The Purpose of the Ego: A Wave in the Sea

 “I have only one thing to do and that’s be the wave that I am, and then sink back into the ocean.” –Fiona Apple, Container (theme song from the television show, “The Affair”) 


Who are you? You are a wave. The very sound of rhythm—the very essence of sound. You are the first line drawn on the wall of the first cave. What do I mean? Your portrait, is what I mean. When you look into the mirror, do you see yourself or someone else? When you hear others talking, is it your voice or theirs? Is your voice your own?

These are the questions waves must ask. But what is a wave? A wave is a single expression of the collective vibration—a wave is a gathering of energy corresponding within the context of a rhythm. A wave is a beautiful motion, an elegant stroke—emerging from the fluid totality of all beingness, expressing for a brief moment the collective sound from its origin, before returning to it again. A wave is the telling and the trajectory of the soul. A wave is the shadow steeping out of the dark, and then being consumed back into it. This is you. How beautiful you are.


When you were born, they did not call you a wave. They called you a noun—a person, place or thing—in your case a person. A person is a noun—a single thing—like a wave, but all on its own, without an ocean attached. They said in so many words, “You are a noun, and you have a name.” Then they told you what your name was. You said to them, in your own way, without yet using words, “No you see, I’m not a noun exactly. I’m a wave, really. You see, I am you and you are me. And I am also God, as are you, and we are both this table over here, and these flowers in this vase.” You had what psychologists call egocentrism, or you were in what they call the normalcy of the egocentric stage, because you couldn’t distinguish between yourself and others, and because you thought that when you left a room, the room disappeared. But it was the opposite of egocentricity, really. It was they who were egocentric, particularly the quack who coined the term, and you who had no idea of your ego yet. See, because, you understood that reality was perception. If you didn’t perceive it, it wasn’t real—not in the dimension you occupied at whatever moment it happened to be. This was because your soft child’s mind understood perfectly what they call quantum mechanics—the idea that things slip in and out between simultaneous existences, because your soul understood that all versions of reality were equally impossible and possible at once. Like the wave, which is at once a wave and an ocean, and neither, and both. You knew, in other words, that it was all a great paradox. You knew for instance, that flowers, rather than being disconnected little pretty things, were entirely entangled little expressions of the massive earth, and then the solar system, and then the galaxy, and on and on. You knew that they grew, as flowers grow, on account of infinitely combined forces of energy, expressing themselves as single gatherings of all the collective materials. And you knew the same could be said for rocks and sticks and dogs and mountains and people.

But they began to tell you a story. They told you that it was all very concrete, and very simple. It was all very black and white, according to them. It was all a straight line—a dull narrative. And it started with you having a name. You were not everything at once—you were not the sea—you were not all possible suffering and all possible joy, breathing in and out in one, inexhaustible rhythm of mystery and eternalness. Your mind, they told you, was not an infinite cloud. Your body, they told you, was not an ever stretching cosmos. You were one, single, suffering thing. A thing. A noun. A person, a place, or a thing—one of those—one of them. Not an adjective, and a noun, and a verb and everything else at once. Just a section. A box. A square.

Only, it wasn’t really put to you that way precisely. We both know I’m liberally paraphrasing. They made the story much more appealing and believable. You had a name, a favorite color, an age in years, a mother and a father or a grandmother or some sort of guardian, etc. These were ways to define your existence, as this noun, this ego. At first this seemed alright. And it really was, there was nothing at all wrong with it. But you nevertheless felt yourself drifting further from the ocean that you once had been, forgetting that you were more than just this person, forgetting that you were a wave moving the sea, forgetting that you were the sea moving a wave, forgetting yourself. And this is why growing older hurt more and more. The more you knew, the more it hurt.

Alright, so I’m talking to you about the ego, and maybe how it made you forget something very important. So what am I getting at? Am I telling you that your ego is the root of all evil? That you ought to surrender your ego? And you now you’re not able to do it, and I know it, but you should try anyway to give it up? Am I one of those voices out there that goes around saying, “Look, I’ve got it all figured out, and you don’t, because I’m so great, and by the way, I have no ego. I mean, in case you didn’t notice how fantastically ego-less I am.”? Well, no. I’m not. Here is what I am getting at. Yes, you are you. And I am me. And so we have these egos, that do carry us around with us in these bodies. And if you think about it, carrying around is mainly the benefit of having an ego. It sort of seems like conveyance, or transport of consciousness into the material, would be the main purpose that the ego serves. I mean, everything has a purpose, a reason, right? Although it’s only a part of us for this short time, and it’s for this reason that we should only halfway ever listen to it, with a careful ear for bullshit, the ego does do something for us. It’s just a matter of knowing what that is, and what it isn’t. I’d always suspected this, even as I’d heard the ego was trash (which it probably is, but you just can’t throw it away without it making a mess and getting all over you.) One evening, I began to get some information on this. I’ll tell you what came to me, and you can see if it resonates with you, and the information that you yourself have received.

I saw that the spirit or whatever you’d like to call it is our superior form, as you might guess. And what I mean by superior is, all consuming, floating above—a fluid expression of all infinite consciousness and love. This spirit is like the ocean—just this big, dreaming mound of eternal blue. This you could call God, if wanted to be lofty enough to give it a name. And then the soul is the movement directing into the form of a wave. It’s the firing that goes into the neuron, or the sprouting that goes into the seed. It’s the only thing talking to the individual thing, and that individual thing is the wave. And the perception of being this wave, turns into the perception of being this ego. It isn’t that the ego in itself is bad: it’s just the appearance of an individual form—a single voice, however temporary and illusionary its singleness is—and through this singleness, it conduits a unique expression of the soul, which conduits the total expression of the greater spirit. The ego is just the neuron. It’s the awareness of occupying this idea of having a single physical body for a while. Who can say that this alone, in and of itself, is inherently evil? Who can say that this awareness, taking the pretend form of itself in order to be the wave that it is for a moment, is a bad thing? Maybe someone else can, I don’t doubt it, but I can’t think of any argument for this.

The problem with the ego, is that it is always losing sight of what it really is. It takes itself so seriously that it can’t bear to acknowledge its own miniscule nature. The ego becomes defensive because it is so small compared to the vastness—the ocean—which it can’t see that it is a part of, for fear of losing itself. So it cuts its own nose to spite its face, and says, “Nope, it’s just me. I’m the only one I’m going to listen to.” And it rises up and it gets too tall for itself, and this is the best part actually, because then it collapses. The outcome of every crisis is that it crashes into the ocean, into great spirit. And it crashes into other waves, becomes new versions of itself, and getting closer to the truth of itself each time that it splashes back into the sea it came from. And the ego still carries on, until it doesn’t any longer. And that’s what the ego does—and that’s what we do.


The experience of being an empath is the result of many such crashes, whether in this life or potential past lives. And this is why we all to one extent or another, are empaths. We’ve all crashed. This creates the awareness and sensitivity to our connection to everything else. Empaths, we are people who have many times towered beyond ourselves and fallen back into what we really are—the vast sea. And in doing so, we have become closer each time, to our origins. This is why empaths feel so deeply aware of everything and everyone around them. Empaths are in touch with who they are. They know, on some level or another, that they are the entire sea experiencing itself as one wave in this life.

The common theory on empaths is that they suffer because of this—that we suffer because we are connected to the sea, and all of its various aches and pains. People say that empaths are people who need to shield and protect themselves, because they’re too vulnerable to take this connection they have to everything. My question to that is this: then why are we born this way? And why do we evolve into this? Is spiritual and emotional evolution, which constantly moves away from separation and towards ultimate unison then a misguided course, a mistake?

To my mind, we human beings are all like neurons, connected, or potentially connected as we are, in one greater intelligence—we could call this, the brain. Neurons in and of themselves are very useless. A neuron that has no connections or very few, is like a seed that never grows into anything. It just remains a seed. If the seed could connect itself to other materials, it would be something—it would contribute and be contributed to—it would engage itself in the habits and rhythms of this life. For neurons, it is the same. The neuron needs to be connected and as one with the other neurons in the mind—feeling as they feel—channeling and transmuting the energy of the other neurons. This is, in essence, the practice of empathy. The health of the brain depends upon the health of each neuron, and vice versa.

Alright so, we understand that it’s all connected. We understand or can potentially consider at least, that our empathic awareness is not the injury we’ve been told that it is, which requires the crutch of a shield. If that’s true, then the question to my mind at least, is this: then why do empaths suffer? Why is it so hard—to be an empath, to be a human for that matter? I’m not going to pretend to know the answer, but I will share some food for thought on the subject, based on what I’ve channeled: we’re living in a paradox reality. What I mean by that is, our existence is premised upon being individuals, and a collective, at once, even as the two seem mutually exclusive. It seems that if I’m an individual, if I’m an ego, if I’m a neuron, or a wave, that I am a “me” and therefore not a “we.” And it equally seems to be the case that if I’m a collective, if I’m a universe, if I’m a God, if I’m an ocean, then I am a “we” and so therefore impossibly a “me.” And this is bothersome. This is disturbing, because neither explanation addresses the paradoxical nature of our experiences as being both a “me” and a “we” at once. Perhaps this is why we invented logic—to save ourselves the trouble of dealing with paradox. Logically, we have found an answer. We say, “We are all me’s, and no one here is really a we.” Particularly, in our western world, we cling viciously to this illusion. We do not acknowledge the ocean that we as waves create and emerge from. And so it is really no surprise that when it comes to the subject of empaths, we say, “Empaths are people who need to get out of this condition of feeling what other people are feeling. They need to stop being ‘we’s’ and start being ‘me’s’ like everybody else. And to do that, they need to shield themselves, etc.” And there is no gray area with that diagnosis—it’s very clean cut. The solution is neat, like a well-tied ribbon.

But life is not a well-tied ribbon. And I think that’s part of the suffering we experience—because we’re always in this argument with ourselves, forever trying to convince ourselves that it is all black and white, and very orderly. What I have picked up is that our suffering as empaths is largely due to the gross divide between our awareness of this paradoxical existence and the imposed reality of this black and white way of life. We’ve all been programmed to live as if and assume ourselves to be these separate things, in our separate boxes. But we don’t feel that way. And the disturbance for empaths, and people in general I think, is that it’s all so incongruous in this way. We’re always trying to be unnatural and separate, and it’s painful. It’s a cutting away of who we are—it’s a lie. And lies hurt deeply, because they are always a cutting away of who are.

And I guess that is my point, for empaths, for everyone: be who you are. Go ahead and be the paradox. Untie, and tangle-up the neatly tied ribbon. Be the wave, and be the ocean at once—for are they not the same? Can one exist without the other? Be the neuron, and the brain. Be the seed and the soil, and be the ego and the soul. Be the mystery that you are. Do not cut yourself away from feeling, do not bother with these silly shields, that only put you through the repressive trouble of reinforcing the lie. Be the ocean, that is a wave, and be the wave that is the ocean.

I will leave you now with a physical exercise to demonstrate this notion of paradoxical beingness, that came to me the other day. Lay down, or sit up, whichever you prefer. Eyes closed, or not, whichever you prefer. Feel yourself rocking gentle as infinite waves, and a single wave at once. Feel the natural rhythm of the ocean, the universe, pulsing and dancing throughout your body—slowly, from your feet and up through your legs, from the top of your head and down through your arms, abdomen, and trunk, and let these two forces of rhythm going up and down though your body finally meet, and combine their circuitry. Feel this rhythm in your body rippling and responding to the same rhythm of energy that fluidly moves throughout your environment, and all the organisms in it, and then by extension the world and the cosmos and so on. See the massive rhythm that is the ocean of the universe, condensing into the single expression of your physical body, and allow yourself to feel it throughout. This is you talking to God, and God talking to you, and you being both yourself and God at once—free as you are, and as one with your own mystery.

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About Alayna

Alayna is a psychic, a healer, an intuitive life coach, and an astrologer. Her life purpose is to help others grow, heal, and spiritually know themselves.

Find me here: Twitter /Facebook /


  • SuReply

    Thank you and love this, so nice to read something that is both profound but easy to understand.

  • Susie KeithahnReply

    This. Needed. Saying. So many, many times since I’ve “woken up” from my childhood “programming,” I’ve felt myself sort of blending or melding with other people, places, or things out there, and it feels weird, yet cool, because I know that they are me and I am them. Thank you so much for this!

  • Kelley RiosReply

    Thank you for this article. I literally asked the universe for an answer or explanation for the pain i feel as an empath. This really helped me understand the connections in life.

    • AlaynaReply

      So happy to hear that Kelley. Knowing that makes writing this piece more than worth it.

  • samanthaReply

    this is the most beautiful thing I’ve read in awhile. .. spoke to what I’m going through… I’m in tears . thank you . it’s a challenge sometime to be this way. ..

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