Is the ego connected to the soul

The ego and the soul

There are two essential and clearly differentiated qualities of experience within the framework of human experience: ego quality and soul quality.

The ego, that is the aspect that takes care that we can orientate ourselves on earth and are capable of acting, it is responsible for control and the avoidance of lack - the soul, these are our talents, the desires, the longings, creativity, a being that exists in infinite abundance and joy.

What is the ego?

Most adults are familiar with the ego: it is omnipresent in everyday life, and most of the demands that the state and society place on individuals relate to ego functions.

One could consider the ego as the Helmsman in the earthly world call. It is the function that takes care of the well-being and preservation of the body, pays bills, looks at the clock, strives for recognition, keeps the agenda and makes shopping lists. Ego thinks rationally and is emotionally motivated.

The development of the ego

The ego does not exist from birth, but arises in the course of life: a baby does not yet have an ego: it cannot distinguish between what belongs to its body and what does not. It is only when it comes into contact with its surroundings, takes things in their hands and in their mouth, touches them, smells, tastes, chews on them that they get to know the differences and find out: if I bite my toe, it takes away from me - when I bite the pacifier, I don't feel anything. The interaction of the body with the environment gradually defines what “I” is and what “not me” is.

Later on, the emotional content is added - "I feel sad, happy, angry, I want to eat, I want to sleep, I say no" - the longer people experience themselves as a separate entity, separated from the rest of the world. Whereby the word «No!» is very important and most children in the defiance phase very enthusiastically explore its effects on parents and siblings as soon as they discover it. You can make people angry - sad - angry - that triggers a lot of very interesting reactions!

Language, a tool of the ego

The ego is also very closely related to the use of language. Language is based on separation and differentiation: a dog is a dog, a dog is not a tree. Speech is better suited to separate than to connect. Involuntarily, most people tend to disagree rather than agree; prefer to emphasize the differences, not the similarities; and it often happens that two people argue about a thing because of different words and designations - and at some point they discover that they basically referred to the same content with these different words, and the whole conflict was just a sham conflict, not one, based on real differences.

Language creates misunderstandings and errors; the abstract concepts that it can provide can lead to wars, between capitalism and communism, between Islam and Christianity, between Catholics and Protestants ... and these are "just" words! And all too often there are very similar or even the same needs behind these words: for protection, security, for prosperity, for enjoyment, for joy. But language can divide what is not at all separate.

The ego, a lack being

The ego is inherently one Deficiency beings. His goal is not to let a deficiency arise anywhere: Ego does not want to starve, thirst or freeze; Ego does not want to be despised and left alone. As soon as a deficiency is felt, the ego becomes active and tries everything it can to either remedy this deficiency - or to repress it and forget it.

If we imagine a person who lives exclusively, completely and successfully from the ego, then that is a person who is well deserved, well dressed, respected in the community and successful in his profession, someone who masters and respects social conventions . Typically it is a man, one before his mid-life crisis, where he begins to wonder: what now? Is that all? Why is all the success suddenly stale and empty?

Living out of the ego can lead to material security and social success; but it cannot make you happy. That is the job of the soul.

The ego in the Christian tradition

In the Christian tradition, attachment to the ego is tied to seven character traits, which are called the seven main vices, or - better known - the seven deadly sins:

  • Arrogance, arrogance, vanity
  • Avarice, greed, greed
  • Lust for pleasure, lust, debauchery
  • Anger, anger, retribution, vengefulness
  • Envy, resentment, jealousy
  • Gluttony, excess, voracity
  • Indolence, laziness, cowardice, ignorance

All these qualities lead to taking as much as possible of earthly goods, the material like money and possessions and the immaterial like recognition - and giving as little as possible of them to others.

Hieronymus Bosch: the seven deadly sins
© public domain

What is the soul

The soul is that part of us that is in this world, but not of this world. It is the personality, the will, the joy, the creativity - it is playful and full of expression. And she is not at all interested in earthly, sensible subjects. Our deepest longings, our life's work, our calling are contained in the soul.

The body is the clothing of the soul

Every person is an embodied soul - a soul that has made a dwelling out of flesh and blood and uses the body as a communication instrument and tool to work in the realm of earthly and matter. The soul's job is to determine WHAT is done in a life. It defines the abilities that a person has (and chooses the parents and the environment of the new person accordingly), and it defines what experiences this person should have during his life, what tasks a person is faced with. The deepest longings and dreams of a person are expressions of the soul. Children often know exactly where their journey should go from an early age. Many people who excelled in their field knew where they wanted to go and they said it: “I want to be the best tennis player in the world; I want to be the president of my country. " - and they strive towards this goal with all their might.

The soul carries the meaning of life

These soul impulses are no flashbacks and whims, but they are constant for many years. They can be forgotten for long periods and reappear at some point with the same freshness, strength and fascination as before. If the ego is the helmsman, the soul is the star that we follow on our journey and that shows the way to new horizons.

The impulses of the soul can relativize the needs of the ego and in extreme cases completely override them. For those who follow such an impulse, material security, social standing, protection and well-being of the body are no longer an end in themselves, but at most a means to an end - or it is even completely neglected. Van Gogh is an example of a person who lived very strongly from the soul: the only thing that interested him were his pictures - and that interested him so much that he easily neglected his physical needs. He lacked a strong ego aspect that made him suitable for everyday use, but he made wonderful art.

The soul is an abundance being

In contrast to the deficient ego, the soul is one Abundance beings. Her domain is poetry, truth, meaning, art, perfection. She does not ask, like the ego, “what am I missing?”, She asks “which expression do I choose?”. Where the ego says “no, I don't want that”, the soul says “yes, I want that”. Soul quality feels like a quality of rightness and peace - it is an inner peace that cannot be destroyed by external circumstances. Even if a lot goes wrong on the outside, control over one's own situation and one's own life has been lost, the deep, constant feeling can still be there: everything is fine as it is. There is no strife, no bitterness - it is the way it is, and it is right the way it is.

How do soul and ego work together?

Ego and soul are both part of the human experience: there is a soul that wishes to experience certain earthly experiences - so it creates a body, comes into the world as a child, and an ego develops so that this embodied soul can be in orientate the world and become capable of acting. If everything works like clockwork, this soul is allowed to develop its ego on the one hand, but on the other hand it does not forget to perceive the soul impulses and to implement them on earth. Such a child will have parents and teachers who recognize and support his soul needs and help him to implement them on earth; but who also ensure that they are trained and competent in the things of the ego, so that as an adult they know and master social conventions, and are able to take care of the needs of their body, to earn money, to run a household. .. Such a person will have a full, contented life. Not a life that knows no challenges and problems - but a rich, intense life, and at the same time a life that enriches other people as well.

Stumbling blocks in ego-soul cooperation

As a rule, however, this development does not proceed without stumbling blocks. Our society is primarily geared towards the needs of the ego. "Learn a decent job!" is a much more common statement than «Do whatever inspires and inspires you!» Much more value is placed on people becoming a “useful member of society”, paying taxes, acquiring property and aligning themselves with the prevailing norms and conventions. Whether this person is happy, satisfied and fulfilled in what he / she does is irrelevant, or maybe just a nice bonus - but not something that should be striven for with all your strength, heart and soul.

The role of the soul in the future of the earth

However, this is about to change. Technical development has progressed so far, at least in the western part of the world, that only a fraction of human resources are needed to guarantee a comfortable life for all people on the material level - and the other resources would be available to support themselves To dedicate longings to the soul and to realize them. We are in a transition phase: unemployment is still largely perceived as a problem rather than an opportunity. Depression - the sickness of futility, the sickness of the lost soul - is widespread. And all too often, today's children find their way around this crazy, contradicting world, and all too often they find no one to help them discover their souls. But where the need is greatest, there is also the solution - there is change in the world, and in all areas of life more and more emphasis is placed on soulfulness, even if it is not necessarily called that, but rather: the meaning of life, Quality, sustainability, beauty, love.

Differentiate ego and soul impulses

Ego and soul feel very different, just as they are very different in their nature: the ego moves in the world of polarity and only understands this, whereas the soul comes from the area of ​​unity and creates a connection between the world the unity - the divine world, the kingdom of heaven - and the earthly reality, the polar reality.

Duality and polarity
© Barbara Seiler 2008

It can happen that a movement in polarity is confused with a soul feeling - and from the outside these different impulses can also have very similar effects on life.

Soul impulses are deep feelings that keep popping up and that can give our life a direction.

Soul impulses are not emotional. An emotion is in the earthly realm of polarity, so it is a movement on the horizontal polar axis in the scheme: the pleasant is assessed as good and worth striving for, the unpleasant as bad and avoidable. Having a lot of money is good, and having no money is bad. Not in pain is good, in pain is bad - these are ego things.

The soul's impulses do not depend on whether they are perceived as pleasant or unpleasant. It's more about a feeling of correctness that can arise regardless of the external situation. Having no money is uncomfortable, scary and the ego can despair - it can still feel good and right from the perspective of the soul. It can feel very strange to experience it - a person is faced with a frightening, painful situation, the ego almost goes nuts - and yet there is at the same time completely incomprehensible calm and security and the clear message: everything is fine as it is is. It is perfect as it is.

Many people experience their personal catastrophes: they lose a job they love, they lose their life partner, they start an apprenticeship and have to quit shortly before the end, they get sick or have a serious accident ... all things that are extremely threatening to the ego - that is, things that disrupt material and social well-being, that trigger existential fears. Many people then go through these crises, just like people do - with muddles, with collapses, with falling and getting up again and moving on - and sometimes it can be, many years later, that they say: this catastrophe was the best, that could happen to me!

You have given up many old beliefs and a new belief; they have changed their outlook on life, changed their relationships with themselves and other people, and usually what they do afterwards is closer to their soul desires than what they did before. It may well be that for a lifetime after these events they have less money, less prestige, suffer from permanent physical limitations - but they do what their soul desires, and that is what matters.


© Barbara Seiler 2008 -
This text can be passed on with the addition of this footnote.

Web links


In his translations of the canonical and apocryphal gospels, Jean-Yves Leloup discusses the essence of Christianity and the ways that are shown in it to live the soul. The gospel of Mary Magdalene is particularly interesting for women, as the well-known figure from the canonical gospels appears in a new light.