In the separation from God, all that’s happened is we’ve gone into denial about what is true. We’ve tried to change the truth into somethiing false, and vice versa. We’re just a bit confused about what IS true and what is false.
Unfortuantely this also includes our sense of identity. We’re in denial of who we are in truth. This has resulted in trying to be something we are not, to replace our identity. Our sense of "self" has become identified WITH something that is not our self, and we now believe that "the truth about us" is that we are a body, rather than a spirit/mind.
Whatever you believe is true, you believe is your self. It’s where you see "reality", value, and meaning. You will also "naturally" defend and protect whatever you believe is true, because your investment of belief in it means you equate it with valuable reality - and thus with your "self". Anything which seems to contradict this truth, is taken as opposite to your identity, and is perceived as an enemy or "false".
The problem here is, since you will defend whatever you think is true of your identity, or what you are identified with, you will inadvertently protect "truth" and "self" even if it’s not really the truth or really yourself. Once you’ve come to believe you are your body, you will see IT as your SELF, and seek to protect it.
Defending a "truth" that is not really true, means you will side with something even if it is not in your best interests. In this way, identifying with the body means you are siding with what is false, which means you will defend, protect, reinforce and bring about death, because death is the opposite of truth/life. You will do this believing you are "saving your life" or as self-defense.
This is also why "sickness is a defense against the truth." In sickness you mis-perceive the truth as something false or an attack on your false-identified self, and you will then "defend" that false self against the truth because you misperceive it as an attacker.
You then think the sickness is defending you and protecting you and saving your life. Even though you’ll later perceive the sickness as unwanted or unchosen, this is only because you are unconscious of the desire to keep your "self" safe, and undoing the sickness will seem to threaten your safety if you maintain a false sense of self.
Another thing that happens is, since you see your identity as "body" or ego (or world), when "you" try to awaken from the dream, you try to pull your "self" into the light. You become willing to open up to some real truth. But because you are "bound" or united with the body/ego/false self, you simultaneously try to pull "it" into the truth. This is an attempt to "spiritualize the ego", by keeping your false identification while making it "appear more spiritual". From "its" perspective, you are trying to destroy it by bringing it into contact with a truth that proves its unreality. That part of your mind sees this attempt as a threat to your "self".
It’s kind of like trying to remain an ego-identified self, while simultaneously trying not to be. The truth is experienced as an attack on your self and now that part of you feels attacked, threatened, ignored, mis-treated and offended, as though you have betrayed yourself and hurt yourself. That part of you will then retaliate with hurt, justified anger, fear and reactions. This accounts for all "ego rebounds". Part of you wants the truth, part of you does not.
So as you go through purification, awakening, spiritual studies, trying to commune with God, or opening up to the Holy Spirit, part of you is honestly going to say "no, I don’t want that". It’s not so much the "ego" that says this. It’s YOU saying it, because of your allegiance to the ego. Or it’s your body-identified self protesting because your efforts to become spiritual are seen by "it" as an attack on "you". It’s all just you reacting to yourself.
Awakening to the truth, accepting the atonement, enlightenment as a recognition, returning to God, remembering your real identity as God’s Son, becoming aware that you are as God created you etc, basically entails "letting go" of your "holding onto" false lies and untruths - things which are not true of you - things which are not real - the body etc. As you let go of those things, you hold onto or identify WITH things which are real and true - your immortal spirit.
It’s kind of like, there are two things you can join with, or think of as your "self". Either the truth, or illusions. Either reality, or the ego. Either spirit, or the body. Either mind, or matter. "You", can choose WHERE to place your allegiance. Your mind, which is the mechanism of decision and the home of free will, can either place itself under Authority of free spirit, or under tyrannical rule of dictatorship and imprisonment. This determines whether mind is identified with spirit or with illusions, and thus how you "see your self".
For a time it will seem like giving up ego is going to destroy you. But being "in the ego" WAS a denial of your true self. It was a substitute identity. YOU do not end, your identification merely shifts from one thought system to another. You "leave" the ego world, and enter the spirit world. Either of the two thought systems "host" you.
Eventually you will realize and recognize that "only the truth is true", nothing that was untrue of you was true, what you thought was your self was not your self, you have given up nothing to gain everything, you have returned to your true identity as God’s son, and remembered God’s true nature. It is merely a recognition of what has always really been true.
You are still as God created you. You are not a body, you are free.