Are you living from intuition or ego?


I've been teaching a workshop series on practices for mental balance and clarity here in NYC, and one of the big pillars of clarity is intuition. Intuition is a handy umbrella term for the deeper voice of the soul communing with the Supersoul, which is, according to yogic wisdom, the aspect of all-knowing divinity present in all living beings - be they plant, animal, or human. Supersoul is even said to be vibrating in the core of every atom.

In nature we can see that animals and plants have instincts and inner guidance in harmony with an organized and organizing force. They operate without question, synchronized with the seasons, their primal needs, and the laws of nature. We humans on the other hand, often operate from the mind, or a false ego - a sense of self which is constructed and temporary, inherently divorced from divine guidance. But it doesn't have to be that way! With meditation and self-observation, tuning in and listening to your inner wisdom, intuition can shine louder and illuminate your mind.

Here are 5 characteristics of the voice of false ego to help you re-orient:

1. Ego is Logical – Intuition is Creative

Often the ego’s voice will sound logical and rational. The advice is based on a past that no longer exists.

It may sound like, “Of course do this because it worked for you in the past or this method worked for other people.” Intuition rarely sounds logical or rational. It is the creative voice, the solution that seems to come out of left field.

2. Ego is Fear Based – Intuition is based on Love

Messages from the ego will often be cloaked in fear.

“You need to take that boring evening class to keep your competitive edge or other people will pass you by.” “Keep that job that exhausts you, it gives you a regular pay check. Otherwise you will have no home; how will you survive?” The intuitive voice is rooted in love and reminds you that you have the support of the Universe every step of the way. Often with intuition you do not receive the whole picture all at once; it is one step at a time.

3. Ego Sounds Harsh – Intuition is Neutral

The ego’s voice is judgmental to the point of being abusive, telling you things about yourself to make you believe that you are a bad person and not to be trusted. This will make you treat yourself in disrespectful and unloving ways. Intuition is neutral in energy and these messages make you treat yourself in loving and respectful ways.

4. Ego Protects a Mental Image  – Intuition Protects your Soul’s Journey

The ego is invested in maintaining a mental image you have of yourself. For instance, you may be a supervisor of people  in the workplace. Supervisor is the mental image (ego identification) and with this comes a lot of baggage including all the ways the ego thinks you should be treated by others. If someone doesn’t play the game and surrender their ego to your ego, perhaps by speaking the Truth, ego will feel threatened and lash out. Ego messages will include, “I need to put that person back in line. They need to pay for disrespecting me"—all in an effort to protect a mental image which is untrue. 

Intuition sees the truth that we are all spiritual beings having human experiences. We are all equal. Hierarchies are created by the ego to keep us separate and unconscious to the Truth. There is nothing to protect; our true identity can neither be harmed nor injured.

5.  Ego Jumps Around – Intuition is Consistent

Often the ego’s advice will jump around from one message to the next, sometimes contradicting itself. It is like a thief that tries every way possible to get into your house. The messages you receive from your intuition are steady and consistent; you will often hear the same words or phrases over and over again.