The title of this piece is an aphorism, for lack of a better word, that arose into my awareness while meditating. Along with the arising of the words came a strong sense of Truth behind the words. Herein I will attempt to unpack the meaning behind the words.
The word “ego” means the fictive-self, as I have referred to it elsewhere. I call this self “fictive” because it is a social/cognitive construct that, while potentially very helpful, also obscures the Authentic Self or Spiritual Self or Natural Mind. The fictive-self is a narrative description of what could be said to be like an algorithm. Algorithms can be quite complex but simply said, they automate decision-making and responding based on those decisions. Ego then is like an algorithm that guides you through your daily life with varying degrees of “success.” Success, as culturally defined or lack of same, depends on how well it has been “constructed.”
The meaning of “mask” in the above is already evident in the discussion of ego. Ego is a mask because it is a construct or narrative that obscures the Authentic Self. Most spiritual traditions have, in part, the goal of dethroning or seeing beyond the fictive-self in order to open the potential for realization of the Authentic Self. The Authentic Self is a gateway to a more direct experience of Source or God, if you prefer.
The word “God” in this aphorism simply refers to the Source of All that is manifest in the physical world. Rather than go into a long and complex discussion of my understanding of that word, I will simply link you to a discussion in another essay: God and the Problem of Evil. If you’re good to go with the short opening description and would prefer to skip a more detailed, nuanced discussion then move on.
“Hides behind” simply refers to the fact that one’s potential for knowing God through the Authentic Self is hidden by the ego. “While pretending to be you” alludes to the idea that all of life, to varying degrees, has a direct connection to Source Consciousness. Thus, all life is a manifestation of Source and is unique so that it can gain experience for Source. However, intelligent life with significant cognitive abilities is by far a richer source of experience, since it has greater possibilities, including meta-cognition, which even Source has only through you. In short, there is only one Universal Consciousness and all manifestations of it in the physical realm are like Source’s “avatars.” Thus, each avatar is Source pretending to be something else, e.g., fish, tiger, cow or human.