Ego is not the self
It is essential to accept that the ego is not the self. Only the self can realize this. Therefore, this realization is not possible until the self awakes. As long as the individual remains in the ego-controlled unconscious state, the self cannot be realized. This is the conundrum -- self must be realized in order to become conscious, but how can the self struggle to escape the grip of ego while the individual is unconscious? The answer must be that self is already realized on some subconscious level, and that it can gain a toehold in conscious awareness that allows it to overcome the restraints of ego and manifest itself in individual awareness. Once the individual is aware of the existence of the genuine self and can compare it to the hollow manifestations of ego, there is no possibility of choosing the path of ego and returning to the unconscious state. While self may not be immediately dominant, it must eventually become so. The process can be encouraged by the practices of mindfulness, compassion, and meditative surrender. As one internalizes these practices, awareness grows that they are the only sources of bliss and inner peace. The empty satisfaction attained by gratifying ego is revealed as a fraud. The individual will turn more and more to the blessings of spiritual practice and away from worldliness. In this way positive karma evolves.