I learned through the gut-wrenching internal inferno experience that Ego is, was, and always will be the most vigilant protector of my Self. Its protection is like that of an overbearing parent driving a car (my emotions & body). When the Doctor Dream was no longer in view, the whole car was covered in darkness. It seemed like we drove into a cave after free-falling off a cliff, but really we were covered in a thick soot of disappointment. We could see nothing ahead and we went nowhere, so of course Ego took over... and started fires in order to bring light in the car.
I have washed the car and cleared the windows and shifted the seating arrangements around a lot. Ego has put up a fight the whole way... and often at the "worst" moments. As a teenager, the ego begrudgingly allowed me to get in the driver seat occasionally, but it wouldn't teach me to move forward. I had to seek and recognize divine driving instructors (like don Miguel Ruiz and Eckhart Tolle) or teach myself how to drive (with a lot of trial and error in the learning curve).
At the present moment, I generally have the power to tell Ego where to go. It still hangs out in the car, of course, it has to be with me in order to keep me physically safe. It doesn't get to drive nearly as often, but I can hear it barking directions from the backseat or quietly undermining my decisions under its breath. Occasionally, I catch it driving... guess I still need to take naps on this road trip. Perhaps that's why mindfulness, yoga, Reiki, meditation, and these many healing arts I've learned are so helpful: these practices allow my Self to rest and puts the Higher Self in charge. Occasionally, Ego and I can snuggle in the back as we rest together, as long as we feel safe.