I certainly know when life gets overly busy. The blog is the first thing to go. So much for my anticipated discipline of posting twice a week. All the "build your blog audience" sites drill home the point that you must post often and consistently. Then it occurred to me that I don't much care about building an audience right now, so that's one less pressure I need to worry about. I'm gonna post when I want when I feel moved to. There, I feel better already! Now on to today's topic.
I've been writing a lot about ego lately. During the last months I've been experimenting with some concepts around ego. It seems that people have two parts to them. The identity part, the part that is the story we tell about ourselves; and the part of us that lies "behind" our identity which I call the Authentic Self. We spend most our waking hours living in our identity/ego. We only occasionally slip into operating from the Authentic Self. We've all had the experience of being "in the zone", or having an intuitive flash about something, or doing something that comes effortlessly. We can also find this place while engaged in activities that totally turn off our mind chatter. Meditation, yoga, free dancing, or listening to music are a few things that do it for me.
Yet we cling to our ego. We truly believe we ARE our identity. I think we do this because we spend most of our time identifying with our identity! Yet, I also know that living from that ego place invokes a place of constant distress. We suffer from "not good enough" disease. "I want more" or "I want something else". The ego is never satisfied for long. Like a hungry savage dog, it constantly needs fed more meat. It does this so it can survive and continue to be needed by us.
Some traditions teach that the ego is something that should be overcome, or that it is a total illusion. I disagree. The ego is very real and in fact I believe we do need it to function in the world. Without an identity we would walk around like cattle. We wouldn't be able to function in the world and create stuff. We wouldn't be able to communicate with each other because for the most part we still communicate through our physical bodies. We relate to others based on their identity. ie "She is a female" or "He is a child" or "He doesn't like me", or whatever. However, we are only being our true self when we are in the ego-less state of Authentic Self. So what's a person to do about this dilemma?
I think it would serve us well to change the way we view the ego. Ego is not the enemy, nor is it something we should get lost in. The ego is a TOOL. In fact it is our greatest tool to express the Authentic Self in the world. If we can view ego as merely a tool it suddenly becomes easy to be detached from it and everything it does. It also causes me to want to honor that ego. It is only through "her" that I am able to experience this amazing thing called life. It is only with her capacities that I can create things in the world using her particular set of talents. And through this amazing "tool" I can experience and relate to other people who are merely other expressions of Authentic Self. Suddenly my ego becomes a beautiful and amazing thing and the most precious tool I currently own. Although I realize it is only "on loan" to me for a rather short period of time. I must enjoy her and "use" her as much as I can while I have access to this amazing thing called EGO.