That stinkin’ ego. It sure gets us into a world of trouble, doesn’t it? But why do we have one? It’s all about survival–that sense of separateness crucial to the duality of the human experience. And the ego does what it can to give us a sense of separate identity so that we can create the contrasting roles we need to learn and grow.
It accomplishes this by comparing itself to others. “Do I have as much money as he does?” “Do I have a better belief system than she does?” “Am I thinner, prettier, more handsome, smarter, fitter?” To gain a sense of self, we must measure ourselves to a reference of some sort: another person, past performance, someone’s expectations. As a result, we feel either superior or inferior to that point of reference. Whether this makes us feel lesser or more than the “enemy,” the ego creates boundaries and defines us as individuals.
We best achieve this sense of separation by making others–a person, a group, a situation– the reviled enemy. There is nothing that increases the sense of “other-ness” more than enmity. In contrast, friendship and affinity blur the borders we establish between others. This sounds self-defeating, but, teleologically, we had to have this not only for spiritual growth through the human experience, but also for survival. I’m sure we’d want to feel as separate from a ferocious tiger as possible rather than cozy up to one ask to be its best friend.
When you look at the ego, you see that it is merely a bundle of thoughts and emotions. It is not YOU. Nevertheless this ego, when allowed to romp with reckless abandon, creates horrid repercussions for its owner: bulimia, jealousy, a sense of inadequacy, envy, hatred, anger, fear and more. It can plunge us into victimhood; it makes us gossip, complain, bear grievances, resentments, and more.
In all cases, the ego is always right and the “other” is always wrong, even if it perceives someone as “wrong” for being superior. You feel wronged when someone or something delivers a blow to your sense of self-worth–even if they don’t even know who the hell you are. Damn the rich. Damn the powerful. Damn the accomplished. Damn the ones that covet this belief or philosophy or opinion, repudiating yours.
On a grander scale, the collective has its own ego, creating bundles of rigid and powerful thoughts such as doctrines, edicts, organized religions and other collective beliefs. Those thought bundles are often wielded like swords to cut down the individual and even entire masses. Holy wars, imperialism, genocide, civil wars, and other atrocities result.
That said, the ego divides and creates conflict on small and large scales. The more tenaciously our ego clings to beliefs about ourselves and others, the more intense and damaging that conflict is. It makes us believe that we alone possess the real truth. Everyone else’s is wrong. But thoughts are not the truth. As Eckhart Tolles says, it at best can point to the truth. One Buddhist saying capitulates this: One can point at the moon, but that doesn’t mean the finger is the moon.
To best grow and to mitigate the trials and tribulations of the human experience, we must recognize our ego for what it is: an impetuous child demanding our attention in order to define its identity. How do we do this? We simply become aware of it. YOU are that which is aware of the ego. YOU are the I AM. You are the way, the truth, the life.
Resisting the ego is futile. Ignoring a whining child will only encourage him or her to whine louder and with greater capacity to annoy. “You cannot fight against it any more than you can fight against the darkness,” as Tolle says. Instead, shine a light on the darkness that is the ego and it will disappear.
Look at the world around you and you will see two polar developments. Negativity in every form from war to victimhood is on the rise. The egoic mind is reaching its peak. On the other hand, those who embrace spirituality as we do are also increasing in numbers. This is as it should be. It is part of The Shift.
So, how do we let go of our egos? We must become aware of of our thoughts and emotions rather than remain imprisoned by them. When I see signs that my ego is rearing its ugly head, I try to see it as that little toddler having a tantrum, and I laugh because it’s so damn cute! (Although I don’t recommend this with an actual toddler.) You can create your own technique, but the important thing is this: Thoughts and emotions must be used in the service of the truth rather than in service of the ego. Once you accomplish this, you will feel that glorious oneness, that connection to all there is. That is LOVE. And to experience LOVE is JOY.
Once you are able to see the ego as separate from the essence that is YOU, it’s nearly impossible to react to things and persons that would have normally incited anger, sadness, shame and other negative emotions. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself for the holiday season and beyond.
The concept of joy (and gifts) conjure up the very nature of the holiday season. I have been reflecting lately on how much you all have saved my life–given me a reason to continue living after Erik’s “death,” and for that I am eternally grateful. Each and every one of you are the best Christmas present I could ever ask for, and I know Erik feels the same. He could not do what he is doing without his Channeling Erik loved ones. Below is a picture of him sitting in Santa’s lap with Annika and Lukas.
Happy Holidays, Sweeties.