The ego is a veil between humans and GOD.
What exactly is the ego? Sigmund Freud introduced the ego notion as a quest for personal enlightenment into social and subconscious processes. We spiritual travelers claim the opposite, arguing that the ego is in fact a psychological force that prevents us from experiencing GOD's KINGDOM.
The expression "ego" itself is the Latin word for "I". Our ego is the understanding that we have of ourselves, the story that we are telling ourselves so to speak. This psychological force often keeps us too distracted from seeing GOD's many MESSENGERS. It is the blinders we have on, the agenda to get something, the lobbying and scheming; the anticipating and the regrets, the likes and dislikes, and the many, many fears.
Our ego is what it is. Much as we spiritual travelers like to, we can't will ourselves into Heaven. We have to accept who we are, but we certainly can be mindful of what is going on inside of us. We can awaken to our ego's agenda, and as we do, we are more and more able to peer through the veil into GOD's KINGDOM. The beauty of a spiritual path is that once we have seen one of GOD's MESSENGERS, we suddenly see them everywhere. The power of the ego is waning as we awaken to the "I AM THAT I AM" state, or the holy NOW as Eckhart Tolle puts it.
Every spiritual traveler will tell you that the flow experiences - the "I AM THAT I AM" moments - get more and more frequent and meaningful as we travel our path. Yet there is no need to negate the "I" at all in the process. We are still the same person as before, yet we let now flow life's interactions flow through us without standing in the way. Still the same person, yet completely different thanks to the change in our perspective.
We certainly need the "I" to experience GOD here on earth. There is an "I" in "I AM THAT I AM" so to speak. And yes, we always have a foot in the "real" world, we just experience it as more and more magically as we travel the WAY. Let the ego be what it is. Life helps us to awaken to GOD's KINGDOM. Don't judge who you think you are, and don't mind the veil you still carry around. Let GOD wow you into a new stage of consciousness and the veil will get more transparent until it finally lifts one day.