It has been opined on a number of occasions that the ego, that sense of I-ness, has a function; it has a task to fulfil. What that task is, I must confess, no longer bothers or even interests me very much. What does interest me, however, is the study of the energies that seem to drive the forces for ego-manifestation. Counter or circumvent those energies, and the ego is brought under some measure of control. I am in no doubt about the strength of the force that the ego can exert in its drive towards some kind of manifestation. Indeed, it is so powerful that I feel helpless against it. Unable to watch the process of manifestation when it is taking place, because it happens in an instant, it is only when I am released from the grip of my ego that the awareness dawns that I have been some place else.
One particular form of energy onto which the ego latches its hooks is the energy involved in the maintaining of prejudice and self deception. All too often, and without realising it, a mode of mental and emotional behaviour has been adopted that may be at complete variance to anything approaching reality. Only later, or sometimes but dimly whilst it is happening, is it seen how easily we have been hijacked by our egos. There was a time when I simply wrote off these descents into unreality as a passing phase of some ill-conceived fantasy. It'll pass, I thought; it's not that important. But it was important, because every time it happened the descent became easier until eventually it became habitual.
It was as if I were walking the circumference of a sphere, taking a great circle route that made, from long usage, an ever-deepening trench. So long as I stayed in the safe trap that was the trench, I continued to react unthinkingly. I needed to climb out of that trench, push my head above the parapet so to speak, before I could thoughtfully respond. And for every prejudice, there was yet another trench. Far beneath my feet, inside the sphere, turned the clockwork mechanism of my ego.
The problem with habitual behaviours, whatever their kind, deemed good or bad, is that they appear to arrogate to themselves their own, semi-independent personalities. They cling to life even when they may have outgrown their original validity and usefulness. I said above, whatever their kind, deemed good or bad, because it seems to me that prejudices 'in favour' are just as suspect as those 'against'. If I unwisely choose to allow a shell of prejudice to grow, then I build a bar to the experience of truth and, even further, an obstacle to union with the divine Ground of my Being. But removing that shell is far from easy. Self deception can be very subtle and difficult to detect. However, the consequences of rooting out that deception, and its associated denial, is an unimaginable, uplifting relief, and an ascent to a new sense of Beingness.