“Let go My Eggo!” my siblings and I shouted at each other across the breakfast table as we arm-wrestled over the last waffle. Our tug of war continued until Mom stepped in and cut the waffle into parts, then placed a slice on each plate. As we buttered our breakfast delight, we turned our argument into laugher.
These days, the “Let go my eggo” phrase reminds me of how I sometimes still cling to my false ego like I used to cling to that last waffle. I compare myself to others. Judge my body. Value myself by what I do or don’t do. I fight with my false ego way too much.
What’s the False Ego?
The term “false ego” refers to a distorted or inflated sense of our personality based on external factors such as social status, achievements, material possessions, or the opinions of others. It’s a construct of the mind that leads us to identify with a self-image that’s not aligned with who we really are—our true, authentic nature. Our false ego becomes a cloud that veils us from our True Self. Our false self clings to and defends what we mistakenly believe is our personality.
Living from our false self results in an inner conflict as we struggle with our self-image. It’s the source of many difficulties in relationships. It causes us to live in survival mode, trying to project and defend who we think we are. If we don’t let go of our ego, we hinder our personal and spiritual growth.
Why do we cling to our false self?
The “Let go my eggo” commercial can serve as a metaphor for how and why we cling to our false selves.
Here’s some ways we can look at the commercial to gain insight on our own behavior:
In the commercial, the child holds onto the waffle, which symbolizes how we often tightly hold onto our false self-image, fearing to let it go. As the child clings to the eggo, we often cling to our constructed identities, even if they no longer serve us.
Resistance to Change
The character in the commercial is resistant to letting go of the eggo, even though it causes a fight. We often resist letting go of our false self because it’s familiar and feels safe, even if it causes suffering.
Fear of Vulnerability
Letting go of the waffle requires vulnerability and a willingness to face the unknown. Similarly, letting go of our false self can be scary because it means facing our true selves, including our insecurities and imperfections.
When the child in the commercial finally lets go of the waffle, it’s a moment of liberation. Similarly, letting go of our false self can lead to a sense of freedom and authenticity.
Discovering our True Self
After letting go of the waffle, the child can express himself freely and enjoy the moment. Letting go of our false self lets us discover and express our true, authentic selves. We’re able to leave behind our idealized self-image and embrace our true, imperfect selves. We realize we need Divine Grace to become fully human and achieve our life’s purpose.
What’s the True Self?
Our “true self” is the deepest, most authentic aspect of our being that transcends the ego, conditioning, and external influences. It’s the essence of who we are beyond our physical bodies, thoughts, emotions, and social identities.
Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and spiritual writer, often referred to the true self as the “inner self.” He believed this inner self is the authentic and unique essence of an individual, which is intimately connected to God. It’s our soul.
Merton emphasized the importance of discovering and nurturing our inner self through contemplative prayer and silence. Merton’s writings often explore the true self and its relationship with God, as well as its potential for transformation and union with the divine. He saw this inner self as the source of our deepest longing for communion with God and the foundation for living a meaningful and fulfilling life.
How do we let go of our ego?
Embracing authenticity and letting go of the false ego leads to a more fulfilling and harmonious way of life. Discovering our True Self—our Self in God—is a life-long journey. With God’s grace and your desire to grow, here are ways you can unearth who you truly are:
Regular meditation allows you to quiet the mind, transcend egoic thoughts, and connect with your inner essence. Contemplative practices help you reflect on profound spiritual truths.
Engage in self-inquiry to understand the nature of your true self. The question “Who am I?” can lead you to insights about your spiritual nature.
Surrender and Trust
Surrendering the ego involves relinquishing the need for control and trusting in a higher power or universal intelligence that guides your path.
Explore the wisdom of spiritual texts and teachings from various traditions. They often have guidance on transcending the ego and realizing your true nature.
Service and Compassion
Acts of selfless service and compassion can dissolve egoic boundaries, helping you recognize the interconnectedness of all beings.
Devotion and Prayer
Cultivate devotion through prayer or devotion to God as you understand the Divine and recognize there is a power greater than the individual ego.
Practice non-attachment to material possessions, outcomes, and even to your own identity. Recognize that your true essence transcends worldly attachments and achievements.
Contemplate the impermanent nature of all things, including the ego. Realizing that nothing in the material world is permanent can lead to a deeper understanding of your spiritual essence.
Seek guidance from spiritual teachers or mentors who have walked the path before you. Their wisdom can provide valuable insights and support
Cultivate a sense of gratitude for the present moment and the blessings in your life. This can shift your focus away from egoic desires and towards a deeper sense of fulfillment.
Recognize that the ego often operates in a dualistic framework of right/wrong, good/bad. Embrace the idea that truth is sometimes composed of a combination of the both-and of things and transcends polarities. Like God gives us both the sun and the moon to guide our way, the Creator often reveals a deeper truth to us as we hold the tension of opposites and look for the combined wisdom they contain.
Silence and Stillness
Spend time in each day in silence and stillness, allowing yourself to connect with the profound depths of your being beyond the chatter of the egoic mind.
Remember, spiritual growth is a deeply personal journey. Find practices and approaches that resonate with you individually. Regular practice and a genuine intention to transcend the ego can lead to a deeper realization of your True Self and a more authentic way of living.
Like the children in the eggo commercial, let go of your ego and live your True Self!
PS-For a Guided Meditation Titled: Who Are You—Unveiling Your True Self,
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