Words on the Ego (The Mirror of Yoga)

I would like to share with you today some notes on the ego from an excellent book called “The Mirror of Yoga” by Richard Freeman in which the author gives an enlightening overview of the many teachings, practices and scriptures that serve as the basis for all the schools of yoga – hatha, bhakti, jnana, karma, tantra and others. 

In the quote below, Richard describes the reasons for and the dangers of the Ego: 

“…the elusive ego is fed by a need for certainty; thus even within a well-intentioned yoga practice the ego can easily surface if we transform any aspect of the practice into a formula we know.


The ego desperately wants to do this because its entire function is to reduce everything, including the whole yoga tradition, to a formula that it can grasp and know definitively in order to say, “I know it! That way I don’t have to do it. I’ve been there, done that. What’s next” It wants to reduce the truth; it even wants to diminish God to a simple idol in order to be able to say, “i got it!” In this way the ego can reign supreme over all creation.


This, of course, is a perverse extension of what the healthy, beneficial process of ego actually is, which is to give us a reference point from which to begin observation and to maintain the health of the body and mind in relationship with the environment. But with the blink of an eye, the distorted ego is ready to lord over the body, the mind, all others, and eventually all of creation, which is the ultimate goal of every ego run amuck and which, as history has shown us time and again, can become a bit of a problem.”