“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is ‘to die before you die’ — and find there is no death” — Eckhart Tolle
We are taught as we grow to have this sense of identity that sets us apart from the others. Once we accept these teachings we become “John”, “Mary”, “Robert”, etc. We start having a name and present ourselves based on this image we created.
Ego is the projection we make of ourselves in order to have a sense of identity, and it is composed by all the things you told yourself and things people told about you that you accepted as truth. If you believe you are intelligent and I tell you are not, it hurts. Once we have a clear image, we try to protect it from being destroyed, and that is when you begin to lose control of your thoughts and feelings.
Sit down, close your eyes and try not to think of anything. How long did it last? Probably not more than a minute, right?
When we grew up we had lots of positive and negative experiences that modelled who we are. Through these experiences we learnt all the things we could do to not hurt ourselves in any way. Our ego is the result of trying to not get hurt, a mere evolutionary process.
The problem with ego though is the fact that there are no lions trying to eat us all the time, so we just learn to judge. Judgements always occur in the past or the future, never at the present moment. Non-judgemental minds only think of now, not before, not after, just now. If you pay attention, the ultimate truth is timeless, it always occurs in the present moment, in the now.
Through the evolutionary process of the species, our mind developed two parallel thoughts: The real me (self) and the ego. The ego is responsible for making the self survive, and it does that by constantly sending commands such as: “Don’t trust him! Do you remember what he did the last time?”. It is important that we pay attention to these commands and choose not to accept them as truth when they are not, this is the secret to dismantle your ego.
Spirituality is the study of how to be present and realize that your mind can send commands but you are not obliged to act. So now that you understand that, let’s try one more exercise. Stop reading for a moment, close your eyes in complete silence and wait for the first thought to come to your mind.
If you did the exercise and the first thought took much more than just a few seconds, congratulations! You were present and your ego was temporarily silenced.
Another great exercise that you can do is meditation. Meditation is an exercise that trains your mind to listen to your thoughts without accepting them, without judging them, just passive listening. It is this self-control to not accept every single thought that comes to your mind that allows you to be less stressed, more present and less judgemental.
Killing your ego is not an easy process and it takes time. You have to take control of your thought process and stop acting in automatic mode. To kill your ego you have to understand that your mind is a tool that can be trained to do anything you want. Once you do that you become a better father, mother, student, professional, leader, friend, son, lover, etc.
 "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" — Eckhart Tolle
 "The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti" — Viddu Krishnamurti