The ego is not real. It is a label we place on those personality traits we define as demanding, insistent, self-righteous, and controlling.
In fact, all such qualities are of the self. The self is those energies that originate with a fear of being nothing. This is the identification with universal insecurity. The fear of being nothing creates and maintains the needs of the personality.
Contextualized within spirituality, this means that the pursuit of personal enlightenment is no different from any other self drives. It is the fear of nothing demanding to be something. See it for yourself.
The fear of being nothing is an illusion, for when we realize it is false, when we realize this to the depth of our false being, we are open to everything. This is the key to living life free and secure.