Breaking Free of Ego

Getting to the heart of who we are

Joe Cardillo
4 min readJan 12, 2022

In Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, he dedicates three chapters to defining the ego, and the different ways it manifests in life.

In chapter 4, titled “Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego” he talks about pre-established roles we tend to identify with, such as “the middle-class housewife… the tough macho male… the ‘nonconformist’ artist or performer…”

He writes:

When you are completely identified with a role, you confuse a pattern of behavior with who you are, and you take yourself very seriously. (91)

This idea hit home when he talked about the role of the adult (which I’m still grappling with calling myself). “When you play that role, you take yourself and life very seriously. Spontaneity, lightheartedness, and joy are not part of that role.”

Ditto. As winter has set in, I’ve found myself with a heavy heart. It’s as if my body physically responded to sub-freezing temperatures with, “No thanks. See you in Spring.” Of course, not an option. Life goes on. The world doesn’t stop just because I want to hibernate.

In simple terms, I’ve been depressed. I realize there are varying degrees of severity when…