how does the ego work?
What's tricky about the ego is, the ego believes itself separate.
There is no separation. There's just one consciousness experiencing different vibrational states.
But ego insists it's separate. So let's deal with ego on its own terms and treat it like a separate entity, for the sake of discussion.
Ego insists - I am not an aspect of One, I am not a stitch in the common quilt of the universe, I am not a wave on the sea of spirit. Ego insists it is a stand-alone entity apart from the rest. I.e., ego is fundamentally deluded.
So deluded, it must constantly maintain elaborate webs of confusion, misinformation, and misdirection to sustain the grand illusion. Ego must cocoon itself in cycles of its own making, like a sighted person constantly mudding their own eyes to maintain the lie that they're blind. From within the ego's perspective, the lie seems true. Hey, I can't see! Only a perspective beyond the ego's self-manipulation can recognize the situation & compassionately release the tragic clinging to compulsive self-deception.
A tricky feature is, the ego is like a drowning person, or someone who senses drowning is always just the wrong turn away. After all, its very existence as ego is threatened by the realization of truth. So it behaves frantically & desperately & without regard for harm, to keep the truth at bay. Or it behaves manipulatively & selfishly to avoid the terror of actively drowning in the realization that all is One. So motivated, ego behaves with lightning quick speed, a honey badger's relentlessness, & the chutzpah of a con man deep in the game. When, despite the ego's best efforts, the truth finally does arise into view, that truth is rapidly attacked, explained away, disregarded, or hey hey, look over here, my oh my, don't you just hate, or love, or wonder about, this?
A mind addicted to identifying as ego will be led along like a dupe, time after time, so close to the truth, but simply not connecting with it, simply not resonating with the truth's liberating vibrations. The mind follows the ego from one dark corner to another, never seeing the exit door. Recognizing the ego-in-action is what provides us a momentary realization of both its game and the tragic confusion driving it. As those momentary recognitions accumulate in time, we get better and better at intuitively sensing when we've slipped into ego identification, which helps us steer away more consistently from the jagged rocks of selfishness, so we can purse our heartfelt goals & live in more peace & clarity.