What has been your ego journey? What attitude has felt most like you, and why do you think you may have come to affiliate with it so heavily?
When I was a child, I refused to watch television and didn't have much interest in fun. My parents told me at age 5 I was "King of the Playground" 😀 because I would come up with a fantasy story and tell all the other kids what roles to play. That fantasy world was what I really cared about.
I couldn't sleep at night and would tell myself long stories on my way to bed, which continued for years. I tried to act these out with other friends as long as possible, but once I was 10 or so and too old to do this with others, I started writing them into books.
I had symbolic dreams in childhood about fire and flying, as well as psychic dreams, which prompted my interest in reading Hermann Hesse and Carlos Casteneda. In second grade I met a TeNi who wa invested in this stuff, so we built a magic world together. My other friend liked watching tv and gossiping; I had no interest.
I used music as a form of catharsis, to survive all the intensity inside me, and started writing full songs by age 8. I became obsessed with Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon - and the deep emotional themes thereof. By my early teens, all I wanted to do was write and play music. I wrote two 400 page books and part of a musical featuring a prostitute and her emotional journey, contemplating the spiritual toll of beauty.
In these early years I believe I was something between Fi and Ni ego. The psychic stuff was a 'happenstance,' but I was most interested in the emotional journeys of people - how they became prostitutes, if this could happen to me, what beauty really meant, how people survived in stifling societies and arranged marriages. I started writing books because I found myself more interested in experiencing these worlds and really "putting myself through them" than in participating with the relatively bland emotional experiences on Earth. By my early teens, I had a serious music career and many songs written. I was well on my way to "making it" when my illness hit, at age 16.
I was struck, then, with an illness that almost killed me and left me speaking in a whisper. I was left to ask myself what is the purpose of my life, if not to sing? It's one thing to write books, but where do I fit in on Earth? My pipeline to humanity had been cut. I was a shitty writer despite depth of ideas; music was how I communicated with humans. My voice was the only thing that made me beautiful and helped me to share my emotions with others in a way that wouldn't overwhelm them. Now, I was isolated, alone, condemned to be misunderstood and rejected; worse, with no way to understand myself, since my songs revealed my inner world to me bare. And the absolute worst part was that I now lacked a sense of purpose; without the human dignity of purpose, I was nothing more than an animal.
This prompted a deeper spiritual journey. I studied Eastern Religion and Jung, and used much LSD and other practices to try to 'hack into' my subconscious and my dreams. My interest in these studies was partly about myself, and partly about a vision that I had for fantasy novels; but I was a shitty writer and wasn't ready to sacrifice everything to master a craft, as I had done before. After having lost everything, the prospect of being that passionate again was too harrowing; yet nothing less would do.
I dug deep down into my unconscious. I learned to continue dreams after waking up, to decide what to dream, to control the dreams, to replay dreams and try again to mend a situation. I tried desperately to meet a guy I was obsessed with in my dreams, as he requested, but any time we were about to kiss I woke up in neurotic fear. I was traumatized and could not handle having anything I wanted again; for fear it would slip from my grasp. I had a lot of spiritual work to do.
There was a deep need to explore a larger context. What is my 'role in the world?' - as @Ivory phrased it. What is the point of it all - not just my existence, but all of it. Life, death, the cosmos? It's easy to say I'm a singer, more advanced to say I'm a vessel through which passion emerges, but.... so what? Did God want me to do this, or does my ego hunger to be seen? Will humanity benefit from it? Will I channel something worth channeling? What am 'I' anyway?
And thus, my Ni ego was born.