An Anti-Evolutionary Force
There is a profound contrast between the enlightened perspective, which is the absolute, universal, and impersonal view of the Authentic Self, and the unenlightened perspective, which is the relative, separate, and personal view of the narcissistic ego. It is literally the difference between heaven and hell.
When I speak about ego, I am not using the term in the psychological sense, which usually refers to what we could call a self-organizing function in the psyche. In an enlightenment context, the word ego refers to something else altogether. Ego is the deeply ingrained, compulsive need to remain separate and superior at all times, in all places, under all circumstances. In contrast to the inherent freedom of the Self Absolute and the fearless passion of the Authentic Self, ego is experienced as an emotional quagmire of fear and attachment. It is the part of you that has no interest whatsoever in freedom, feels victimized by life, avoids anything that contradicts its self-image, is thoroughly invested in its personal fears and desires, and lives only for itself. Ego is an anti-evolutionary force of powerful inertia in human nature—attached to the past, terrified of change, and seeking only to preserve the status quo.
Ego is the one and only one obstacle to enlightenment. If we want to be free, if we want to be enlightened, we have to pay the price. The great wisdom traditions have always told us that the price is ego death, and in evolutionary enlightenment it is no different: if the Authentic Self is going to act through us as the uninhibited expression of evolution in action, then our attachment to ego must be transcended.Andrew Cohen