Is it Essence or Ego?
Essence is our essential nature, which is empty-awareness.
Ego is awareness that has forgotten the emptiness of awareness, and so too, its essential nature.
There is no such thing as an ego; it is merely forgetfulness.
Awareness can either be empty or solidified, creating a feeling of an I. When awareness forgets its true nature – emptiness – it identifies with everything of which it is aware, and therefore solidifies; awareness of ‘this’ and ‘that’ as opposed to pure awareness.
‘I’ is awareness without emptiness; some call this ‘ego’.
However (and this is the missing key), our essential nature does nothing but be. It is dry. For the purpose of functioning as a human being, and also out of compassion for others, we need some juice and so a little ‘i’ is introduced. A social ‘i’. Inspirational love. This social ‘i’ can then describe its true nature, and the obstacles to realising its true nature.
Unfortunately, some spiritual people use the word ‘ego’ as a weapon, revealing a lack of compassion and understanding.
Actually, recognising awareness and its clinging manner are our steps to enlightenment. The next time someone accuses you of egotism, don’t feel guilty, have compassion for their clinging. It is only awareness itself (our awareness) that can recognise whether there is clinging or not: the hallmark is our defensive emotions.