In attempts to become enlightened, the ego can become the enemy. Something to be pushed out, got rid of. There’s another way.
Ego. Not the source of our self-confidence or self-esteem. In fact it diminishes our innate brilliance.
Ego. A collection of thoughts, some curated in your life, some inherited from past generations. A repetitive thought process which highlights only the ones which conform to the story we’ve been told and tell about ourselves.
Ego. A thought process that, when believed as who we are, keeps us trapped and limited. Only allowing certain experiences to enter our consciousness. If the experience conforms, come in, if not, resist and reject it. Not allowed.
Ego. Not a ‘thing’. No object. No substance. Nothing to be pointed to. A label attached to a patten of thought. A convenience to have labels, they are all we have to communicate with.
Ego. Unlikely to ever entirely disappear. But which we can learn to cohabit with better.
So what does cohabiting look like?
Raising awareness to it. Seeing the patterns that play out. Looking fresh at what you apparently like and don’t like. The ego drawing you towards things and people that conform to its story and pushing away those that don’t.
This doesn’t just mean it creates a seamless life navigating you towards and away from with ease because the thought-patterns include keeping close those who treat us badly if that’s the story the ego has highlighted. Or staying in a job we hate because it said we should, or because work’s not here to be enjoyed. Or striving and striving, adding in more activity, so busy, all to conform with the story. Or trying to be right and in control against which others are increasingly railing.
These last bits sound like a bit of a pain don’t they! Something we’d want to change and get rid of.
And that’s their perfect design.
The more we try and live life by these patterns the more we suffer, and the more likely we are to reach a point where the thought-patterns say ‘I give up!’
In that moment. Phew! Relief!! Clarity, connection, compassion. The ego has gone quiet and we’re experiencing who we really are. Freedom!
This feels good!
Then immediately the ego, back in the game. ‘I liked that! I want, I need more of it. How do I get more of that? What did we do for that to happen? Let’s do that again!’
Which of course doesn’t work. That’s all a*#% about face.
But still, a seeking chase might begin. To find the magic. Paradoxically the search covering up the exact thing being sought. Like a whirlwind of sand hiding the gold sitting steady on the ground.
And so it’s easy to see the ego as an enemy to be vanquished. Makes perfect sense – at least it does from the level of the ego which believes there’s somewhere better to be than here and if we could just get there…
But true freedom from ego is seeing that it doesn’t have to go anywhere for you to be ok. Freedom is in seeing that it will come in and tighten things up and apply its rules and fill this moment now, full to the brim with imagined pasts and futures and rules and should’s.
And then it will go. And we’re back into clarity, connection and compassion.
Just we don’t tend to notice those moments much. We don’t recognise that they’re springing up naturally when we’re not caught in our heads. That they’re like a life spring, bringing us all the experiences, qualities and traits we’ve been searching for. Naturally. Automatically.
Nothing needed to be done to ‘make’ them appear. And nothing needed to be done to ‘make’ the ego go. Anything you think you personally did is just a coincidence making it seem like you’ve got something to do with it.
And so with every instance in which ego appears and is seen with love and not rejected, it eases a bit. Like a storm over the ocean, a little of its energy lost.
Moving us from the start where we’re wedded to it, believing it is us and we are it. Then lurching to rejection, file for divorce! To seeing we can live with it, housemates but not soulmates. That the suffering it created got us to here and that without it we might not be having this conversation.
And so it can be honoured, it can be thanked for every time it pops back up to show a residual story still being believed, it can be lived with. And freedom is there.
With love, Helen