Are you real? Likely the answer is “yes, I am real. I am." I would agree. As what are you real? This is where we can fall into trouble. Your Self being real, can believe that it is the ego, and the ego can then appear to be real. Your separate form identity has likely been engrained throughout your life by society and parents, yet it is totally unreal.
The mind may claim, “yes but my ego is so deep and persistent” – this is still the ego talking. We must discover if you, as a person, actually exist. So feel yourself inwardly. Whatever inner person you take yourself to be, feel it. How does it feel? Be fully aware of your sense of being a person, a separate individual with thoughts, preferences and opinions.
Now - is it real? This “I” that claims to think, say and do things - is it real? Don’t look for a mental answer, these will not do, just enquire (non-mentally) into the reality of what you think you are. Feel it. No need to think.
Can the person, the thinker, the one with all the fears, problems and desires - actually be located? Can you find it? Is it tangible?
This whole identity of personality, or a separate “me”, is purely thought. It is imagined. How can this be real? The world may claim it is what you are, but you must ignore society’s opinions.
Most of us walk around as if we are somehow solid, tangible entities, living in a body. When you look, can this entity of “me” actually be found? Can “the ego” be found, can “the mind” be located? Try to find it. If it can be found, is it any more than a thought?
Sometimes the term “ego” can be thrown about so much in the spiritual teachings, that we forget it is completely unreal. The ego can become a seemingly real thing that we need to overcome, that has power over us and can torment us. But that which can be tormented is also unreal, just a thought.
Whenever you are troubled by thoughts, seek the thinker, the foundation that thoughts rest upon, the “I” that takes credit for thoughts. If you look, it can not be found. It does not really exist. This is the whole illusion.
As this recognition sinks in, you can disregard internal (or external) objects like thoughts, feelings and emotions, and instead be aware only of what witnesses them, what is aware of them. The “me” that arises separate to this awareness, can not be what you are, since it is seen by you