So, to continue, how can anyone know the difference between ego-mind and what you are calling awakening-self?
From ego-mind's vantage point we wouldn't. The only real recognition would come if and when we're free of its power. If ego-mind incorporates a spiritual persona, it's adding another layer of delusion to the mind. This persona may lay claim to awakening, but a claim surrounded by doubt that can't hold its ground for long.
And this new center of being, this awakening-self, is a kind of conduit or connection to what is real?
Better to say it reflects a state that is free of our dreams, that is a knowing of what we are not and a feeling of intense attraction to Self, or the Beloved within.
In a way it becomes a substitute ego.
Yes, and when all is said and done, it itself is ultimately dispensable.
Leaving what in its place?
A consciousness broaching no separation in the midst of any diversity.
Then what tips the scales?
What else but the grace of that in us that is awakening though us?