I shall define ego as an imaginary protection you have allowed to be created around you because it thinks it keeps you safe for the sake of the point I want to drive home through this post. Yes, it is helpful if you think of the ego as a separate entity, of sorts.
It might work something like this. You are about to do something in your life that you know might be a risk, but you also know it is the direction you desire to go in your life. Then your ego will allow all manner of temporary distractions to show up that it thinks will hopefully prevent you from moving in that direction, and now your ego thinks it has kept you safe.
Study this scenario and you will begin to notice many areas of your life where the ego has been at work. It is only then that you will be able to move beyond the ego.
As Einstein put it:
Image Credits: http://www.alisanagnostakis.com/the-ego-trap/
Overall blogpost credits: http://anyadvicefortoday.com/