Ego is not something that you got because you did something well, or you became rich or beautiful. When you started kicking in your mother’s womb, the very first mistake of getting identified with your physical body means the ego was born.
Ego is a defence mechanism. You got identified with this little body. This little organism has to survive in this vast existence of which you have no perception to even know where it begins and where it ends. Just to survive, you have to project yourself like a big man, so the ego is born. It is a false reality, like your shadow.
To handle different kinds of situations in our lives, we need different kinds of identities. If you are fluid about it, if you can change from one to another gracefully, you can play your role to the hilt and still have no problem with it. But right now the problem is you get so identified with it; you start believing you are that. Once you believe ‘I am the shadow’, what would you do? You would naturally crawl upon the earth. How will life be? If we carpet the floor, you will crawl in comfort, not in joy. Suppose rocks and thorns came? You will cry. That is how your life is going on right now.
Right now your whole experience of life may be limited to the physical. Everything that you know through your five sense perceptions is physical, and the physical has no purpose of its own, it is there only as a peel, a protective layer to the fruit.
This body is important because there is something else inside. You have never experienced that something else. If that something else goes away tomorrow, nobody would want to touch this body. So, today is the time to take care of it.
If things go dead wrong for you, and you can still go through this life untouched, peacefully, joyfully, then you know life the way it is. Otherwise you are just a slave of the physical.