The fantasy known as “no ego”
Referencing the map for a moment, we can see that the entire constellation of ideas I’m calling the folk theory of enlightenment find their center of gravity in the notion of “no ego.” There are millions of people around the world fervently and sincerely trying to destroy their own sense of themselves as a path to nondual enlightenment.
Our sense of ourselves is our social nav system. Nondual enlightenment does not affect the nav system, as it’s always shining within the nav system’s functional awareness. Every enlightened person on the planet has a nav system. We experience our nav system, our sense of self and place in the world, as our personality.
But what we don’t need is to be that personality. We aren’t ever that anyway. None of us. But most hold an idea that we are. There’s a lot to support the idea. Here’s my body, I’m somehow in it. That’s all it takes—the idea of there being a “me” contained by my body—to make a me. That’s what the Upanishads refer to as the ahamkara, and that’s what’s been called the “ego” ever since Helena Blavatsky and others brought home the booty of the Vedas to misconstrue for the Western world.
So we can all stop hating on ourselves, and love who we are, and then learn firsthand that we aren’t. Expecting to lose our sense of ourselves in order to know ourselves can only result in an occluding idea about not knowing ourselves. The misuse of the term “ego” by gurus has traditionally been a significant business driver, but only by means of the prophylactic effect of the notion.