“Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter.”
― Sharon Salzberg
Cultivating a healthy ego is really about waking up.
It may seem daunting at first because the ego knows and curiously wants only what is familiar, even if it doesn’t serve you that well. Let’s review what we’ve covered so far in each part of this four-part series.
In part one and two we talked about how the ego can develop defense mechanisms, those fears and doubts that keep us feeling small and stilted. We talked about what may be going on with people who seem to have “big egos.” Ego says, “I am something, I am somebody, I am very great” OR ” I am not so great, I am not so evolved, I am a fool”.
In part three we talked about how it may seem that no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to let go of our ego. We think to ourselves, “I still feel miserable…. I need things to change on the outside, not the inside,” and it just seems impossible. There’s that word – impossible. That’s the ego.
It’s got to work from the inside out.
Sure in an ideal world, maybe if we had it easier on the outside, we’d feel more supported and willing to change on the inside. Or maybe not. Really it’s about how by allowing ourselves to transform on the inside, our world will indeed change on the outside as well.
But many people think it’s the opposite.
“The mind thinks thoughts that we don’t plan. It’s not as if we say, ‘At 9:10 I’m going to be filled with self-hatred.” ~ Sharon Salzberg
You see our thinking will not change without willingness and awareness. No matter how much money, sun, or outside support and compassion we have, we need to become willing to open up and look at how our thinking is affecting our own lives and behaviors, otherwise the money, compassion and kindness just trickles away like a sieve.
So how do we do this? Practice, practice, practice.
It’s difficult to be self-honest without judgment or feelings of shame and regret. But judgment, shame and regret isn’t self-honesty. It’s just the ego expressing what it knows and what it has experienced throughout the years.
“When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
All too often, we may feel a sense of release, an opening into being more fully alive and present with your self and with others, and then it disappears. Yet again we feel ensnared by that old craving, a feeling of stuckness or stagnation, overwhelmed by finances or loneliness.
What’s happening is our ego is basically identifying with the conditional aspects of our lives. For thousands of years, the wisdom of those who meditate have proven that their mantra – know thyself – is where true transformation happens.
Remember, you are not that patterned behavior which has developed from the ego trying to protect itself. We become bound when our ego becomes disconnected from our true unbounded nature.
Meditation is about practicing a new way of being. A little bit each day – 20 minutes of sitting and finding that place where we can listen. Just sitting and breathing, eyes closed for 20 minutes a day. Nothing more nothing less. Finding a community of others who meditate will greatly help you continue this process without the ego telling you it’s not making a difference.
With consistent meditation, the conscious mind becomes more expansive. Here the ego is at its healthiest. It doesn’t desire or languish or regret. It doesn’t trip out on or bash the self or others. It resides.
“Its never too late to take a moment to look.” ~Sharon Salzberg
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