How can I rid myself of my ego? As hard as I try, it keeps coming back. I have meditated, fasted, taken vows of silence - but after years of work, my ego is still there.


Fighting your ego is like trying to think about nothing. The harder you try, the further you get from your goal. As long as you are taking yourself so seriously, you are feeding into your ego. Even if you are fighting your ego, it's still all about you.

A desire to be spiritual can also be self-centered. Fasting can be just as self-satisfying as a good meal. As long as it is you who calls the shots and decides what is high and holy, then you remain under your ego's spell.

There is only one way you can truly transcend your ego: do a mitzvah. A mitzvah is a divine command as communicated in the Torah. Doing a mitzvah means doing something just because G‑d wants you to, and for no other reason.

Whether the mitzvah feels good, like resting on Shabbat, or seems totally weird, like wrapping tefillin on your arm; whether it is as easy as putting up a mezuzah on your doorpost or as hard as honoring your parents, when you do a mitzvah you go beyond the parameters of human and touch the divine - you are doing not what you feel like but rather what G‑d asks of you.

The mitzvah life is about not taking ourselves so seriously, because we are only here to serve others - both G‑d and our fellow human beings. Even self-improvement, in the mitzvah world, is only important because G‑d wants us to refine ourselves.

Do a mitzvah today and focus not on yourself, but on your purpose. When you do, the weight of ego is lifted off your shoulders, and you are free.