One of life’s greatest challenges is to learn and understand the nature of our ego. As beautifully stated by David R Hawkins, M.D., PH.D: “By understanding and accepting the nature of the ego. It is transcended and finally collapses and disappears when all its positionalities and their resultant dualities have been surrendered. The ego does not become enlightened, but instead disappears and collapses. It is then replaced by a Transcendental Reality as described by the Buddha; that is the Buddha Nature. Just as the sun shines forth when the clouds disappear, the reality of the Self shines forth of its own as Revelation, Realization, and Enlightenment.”
We have fallen in love with thinking which is mostly controlled by ego. Many do not know how to escape it and even worse, they think they are their ego. From morning until night, day after day, egoic thoughts entertain us, pass judgment on all things, take credit for “This” and “That”, and control all we do. How can we recognize these egoic thoughts that keep us from being all that we can be? Ego has many faces, let’s talk about some of them.
Self-Criticism: You would not remain friends with anyone who treated you as badly as your ego. Ego shouts, “You’re not good enough”. or “You should have done this or that”, “You’re too fat, or too skinny!” This inner criticism is relentless, is NEVER satisfied, and is void of peace and love
Complaining: Complaining and criticizing fuels the ego and gives a false sense of superiority. The ego does not understand compassion or empathy. Road-rage is a typical egoic reaction. The ego considers itself to be the center of the universe. All other drivers should be aware I am here and should give ME the respect I deserve. Ego doesn’t care if you are driving home from the hospital after the death of your child. It doesn’t care if you are late for your sister’s wedding, or if you are about to miss a flight, or if you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. If anyone on the road makes a mistake, it is a direct insult. Ego shouts; “What an idiot! Why are these people allowed to drive?” Traffic is the perfect excuse for ego to rant and rave and puff itself up as superior. Using traffic as an excuse to be upset is totally a waste of energy. Ego will always waste your energy.
Grudges: The ego thrives on grudges. The ego believes it is justified in holding a grudge against anyone it perceives as unfair, dishonest, or unfaithful in any way whether it was intentional or not. Some carry their grudges like a badge of honor. Whipping their grudges back into shape as they recount the dastardly deed to anyone and everyone they meet. Grudges hurt the bearer of the grudge. Forgiveness is a blessing you give to free the pathway to happiness. You cannot work on yourself to let go of a grudge. It fall away by itself when you understand it holds no benefit.
Being Right: Ego loves to be right and will go to great lengths to prove it is right. If I am right, then someone else is wrong and that makes me superior. It’s a state of insanity. Outwardly ego pretends to be superior. Inwardly it beats you down. When ego tempts you to prove you are right, ask yourself this question; “Do I want to be right or do I choose peace?” Then let it go and choose peace.
Minutia: Ego focuses on the peripheral, on the minutia. If you are moving forward to a worthy goal, don’t get derailed by unimportant details. What difference does it make if lunch costs $1.52 or $1.60? Pull our $2.00 and be done with it. Keep the focus on what is vital and important.
Ownership: Ego thrives on ownership. We have all seen the t-shirts declaring: “He who dies with the most toys wins!” This statement sums up the ego quite well. Ego is like the cartoon showing a dog pulling a cart with a meaty bone hanging above his nose, just out of reach but seemingly close enough that with a little more effort he can reach it. Ego buys into the material world and sends us on an endless pursuit of “things” that are supposed to make us happy. Ego’s mantra is “You’ll be happy when you get that job….that car…..that marriage…that degree…that house…that divorce…on and on it goes.” It’s a game of seek, but never find. There is nothing wrong with getting any of these “things.” You can really enjoy these “Things” as long as you realize happiness is not dependent upon them. Happiness is an inside job. It comes from deep within. We cannot directly pursue happiness. It comes of its own accord when we learn to accept the nature of ego and refuse to let it control our lives. On our death beds we won’t have any problem understanding we cannot truly own anything and our happiness is and always has been an inside job.
In my next blog, I’ll continue to explore ego and its many faces. Until then……………………..Earlynn’s just sayin’: “Life gets much easier when ego is understood and I am no longer at its beckoned call.”
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