Monday, June 13, 2011

When The Ego's Happy...

...Everybody's Happy.

Self importance, judgment, anger and fear: some of the most infamous members of the ego's posse ;~D

Are You Serious? 

No! I'm not serious, but I sure did get your attention, didn't I?  This phrase divinely popped into my head a few days ago.  You know the old expression, "When the wife's happy, everyone's happy"?  The Universe yelled in my ear, as I chose to feed my ego by checking the stats for this blog, these very words, "When the ego's happy, everybody's happy", followed by a very boisterous laugh.  The joke was not lost on me and I knew it would not be lost on my readers.
The deep seeded, competitive urge to see if my numbers were higher than they were two hours before when I did my weekly check, took hold.  For those few moments, I felt completely happy because I had allowed my ego control, and that's so much easier than following my divine purpose sometimes ; )

It is normal, but quite distracting, to feel the need to see how you measure up.  It's a common by product of being raised in a competitive culture.  No matter how evolved we may feel, it only takes a moment like this  to remind us that we are still only human.

I took part in an interesting conversation over at Kelly Martin Speaks,  a few weeks ago, about ego and how it gets in the way of writing because we get distracted with catering to it, instead of setting it aside to allow the creative process to unfold.  I find it very self indulgent to be obsessed with my stats. It's not necessary and I have also found I can get easily side tracked from the task at hand. It is a lot of fun seeing all of the countries where my readers come from. But still, I really don't allow myself to look at them because I know it's my ego, and not really something that needs to be done more than once a week.

Funny thing about my current dance with ego; it turned into a creative spark and not a sneaky distraction.


What Is The Ego

The term "ego" means different things to different people.  If you are a student of psychology, it means the part of the mind which Freud says deals with "conforming with reality", the part of the mind with controls and plans.  It can refer to "self importance", as in the egocentric mind of a teenager.  But when it comes to spiritual evolvement, ego is mostly seen as the aspects of ourselves which we want the world to see, the part of us that wants approval and wants to impress.

Within the spiritual community, there are varying ideas as to the role ego plays in our spiritual evolvement. There are those who believe the ego must be overcome because it is the basis of human suffering.  This group believes that the ego can be stripped away, leaving us with a life full of passion and happiness.  Many gurus and great thinkers agree that the ego has to go.

My favorite explanation of ego is viewing it as Edging God Out.  The voice of the higher self can be hard to hear if we are in a cycle of ego.  This false voice can be quite loud, edging out God's voice, leading us to make decisions, or not make the decisions meant to keep us on our divine path.

Personally, I believe the ego can be one of our greatest teachers and guides on the path of spiritual evolvement.  I like the concept that the ego is simply the part of our mind that like to sabotage our efforts.
The voice we listen to when we are in the midst of change and growth, that attempts to keep us from the growth. Even if it's good, it's different and the ego doesn't like change.

Marianne Williamson puts it best in her famous quote from A Return to Love, "It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." This observance that ego's fuel, fear, will block us from our divine purpose, even if it is what we desire the most, is something I have to mentally keep in check on a daily basis.

If we are working to elevate our life in some fashion, the ego will fight tooth and nail to survive. It views the change as the end of its existence and will use whatever thoughts necessary to stay in the game.

My favorite example from my life was the time I drove all the way to Ann Arbor, MI to attend a service at the Buddhist Temple. I parked outside the building, unbuckled my seatbelt and the first thing that popped in my mind was that I did not want to go in, I was tired and I was by myself. I felt the fear of treading into the unknown and it froze me in my tracks.

Then , of all things, I remembered an interview I had just read with Madonna where she said "If I'm afraid of something, that generally means I need to do it."  In that moment, I knew the fear was my cue from ego, signaling  me to just do it. If ego was fighting that much, then it was time to move forward.  I got out of the car, entered the building and had one of the most spiritually enlightening experiences of my life.


How Do We Deal With Our Ego?

The point I want to drive home with this post is that the ego never goes away and if you think you have taken control by conquering ego, banishing it from your life forever; then I would venture to say ego has a firmer grip on you than it ever has before.

I firmly believe the ego is a necessary player in our personal evolvement.  If we are here to learn, then the ego is our best teacher.  The challenge is to learn to discern between the voice of ego and your divine purpose. Since the ego never goes away, I envision it as a friend, or someone I've been dating, who does not lift me up to my greater good.  I envision an amicable "break up" with ego, as we still have to coexist in this world even though we don't encourage each other.


My Mental Exercise:

I have a little mental exercise I go through when I realize I've been making decisions based on Ego. I visualize it as a person, no one I know, just nondescript (I have a friend who has given her ego a name to make this process easier). We are at lunch and I'm thanking it for all of the wonderful experiences I've had while listening to it's advice, I think it's time for us to go our separate ways. Then I visualize it getting up and leaving the restaurant, leaving me there alone and empowered.

Silly, I know, but it works every time. I literally feel my mind disconnecting from thoughts that have not been serving me, emotions that have been dragging me down and the release of the physical pressure that we intuitively put on our bodies when we are not following our true path.  I feel myself surrender and find myself fully present in the moment where the Universe's messages lie.

I have heard friends talk of their favorite mental exercises for dealing with Ego.  Each person has their own process and as time goes on, you will find what works best for you.  Dr. Wayne Dyer even has even addressed this in his Seven Steps for Overcoming Ego's Hold on You.

I would love to hear about what works for you.  Be sure to share and leave a comment so we can help and inspire others to learn to coexist and acknowledge ego as their greatest ally. : ) 
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