Ego’s Grip: Why Your Emotions Control You

Jul 3, 2024

As humans sharing the same planet and breathing the same air, we experience such a vast spectrum of emotions. From the elation of a personal triumph to the crushing despair of loss, our individual responses to life’s experiences can be vastly different. Have you ever wondered why? What is the relationship between ego and emotions that leads us to these experiences? Let’s delve into the ancient yogic concept of the ego and how it shapes our perception of pleasure, pain, fear, and greed.

The Veil of the Ego: Unmasking the Source of Our Experience

Yoga philosophy posits the existence of an “ego,” a sense of self created by unfulfilled desires carried over from past lives (vasanas). This ego acts as a veil, obscuring our true nature as pure energy, the Self. The ego mistakenly identifies itself and the mind as the source of all experience. It fails to recognize the underlying energy field, Chakshu, that powers our senses and fuels our every action.

The Illusion of Control and the Cycle of Attachment and Aversion

Unaware of this fundamental truth, the ego believes it’s in control. It creates a system of likes and dislikes, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. This creates a cycle of attachment and aversion that binds us to the material world. We are drawn to what pleases us, forming attachments that limit our freedom. Conversely, what brings us pain triggers sorrow and a desire to withdraw. The stronger these aversions, the more anxious and fearful we become.

Fear of Death: A Misunderstanding of Our True Nature

Stretching Hands Grey

Perhaps the most potent fear we experience is the fear of death. We are conditioned to fear the unknown from the moment we are born. Yet, death is simply a transition, a gateway back to our true energetic essence. We can truly conquer this fear by recognizing ourselves as immortal energy beings, transcending the limitations of the physical body.

Dissolving the Duality: Meditation as a Tool for Liberation

The constant push and pull between attachment to life’s pleasures and the fear of death is the root cause of suffering. These deeply ingrained afflictions become obstacles on the path to realizing our true energetic Self. Meditation serves as a powerful tool to quiet the mind and dissolve these limiting beliefs before they take root. Through consistent meditation practice, we can cultivate a space of awareness that allows us to observe our thoughts and emotions without judgment. This detachment weakens the ego’s hold and allows us to experience the present moment with greater clarity and peace.

The Wisdom of the Buddha: Beyond Pleasure and Pain

The opening verse of the Dhammapada, a collection of Buddha’s teachings, states: “Mind is the forerunner of all things. Mind is the chief factor creating things. If a man speaks or acts with a wicked mind, suffering follows him as the wheels follow the ox that draws the cart.” Following this principle, all experiences, whether perceived as pleasurable or painful, ultimately lead to suffering. Pleasure fuels cravings and greed, creating a never-ending cycle of desire. True joy arises only when we detach from the illusions of the mind and cultivate inner peace that transcends the impermanence of external experiences.

Contemplation and Collaboration: A Path Beyond Duality

These yogic truths, though seemingly simple, can be transformative when embraced. We are often led to believe we control our destiny through sheer willpower. However, free will exists not just for us, but for everyone. When competing for something desired by both, what determines the winner and loser?

What if, instead of competition, we embrace collaboration? Recognizing our shared energetic essence, transcending the superficial differences of race, religion, or nationality, we could work towards a common purpose with shared benefits. This shift in perspective fosters a win-win scenario, aligning with the harmonious flow of the universe.

Reflect, Meditate, and Transcend

Yoga in Porch by Scott Broome

Take some time to reflect and meditate on the things you like and dislike, what you seek and fear. Explore the “whys” behind these emotions. Through this self-inquiry and mindful practice, we can begin to dismantle the ego’s illusions and experience the boundless peace of our true energetic nature. Yoga offers a vast toolkit for this journey, including postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation techniques. By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can embark on a transformative journey toward self-discovery and lasting fulfillment.

Wondering how to get started? For a deeper exploration, consider Coacharya’s programs designed to guide you through self-inquiry and ego awareness. These resources can empower you to move beyond fear and embrace your true energetic self. Learn more on our website or reach out to us at We would love to hear from you. Share your experiences and questions in the comments below or CoachNook – together we can learn and grow on this path of self-discovery.

(Originally published on Coaching the Spirit, a LinkedIn Newsletter by Ram S. Ramanathan: What is the Root of Pleasure, Pain and Fear?)

Cover Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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