Befriend Your Ego
‘Divide and rule’ is a motto that has served those who wish to control and subjugate others very well indeed. This ‘plan’ is not just used on the battlefield or in political, economic, social and religious spheres but more recently in the spiritual realm too. It seeks to set us at odds with ourselves, to do battle with an even more insidious ‘enemy’ that has been labelled as ‘the ego’. When all else fails; when the terrorists, the State, aliens, forces of Nature and even the ‘devil’ no longer are motive enough to drive apart the kinship of humanity, then those that fear only losing control, will ask us to go deep within to wage war on ourselves, and seek separation from the dreaded ego. Do not be fooled, for when you make it your mission to understand and nurture rather than hate and destroy, starting with your ego (an inseparable part of who you are) then, and only then, can you really see the light…
How often have we been told that the ‘ego’ is bad, something we must master or even detach ourselves from. And we wonder why it seems such a battle to ‘fulfil our potential’, elevate our vibration or attain Nirvana…it’s like trying to climb a mountain with one eye, one ear, one leg, one arm and only half our wits about us. Bloody hard! Our ego is part of what makes us human, what allows us emotional expression, part of our drive our motivation and our determination. It helps us relate to others and to the world at large. By its very definition the ego seeks to realise our fundamental needs whilst still taking into consideration our spiritual or more elevated desires. It is the co-pilot on our journey through life, and if we are constantly trying to push it out of the car, no wonder it eventually wants to get into the driving seat.
Some people would argue that the ego plays host to all that seems negative about a person, be it their greed, their vanity, selfishness, arrogance even intellect and spiritual superiority. On that basis one could argue that the major religions of this world today were founded primarily by individual men with egos ran amuck, completely unchecked. It is so easy to clump together all that is ‘good’ all that is ‘bad’ and then address your energy accordingly, but in doing so you only feed into the bad stuff by starving it of your care and attention. I openly admit to enjoying praise, particularly for the things I really care about, my family and my work for example, and I like to think when it comes to work, that yes I do a good job and that I have a talent for it, however I also know that this has come about, and is able to be realised, because of the support of others, the kind words and encouragement they share…so I do greatly appreciate and value the praise and joy of others. Here my ego does a lot to support my self-worth and self-esteem.
Perhaps nurturing the ego is as much about being grateful for the positives it brings as keeping the negatives in check. For example there are times when a peaceful impasse is better than all-out war. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to differ with others. Part of you may be screaming ‘but you’re wrong’ but because you cannot control what other people think, you just need to manage your feelings better and know its okay to do so. This might mean considering different opinions; you may even learn something new. And it is far more productive that jumping on your high-horse or belittling others to prove a point.
But perhaps the most holistic approach to this question of dealing with our egos comes with the realisation that there is no separation at all. It is all about perspective. As whispered through the ages by so many of our ancient ancestors who believed in we are ‘one’ no separation of the ‘Id, Ego & Super Ego’ as Sigmund Freud subscribed. We are multi-faceted, highly emotional, beings often with a great need to rationalise, departmentalise or segregate all and everything around us, being able to pigeon hole things and lay blame for our ills appears to be an intrinsic part of how we cope with the adversities of life and even our own short-comings. And when we struggle to take responsibility for our thoughts, words, behaviours and actions it really seems to help to push it on something else, even when it is within us, pretend it was not our fault… But we will all fall down at some point, we will all succumb to feelings and thoughts that bear little light on the truth, and it is exactly at that point that we must embrace the darkness for only then can it begin to heal and provide the setting against which our lights of inspiration, empathy, compassion and forgiveness can be seen.
The part of you that helps to push through against the odds, that lifts your chin and allows you to face the winds of change and stand firm, the part of you that smiles at the pleasure you give to others through your talents, or just your presence, the part of you that helps you to thrive in life, to finally succeed after many failed attempts… that part of you is not ‘bad’ and it is not something tagged on to your very being as a cruel joke or afterthought, The parts of you that make up your ego, should you still wish to see them as such, are like your inner ‘Eden’ – a garden that when the soil is aptly prepared, the seeds are well sown, the plants are watered and the weeds are kept at bay, will offer a bountiful harvest in life, year after year. Leave it to dry out or be overrun then it will inevitably seek water and nourishment elsewhere and leave you nothing in return. As with all things ‘internal;’ the choice is yours, tend to your garden well.
(c) First published in More To Life magazine
(c) Kate Osborne, Solarus Ltd
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