Understanding the ego
Your ego is your story. It is a culmination of all the experiences you have had in the past and lessons you have learned.
Every time you talk to yourself, you are talking with the ego just like you are right this very second.
So, if all my thoughts are my ego then who am I? That is a deep question, isn’t it?
In his talk Alan watts says that if you ask a monk ‘who are you?’ he dodges the question and responds with his own question, ‘who is asking?‘ Which according to Alan watts is a reframing of the same question.
This might feel like it is going too philosophical but bear with me here. By the end of this post, I promise you that it will all make sense.
A poem to explain our battle with the ego
Mysterious memories meandering-Daksh Rai
making me more melancholic
Making me miss my mission
my mighty magnificence
mistakenly made me
my most miserable,
My most morbid make
Note- The poem has all the words that start with M denoting (me/my)-the ego.
What the ego does
The poem starts by talking about our past memories and experiences that come up constantly in your thoughts, be it subconscious one or conscious ones.
You see all those thoughts are constantly telling you what you should and should not do. However, they are all based on past experiences.
You don’t know what the future holds and you never can, but instead of taking a leap of faith, you are bogged down by these thoughts.
These thoughts dictate your life and thus by this way you are living a life that is already set in stone.
You see, life like that is filled with melancholy. A life wherein you just live on the bare minimum effort and never strive for anything. You live caged by a prison of your comfort zone.
How the ego fools you
You see, you might even think that you were very smart because you listened to the ego. Thus preventing yourself from that situation or circumstance because you did not follow your calling.
By trying to avoid the pain you felt in the past you miss out on new experiences you could have had.
By taking the safe road, your life becomes predictable, unfulfilling, and stale.
Is living that life any better than being dead?
“We may think there is a safe road. But that would be the road of death. Then nothing happens any longer – at any rate, not the right things. Anyone who takes the safe road is as good as dead.”-Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Ego despises a leap of faith. It is risky, unpredictable, you never know what comes next.
Even though there is a thrill in chasing your calling, there is always a chance of getting hurt.
That is not what is scary to the ego though, at least not as scary as you abandoning it to pursue your calling.
It just wants you to not go on the dance floor and let loose because of that one party in childhood where all your friends laughed at you. If you don’t dance, no one’s going to laugh right?
Once you learn that the belief you have had all this time is an incorrect one, that is one less thing ego can control you with.
If you can overcome one thing, what stops you from taking a chance on your next calling?
Ego is not preventing you from being dead. It is preventing itself from dying.
Thus, just because you do not want your ego to die you never really start living. You become your most morbid make.
Who am I?
Coming back to this question. Did you figure out the answer yet? It is so easy and yet the most difficult thing to realize.
Who am I?
Well if you have not realized it yet, do not worry here is the answer.
You are the one reading this right now. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less. You are this moment. The past is just a story and you cannot live in the future. All you are ‘is the present moment‘.
What you are doing right now is who you are. Your actions like reading this sentence, your breathing, heartbeat.
Your ego does not want you to think of yourself that way though.
That is because if you lived that way, the ego would die. It comes up from behind and says, “That’s not true”.
How do you beat this ego?
Well trying to resist the ego is a thought only your ego can come up with. If there were no ego, there would be nothing to resist, would it?
We all know the more you try to resist something, the more powerful it becomes.
Instead, try to accept it. Love it as a part of you. By trying to resist something, you push it deep in your subconscious.
Every time it comes up you try to distract yourself away from it. If you however accept it, you can let go.
Say you are sad about something. If you try resisting your sorrow, you will fill up your schedule with distractions. They might even work, for a while.
As soon as you get back to yourself though, you feel sad again, and probably worse off than you felt before.
If you just accept how sad you are, and stay with that sorrow, you can release it. Have you noticed how light you feel after crying? It is as if a burden is lifted from your shoulders.
That burden was nothing else but your compulsive need to resist that sadness.
So then you might ask, how do I accept the ego? Well the answer is right there in front of you. Live in the present moment. See how we came full circle?
By not trying to resist, and really accepting what you are feel, you come back to the present moment. That is how you win your never-ending battle with the ego.
The best way to live in the present is to follow your callings.
You might ask, that is all good but I do not even know what I really want. How would I even know what my callings are?
Well, there is a simple 5-minute exercise to immediately know what you truly want in life. I have prepared it in a free eBook for you.
That is all for this blog post. If you are struggling with a problem, now you can book a call with me on this website. I look forward to talking with you.
Well, that’s all for this post. Have a good day and a good life.