The ego, or non-self, is a localised crystallization of consciousness manifesting as self-awareness and sense of identity. The mind and its dualistic discriminating nature is the main driving force behind the formation of the ego.
In spiritual circles, the ego is often considered as an enemy that must be destroyed at all cost. It is important to realise that the ego is not bad per se, it appears so In this world because a large majority of human beings are ruled by the mind and manifest therefore all the negative aspects associated with a vision driven by separateness.
The ego essentially is a lens, a point of focus, through which the infinite becomes finite, the objectless Presence manifests itself through a personality with defined characteristics. Before awakening, Presence seems to “disappear to itself” in the process and identify itself to the non-self. After awakening, Presence progressively starts to manifest itself consciously through a gradually transparent and transfigured personality.
The energetical process behind the formation of the ego is natural and must be understood. This process is vital and without it the infinite would not be able to manifest itself in the world of forms.
If you ever played with a magnifying glass under the sun to burn a piece of paper, you surely realised that in order to produce some serious heat you need to reduce the size of the focus point until it becomes very tiny. This analogy can be applied to the human creative expression. Identity is essentially a focus in and of consciousness on a particular set of characteristics that it can identify to. Self-awareness is the result of that focus. You become what you think you are. The clearer that definition the more confidence you will have and the more impact you will have as an individual.
As awakening is taking place, the relatively stable but temporary point in consciousness that we identified to for a long time, the ego, will eventually start to dissolve. That stage can be difficult and is often referred to as the “dark night of the soul”. The parable of the old wineskins that is found in the bible points to that mysterious process: “No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilt, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved. ” (Matt 9:17; Mk 2:22; Lk 5:37-39)