Dealing with Ego on a Spiritual Path

When we are on a spiritual path, the idea of ego becomes something to overcome and get past. It feels contrary to how we want to be in the world.
Its the part of ourselves that we would rather hide or deny rather than show. So we battle with it or suppress it…. or disguise it.

ego in disguise

Here are some examples from my own experience of an ego in disguise:
~ We see ourselves as knowledgeable and evolved…. so we don’t want to be seen as not knowing or caught up in our self image.
~ We see ourselves as spiritual beings who give a lot to others…. so we don’t want to appear selfish and put ourselves first.
~ We see ourselves as good people in a world of danger and mistrust… because the world is a place where things are out of our control and other people can harm or take advantage of us.

Does this sound familiar to you? Can you see the ego at play here – in our thoughts about how we don’t want to be.
That’s our ego in disguise.
We are creating a “better” ego to overcome the inferior one from the past.

The irony is that in order for us to evolve past our ego we need to get intimate with it and acknowledge it. If we want to truly evolve into a new level of consciousness then this is the place that must be embraced.

silhouette of man standing near body of water

Photo by brenoanp on Pexels.com

When we look at the aspects of our ego, or our shadow side, and we feel resistance and discomfort … its a good thing.
Of course, this very human part of us doesn’t want to be looked at. Yet, when we accept is as a part of our experience, we begin to see it more clearly. We  feel it’s impact and see the power it has had over us for most of our lives … even now.

Being awake and conscious  and witnessing how our ego comes and goes is something that the most enlightened people are able to do.  It brings a smile and possibly a shrug. There is curiosity, compassion and detachment.

We cannot deny it just as the left needs the right, one side of a coin has to have the other, and  they cannot be separated from the other.

When we accept it and see it for what it is, it loses its power. We must embrace it in order for it to be no longer important as a driver in our lives.

If we continue to beat it up it will find ways to become more powerful in our thinking and stories about ourselves.

Be kind to your ego, so you can let it go and transform into your whole Being.

 

Self Questioning

free image from Dreamstime

“To have the courage to

Question one’s certainties, is

True courage.”

~ The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin translated by Roy Melvyn

Sit with this a while and see what comes up for you…

Bringing our awareness to the beliefs that we hold, and usually take for granted, is the first step in our personal growth and spiritual self inquiry. When we look inwards and question our thinking and assumptions, it opens up new perspectives and gives us the opportunity to learn about what has been unknown…. or what may never be discoverable in this life.

This venture into the unknown is a courageous path because the ego-mind will be alert for any conflicting views or threats to its long held position. The ego holds on to those beliefs that have become our certainties about life. It can keep us rigid, stubborn, critical and damning, or simply safe and stuck.

The choice is ours. To embrace the new or hold on to our certainties.

To those on the path of Yoga teacher training, take courage as you embrace what is beyond belief.

Namaste

 

Ego in Yoga

This is a re-post  especially for those on the spiritual path of yoga.


hydra

“Ego can take many different forms and shapes. It is like the hydra. You cut off one head and another head replaces it. You cut off that head and see a third head and a fourth head ad infinitum.

This is because in the manifest dimension, ego identity is the root of life, and if the ego identity is lost, then life as we know it no longer exists.

It exists as light; life becomes light.”

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

I enjoy reading the different metaphors explaining the complexity of our ego, and can relate to the idea of a hydra. Our ego will do everything in its power to survive – especially adapting and changing shape.

The ego is very clever. It will allow one version of our body-mind to die and create a better version that fits in with either (1) how it wants to be seen in the world or (2) what is perceives is needed to stay alive in its physical body.

In my experience with others on a spiritual path, the newer version of ego is likely to be a more evolved version of the previous one. It may show up as being kinder person, a more patient parent, a wiser leader, a humble follower, a beacon of sanity in a world judged as mad…

These are still roles that the ego plays. Less damaging perhaps, yet still ego driven.

Recognizing the hydra heads of the ego is the gateway to le

The answer however is not to keep cutting its heads off. After all this would be an ego motivated act!

Instead embrace ego for what it is. A part of our very human nature that clings to life. It is neither good nor bad. It simply is.

Then we can wake up and realize we really are the divine light beyond ego and our human form.

Namaste

Enlightenment and Spending Time with Family

For everyone spending time with the Fokkers this year. This is a re-post and reminder just in time for Christmas and New Years.

☯︎☮︎☯︎☮︎☯︎☮︎☯︎☮︎☯︎

meet the parents

“If you think you are truly enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents.”

~ Ram Dass

I laughed out loud when I read this today! Visiting back home definitely brings me back down to earth. I then googled to see what others said about this and found this wisdom from Eckhart Tolle.

“It is a good test for your degree of Presence. The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again.

… You will gain the most from this experience if you don’t take it too seriously, if you don’t create impossible standards for your conduct of behavior, if you try so hard to be Present and Still that you behave like a robot, if you withdraw into a cocoon of self-protection, or if you blame your family members for every little imperfect act from the past that harmed you in some way.

Instead, and above all, choose to relax, reduce your expectations for what may or may not happen, expect little skirmishes, disagreements, moments of humility or failure, and the distance you may feel with your family as a whole, knowing that you are trying to move beyond the ego patterns that have been impediments to your soul and that they care less about ego and Presence and even Truth.

Love and accept them where they’re at. Have compassion for their pain. Be observant while being engaged as guilelessly as possible. Watch yourself and your reactions, out of curiosity, not judgment or blame, but for the benefit of learning how and where you’re really at in your spiritual evolution.”

So … Don’t take it too seriously. Relax. Expect to re-live some moments rooted in the past. Love and accept them for who they are, rather than wishing them to be different. And above all, don’t just bring a present Be Present.

Namaste

 

Inflicting Pain and Forgiveness

This is a repost for all those struggling with pain and forgiveness. When the pain eases we can see more clearly. 
pain

If I were to ask you “Do you go around inflicting pain on to others?”

Most of you would answer with a vehement NO!

That’s because the idea of being a mean person or a bully is simply not acceptable to us. We cannot see ourselves in contradiction to our beliefs and values. Its our protective ego that cannot face the possibility. It holds on strong to its belief about how we appear in the world… and what is acceptable to ourselves.

Yet, when we take time to pause and reflect, most of us do unintentionally inflict pain on others.
Consider if you have done any of these:

Not seen someone who wants to be acknowledged.
Forgetting to call.
Making judgments.
Withholding.
Getting distracted.
Being late.
Withdrawing.
Holding on to resentment.
Sticking to a particular way of doing things.
Stonewalling.
Acting out in anger.
Holding on to your beliefs.

All of these actions can cause pain for others.

We may tell ourselves its not our fault or we are protecting ourselves. After all, it may not be our intention to cause pain. However, the outcome is, that we do.

In the same way, we feel pain when others act in this way towards us.

How many times have you felt hurt by someone because of one or more of the above actions?

It is the nature of human beings to be egocentric and self protective. And when we are, we are capable of inflicting pain on others. We are all imperfectly human – no matter how hard we try to be perfectly in control.

When we accept this, we can begin to forgive ourselves and others. This is a huge step on life’s journey to finding real peace of mind.

Follow this link to a Forgiveness Meditation which will guide you towards forgiveness and peace.

After all, we are only human. Despite our failings we are also filled with love … and a capacity to forgive.

 

Inspiration – Eckhart on ego

ego burden

“If you consider the ego to be your personal problem, that’s just more ego.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Smiling …. After all, my ego is much bigger problem compared to yours!

Today, let go of taking things so personally and let your ego take a back seat. Let go of comparisons and feeling you are alone. You are not.

We all have gone through these feelings.

What happens next depends on your decision to let go, and move forward.

Realize that there is a more powerful You ready to take charge and facilitate your growth.

Let go of the personal and join the rest of us on the same journey.

Namaste

I Can’t Do This!

© creative commons stock photos   ID 109887606 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Have you ever told yourself “I can’t do this! I want to, but I can’t.
I am too stressed, worried, anxious, afraid, distracted, angry, irritated …. and anyway, there isn’t enough time!”

This  is EXACTLY the time you should consider doing it.

Pay attention to your self talk and don’t believe it.
The answer lies beyond the ego mind’s denial.

If you want it, you can make it happen with all you heart and not your head.