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  • Ruth Schapira

Soul versus Ego


A story told from the soul perspective is “the story beneath the ego story, the one with the thread of truth running through it..."

~ Parker Palmer

So, what is the ego story? It's the one that we tell that makes us look good, enforcing the protective shell around us, the one that hides our vulnerability to others.


But what about self-esteem, isn't that a good thing?


Of course we need a sure sense of self, which is a little about ego strength, but when the ego overtakes us and suffocates our true selves, our souls are in danger of retreating.

Our egos often get in the way of our relationships. When we fear the diminishment of ourselves, our honor, our pride...that is our ego talking. It's not that having an ego is bad, but when it becomes the primary way we interact with others, or the primary way that we hope to connect with a Higher Being, it becomes a barrier to an authentic relationship.

One of the challenges of trying to lead a more spiritually pure existence is paying attention to the inner voice more, the one that rings true with authenticity. If we continually ignore this part of ourselves, it becomes buried under a pile of rationalizations.

In contrast, our ego-voice is the one that shouts at us from the moment we get up, asking for attention. It takes training to recognize the voice for what it is, a petulant child who constantly seeks needs to be met, seeks honor and recognition.

The midrash says that Torah was given to us in the desert because it represents the untamed wilderness, where openness is the state of being, and that unless we too, become open and free with no boundaries (ego fortifications) we will not be ready to receive its treasures.

To create a connection with God, we need to escape our preconceived notions. As Avraham did, we need to leave our former place of comfort and go into uncharted territory. We need to remove the filters of ego and self which will only serve to hold us within the boundaries of our experiences. We need to become “Ownerless” in order to be open to God.


~ Adapted from The Jewish View of Spirituality. Haber and Sedley.


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