I’ve wanted to write about ego for a while now for once I identified
and understood ego I experienced such a peacefulness within myself;
all of a sudden ‘awakening’ made sense
(I admit to not quite grasping the concept at first).
Questions I didn’t even know I had were answered – I guess that means I wondered ‘why’ but without a specific question in mind.
All of a sudden my feelings and thoughts were explained and I couldn’t deny my own ego, but I could recognize it and in doing so, I could weaken it.
[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]Ego – The self especially as contrasted with another self or the world.[/quote]
Merriam-Webster defines Ego as; The self especially as contrasted with another self or the world. Before I read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, I thought ego was a person’s self-worth, a person with a big ego would be boisterous, arrogant, or cocky. I wasn’t exactly wrong, but the true definition is much more accurate. Your ego is the part of you that is constantly comparing you to everyone else. Albert Einstein referred to ego, the illusionary sense of identity, as an optical illusion of consciousness.
The ego loves identity, most easily recognized through content, “my car”, “my life”, “my space”. This is how we get so caught up in consumerism, when the ego identifies with things we create an attachment to things and thus we want more things, better things. Then we become possessive over our things, getting angry, anxious, or sad when something happens to our things. We may become so attached to our things that we experience a great sense of loss when those things are gone, we react as if we experienced a death. We base who we are on what we have, and even what we don’t have. “I own [this] therefore I am [important]”, “If only I had [this] I would be [happy]”. This is the illusion of self identity, but our stuff is not who we are. Matter of fact, the ego wants to live so badly it will thrive on whatever it has. If you read up to this point and decided to give away all your possessions thinking you would free yourself of ego, chances are your new thought process, anti-consumerism, would be the ego’s new identity. It’s identity with things would be replaced with an identity of a more enlightened person, this new thought process would then be identified as the ‘right’ way – the ego loves to be right and will make it so by making others wrong; the self as contrasted with another…”
[quote align=”left” color=”#999999″]What you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself. ~ Eckhart Tolle[/quote] The ego also identifies with thought. Have you ever thought something and quickly scolded yourself for it? Sometimes I have thoughts that I don’t even believe. I think, “I must be a bad person for having such a thought”, for certainly my thoughts are what make me Me, right?
Wrong! Your thoughts are usually created by the ego in an attempt to make itself right. You know how they say people criticize others in order to make them selves feel better? That’s your ego, it is always comparing itself to others and it needs to be better than them, so when it finds inferiority within it will try to turn that around by criticizing the behavior or appearance of the ‘better’ person.
Ever notice how much people complain? Complaining is soothing to the ego, it serves the same purpose as judging. When you complain about a person, situation, or practice your ego is saying, “I am better than this”. As Tolle says, “what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself”. In my case, when I started working my last job, there was a woman there who was extremely mean, not just to me but to almost everyone who sought her help! I had never experienced someone being that mean to me before and it really upset me. When I spoke about her to my friends and family (constantly!) I could point out each of her faults very easily. After years of hating her to the core, it occurred to me that those horrible traits could also be found within myself, that the things I hated so much about her were the things I hated so much about myself! I still think she is an awful meanie but I also recognize her struggles and excuse her behavior for she does not realize her impact nor does she mean any harm; she is defensive of her own shortcomings and her ego covers them up by making others out to be inferior in some way. I am also thankful she came into my life long enough for me to learn a valuable lesson about the way I act and why.
Becoming conscious and breaking free of the ego is so important to being happy with yourself and your life. I urge you to read Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth as there is so much more to unlocking that consciousness and Tolle explains it in such detail, understanding it is certain to change your life!
Life is so much happier when you are happy, and being happy is as easy as flipping a switch, once you find the switch of course!