Ask Deepak: What's the Difference Between My Ego and Myself?
By Deepak Chopra
March 24, 2010
Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: Dear Mr. Chopra, in your esteemed opinion, would it be accurate to say that as there is "one ego projecting as many," I am all that exists (from as far as I am concerned or anything that concerns me), and all others I see and interact with are just aspects of myself (denied and embraced) that I am projecting outward and interacting with by choice? If this is the case, I really could turn "them" on or off from the TV of my mind at any time and "they" are literally no longer there or "there they are!" I am referring to past wishful thinking of simply not giving my attention to someone or something unwanted. Is it really just me out here with the remote in my hand? Have fun with this one! I know if anyone can answer this question, it's you.
— Chad R., Nassau, Bahamas
Thanks for the vote of confidence; I'll do the best I can. The inner and outer worlds are intimately connected, but this connection changes as awareness expands. The most limited awareness is ego-bound. The ego may enjoy the fantasy that it is at the center of the world, but, in reality, there is a serious disconnect. The inner world runs in isolation, and the ego peers out at events and people that have little or no connection to it. This is the state of separation, in which "I" feel very alone. Sometimes "I" use my solitude to feel all-powerful, but most of the time "I" am secretly lonely and afraid, desperately trying to make connections.
It isn't natural to exist in separation, and when awareness begins to expand, the situation shifts. Inner and outer worlds begin to reflect each other. This happens in ways both ordinary and extraordinary. A person feels safer and more at home. Natural forces don't act as agents of threat and destruction. One's wishes and dreams start to bear fruit with fewer struggles. It soon dawns that nature or even God could be on your side, not acting through blind chance or a hidden desire to punish you.
These are actually revelations of the self. Nature and God serve as outer aspects or projections. Being infinite, they have no problem serving to mirror your awareness, but it would be a fantasy to think that a little divine aid and comfort makes you a god, in charge of the world and other people.
Consciousness still has a long way to expand, but the direction of the future is clear. The limited ego will lose its dominant influence. The outer world will draw closer to the inner world. The self will become more intimate with itself. The presence of the soul will gradually manifest. At the end of this path lies the state of unity, where there is no division between inner and outer. This can occur because both worlds are created from the same thing: pure consciousness.
When you finally arrive at the point where you know yourself to be nothing but consciousness, the demands of the ego will wither and blow away like dust. You no longer have a personal stake in the world. You live a life in which "I and thou" are equally sacred. At that point, the fantasy you mentioned will come true. You will hold the remote that makes every other person appear and disappear. I hope you will have a blast when that happens, but the bad news is that you will have shed your ego long, long before it does.