend to side with. Ego development requires a lot of psychological study, understanding different psychological developmental models, complex theories, and more of an intellectual outlook.
Ego transcendence on the other side doesn’t require work as such, and you can essentially go straight to what we hear is ego death, or self annihilation in its true context, the self being Vigo in this sense.
The first point I’d like to make is that psychology and spirituality are the same thing, psycho spirituality.
Let’s try and differentiate between the two. Psychology genuinely considered to be some kind of ego developmental work, whereas spirituality is considered to be the work of the human soul or spirit. But I think the separation of these two things is where we fall down, and it’s a flow in both fields of study.
The etymology of the word psyche is from ancient Greece, meaning breath or soul. The etymology of the word spirit is from the Latin word spirit, air, meaning breath. So as you can see, etymologically they have the same root meaning anyway.
In reality, psychological evolution is spiritual evolution does the same thing. Which is why I often use the term psycho spiritual development rather than having them as separate fields.
And I think this is a very important point, because when we consider the development of the ego, a holistic view may consider it a development of the Spirit. And therefore the question about developmental transcendence takes on a different context.
Second point, Western tradition and particularly in the psychological fields tend to promote ego development. It’s a Western context. If we look at the work of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Eric Newman, auto rank, Melanie Klein, people like that, and more recently, we’ve got Ken Wilber with his integral integral psychology.
This field of thought essentially concludes that there are recognisable stages of human development. We can look at ego development models such as spiral dynamics of Robert that on my website, quite in depth. There’s also some great videos on YouTube about that. David Hawkins map of consciousness, which I talk about a lot and see Susan cook, Reuters, ego developmental theory, amongst others.
Whereas Eastern traditions tend to have a different outlook. There doesn’t tend to be stages of development, perhaps that is more to do with a Western intellectual focus. Eastern culture has held spirituality as a primary value.
Without the intellectual nucleus. Someone perhaps dimension here is Sri Aurobindo. His book’s here. He was an Indian mystic with a cultured background without going too deep into his life. So you ever bindo was born in Calcutta, India, to a wealthy family ended up at King’s College in London. Sorry in Cambridgeshire after spending a political movement back in India fighting against British rule, he moved to Pondicherry, visited there a couple of years ago on the east coast where we developed a spiritual practice called integral yoga.
Integral yoga central theme was the evolution of human life into a divine life. He said that spirituality was not solely for liberation, but also for the transformation of human nature. So this is once again a merging of the two I found Sri Aurobindo is life intriguing. He had both Eastern and Western upbringing, having gone to a university and in the UK. And his spiritual philosophies showed that as he as he got to the latter stages of his life, he tried to integrate psychology, spirituality and the evolution of humanity.
And this brings me to my conclusion. With the work I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had in life, I think that Sri Aurobindo, his work resonates with me the most of any of the Yogi’s Eastern Western whatever I suggest read in his main body of work, the life divine, which is done there. I didn’t do it on purpose, actually, I’ll put the link in the description.
As Sri Aurobindo said, the development of the ego and the understanding of its mechanics is a critical step to spiritual evolution, trying to transcend the ego which is very spiritual, a lot of nonsense To be honest, trying to do that too early, without integration of the different levels of consciousness and stages of development can destroy somebody’s psychology.
True transcendence requires a level of development, which allows you to surrender self to divinity. This is the meaning of the biblical scripture, let God’s will be done. And I need to be clear here that this isn’t self sacrificing the common version of the term.
Like that’s not the fake altruism that is promoted all across the world. I’m talking here about a high level of being where self sacrifice is living the divine life in service to the truth. And there it is, ego transcendence and spiritual enlightenment is the angle. Ego development and the understanding of its mechanics is the means and foundation that you need to build on without this initial awareness and work. It can cause psychological destruction. And this is why psychology psychoanalysis or the mainly Western developments are so important.
But not the only the ego is in a battle, to know whether to transcend itself or not. So do you get the paradox in that situation, you’ll never want to do it because it will mean its own annihilation. So you have to get to that point where you can surrender it, rather than sacrifice it.
The only way to figure this out for yourself is to take action, interact with the world and life. Use life as your teacher. I’ve been doing this type of work self development work for around 10 years, and I’m still astounded by the complexity and the paradoxical simplicity of it.
This goes beyond having one or two non dualistic experiences and then speaking about on YouTube or Instagram, this is deep work. Follow the work to the masters and pave out your own path in the process. The world doesn’t have the answers. You are the answer.
No books, no gurus, you are your own answer. You have to walk your own path of life and interact with live so that it teaches you. You’ll only realise Dharma, your dharma. When you’re playing in the game, you don’t get that by sitting in a cave.
You know that can come afterwards when you’ve developed enough to be able to handle the transcendence. I go deeper into this kind of work through my Patreon. You can find numerous videos and audio clips and everything that I put out. It also helps me financially support this work whilst getting exclusive content. We also do live monthly group calls where we talk about this type of deeper, psycho spiritual self development work.
Take a look at that in the description. He said some great feedback. If you’ve enjoyed this video, you’d probably enjoy my summary of Michael Tsarion’s article – world in your head, where I explore the mechanics of the unconscious mind based on Tsarion’s work, you can see that up here. Be sure to like and subscribe. It helps with the algorithms and all that other good stuff.
Your attention is sacred. So I really do appreciate your watching – all the best. Have a great day.