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Ego Deficiency

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Ego Deficiency?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Ego Deficiency

Adjusting Life According to Objective Truth

The hope of resolving inadequacy is in the realization of the Citadel aspect. This implies that one is willing to live one's life from the perspective of objective Truth, which takes into consideration the fact of Being, without denying physical reality. Although all students deal with ego inadequacy, only a minority move steadily towards resolving it. This is because not many are willing to adjust their lives according to objective Truth. This deep surrender is rare and requires a great deal of maturity.

Identification with Being Inadequate

One major obstacle we face in living according to the truth is our identification with being inadequate, small, weak, and impotent. We believe that the true life is for big people, for people who are serious and capable. We sit around and wait for the deficient kid to disappear before we start living our life. Usually we’re not even aware of what is in our way. We cover up our core deficiency with all kinds of ideas: I’m not interested; it’s not the right time; it’s not the right situation; the other person is not letting me; I still need to have more experiences of this and that. All of these responses obscure our deep sense that we can’t hack it. Simple as that. We’re not up to it; we haven’t got what it takes. And we’re not truthful enough with ourselves to see that we’re just chicken. To live according to the truth, we need to confront our core sense of deficiency. We need to admit that we’re chicken. Not acting is not a matter of not knowing; we have all the information we need. We’ve been talking, learning, experiencing, and understanding for years. We have a thousand times more information than we need. We simply haven’t got the heart to live according to what we know. We haven’t got the guts. Instead of disguising our deficiency with excuses about money and time, we need to confront the truth of our fear. We feel small and inadequate; we’re chicken and refuse to act. What if we live with that truth for a while instead of believing we’re enlightened but other people are not allowing us to live in an enlightened way? This deep identification with inadequacy is covered up by all kinds of excuses. We think we have to resolve that inadequacy, get rid of it somehow, before we can act in the world. Otherwise, life feels too overwhelming, too big. Most of us put off living according to the truth we know until we feel big enough, strong enough, and adequate enough to act in a more grown up way.

Inevitability of Inadequacy

As long as one takes himself to be an individual and a self based on self-image, there is bound to be a basic sense of inadequacy at the core of the identification. Ego inevitably contains a deep, basic sense of, and fear of, inadequacy. This is of course why the development of the Personal Essence ultimately exposes the inadequacy; it is the antithesis of the arising fullness, integrity, confidence and strength of Being.

Resolution of Ego Deficiency

A major step towards resolution of the state of inadequacy is the integration of the third of objective dimension of Essence. The entry to this dimension occurs by confronting and understanding the defensive nature of ego. One need not exert any effort to focus one's attention on this aspect of ego. The defensive function is usually at its peak when one is dealing with ego inadequacy. The strongest and most tenacious defenses and resistances come up to ward off the awareness of inadequacy.

The Deeper Resolution of Ego Inadequacy

We have been discussing the process of personalization of the Cosmic Consciousness, which shows the direct relation of the Personal Essence to the formless realms of Being. It indicates, in an actual personal experience, that individuation is really the Cosmic Conscious Presence individualizing and manifesting as the Personal Essence. This process is also the deeper resolution of ego inadequacy. It is easy to see here that ego inadequacy is not only a consequence of the loss of contact with Essence, but also due to the separateness of ego boundaries that isolates the ego individuality from the Cosmic Presence. The Personal Essence has no inadequacy because it is directly connected to, and hence completely supported by, the Cosmic Loving Presence. Ego boundaries leave the ego individuality without the inner support of the various aspects of Essence, and without the comprehensive support of the Cosmic Essence (Consciousness). So just as we saw before that ego inadequacy is due to a mistaken sense of self, now we see that it is also due to the presence of ego boundaries. Both intrapsychic self-structures, the sense of identity and the sense of separateness, although indispensable to ego existence, are the reasons for its deep and basic inadequacy. Inadequacy is the deep nature of ego, due to the mere presence of its structure.

The Sense of Smallness that Restricts Development

The experience of expansion involves delight, beauty and the sense of adventure. But sooner or later one does come upon one's personal limitations. When an individual is experiencing expansion in a certain realm, a part of him that feels he cannot do it, that the expansion is too much, comes to the surface. He starts feeling a sense of deficiency, smallness, weakness and inadequacy. This inadequacy is rarely felt as directly related to the process of realization itself, but manifests in some situation in the student's life. The root of this inadequacy is the sense of smallness and incapacity that keeps one at a certain level of development... Essential realization puts a much greater pressure on one's capacities, and sooner or later a sense of inadequacy emerges.

Two Levels of Ego Deficiency

So we have seen two levels of inadequacy or ego deficiency: the disconnection from Being and the fact of boundedness itself, which makes one unable to experience the support and the holding of Being. In working with the present Holy Idea, we can understand this phenomenon even more accurately as the lack of harmony with the unity of functioning, due to vanity —the conviction that one is an independent and separate doer. So the belief that one has autonomous functional capacity separate from the rest of existence is the deepest cause of the sense of lack. The fact that we believe we are separate doers puts us in a state of helplessness, which is experienced as inadequacy.

Facets of Unity, pg. 279

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