Most are conscious of the personality ego ..
but fewer are aware of the individuality ego.
The ego is the medium of our expression whilst we live here in this physical world which some call duality (or physicality). It is also the vehicle of our experience of Life
Personality and Individuality
There is a myth in the "Spiritual Paths" (that many follow or try to achieve) that the ego has to be "killed off" or repressed.
If there were no ego, we would all be very cloned zombies .. wandering around in a trance like state of "ParaBrahmin" or Universal consciousness .. totally absorbed in Self in a constant state of meditation .. unable to do anything.
The Elements of Being
In order to better illustrate some of what follows, for those who are unfamiliar, the "five elements" of traditional Eastern and Western Spirituality can be (very simplistically) listed as ..
The Heart is the mid point around which the other elements reflect .. so Spirit or Ether can be considered the mirror image of the physical .. and so on .. and here I am not talking about the physical heart but the < Heart - Womb (female) > and < Heart - Hara (male) > both of which exist as a further layer of unconscious polarity.
As we move from the centre (Heart) each of the elements contains all of the other four .. and their mirrors. So fire exists in Ether, Air, Water and Earth.
The only place that Fire is immutable .. both creator and destroyer .. is in the Heart. As we move from the Heart, fire becomes more dominantly either creator or destroyer.
The personality ego is the exclusive "I"
which sees "I am separate" or "apart from".
Personality ego comes from knowledge and beliefs .. learned or otherwise and is the expression of reaction or to expectation - usually fear based.
It is a conditional expression in that the response given comes from either the unconscious mind or from a thought .. both of which follow the process
"I have a thought .. therefore I am"
It is an expression by the mind, from the mind, of the imbalance of air as separate from the other elements. It is not expression from the heart. The stimulus behind the personality ego is always the mirror of mind - the emotions (water)
It's who the mind (Air) thinks "I am" resultant from all of the conscious and unconscious programs.
It is reactive .. and emotional .. at not always rational in its sequence .. and is polarised as either constructive or destructive.
It can be expressed as the polarities of < Fire in Air - Fire in Water > and/or < Fire in Spirit - Fire in Earth >. The reflections (dualities of expression) always exist.
Thus, Knowledge to the personality ego " I " always has its opposite in (perceived) lack of knowledge, and it is seen that experience is needed in order to gain more knowledge.
The individuality ego is the inclusive "I" which sees
"I am an expression of a part of .. ".
Individuality ego comes from knowing .. the combination of knowledge and experience awakening what some call wisdom .. as the influences of both of the positive and negative polarities are understood and taken back to "opening the Heart".
The Heart (individuality) can not be opened if the personality Fire in the elements of Water or Earth are denied.
The Individuality (ego) is an expression of I am .. therefore thoughts come to me ... but I can discern the nature and source of these thoughts. (Wisdom)
It is an expression of the Heart .. the immutable element of fire.
It is neither constructive or destructive and is the expression of passion based on compassion (which is the passion of communion - or common union)
Individuality acts as a very strong mirror for the personality ego which often cannot discern the difference. It can trigger the emotional response of the personality I but does not react to reactions .. rather it responds through Wisdom.
Wisdom is the product of Knowing (a combination of knowledge, understanding and self experience) Self .. the interpenetration of the five elements.
The Christ and the Buddha had egos .. their individuality was very different in its passionate expression but in essence they both came from the heart.
It is the self-limiting personalities of many of the followers who read their words who have a personality ego response to their individual expressions ..
yet, when the personality realm of the mind descends to the heart, the individuality ego sees the inclusivity of the essence, the message of both .. as being individualised expression of the same essence.
It is the personality ego that is not the expression of truth .. it thinks what it knows is truth .. but underneath the expression there is emotion .. either recognised or denied .. which is the impetus for the expression .. the need to express authority or victimhood
whereas the individuality ego expresses Truth without having to think about either its expression or the reaction to that expression .. the individuality ego does not need to express authority or victimhood
The individuality ego expression is the expression of heart fire passion in the moment (Wisdom expression based on Knowing) without condition or expectation of outcome.
Enlightenment occurs when the mind descends into a heart which has been opened by the fire purifying earth and water - the true (esoteric) meaning of the lotus.