Chapter 6 -Making Peace with Ego
I have always read and heard from others who categorize ego as a bad or negative emotion yet it remains to be a significant trait in many humans. What is ego? Why is it so bad to be egoistic? After all, the internet says that ego is just a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance and why would that be harmful? Befriending my mind was one of the most amazing decisions I took in my life and the deeper I dive in, the more beautiful it gets. I am able to unlock some of the rusted doors to make way for new wisdom to enter. Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the Buddhist philosophy of life, is making me realize how powerful our mind is and what all can be achieved if we learn to understand our minds. Practicing mindfulness has led me to slowly and gradually drift from living in "what is" rather than my former style of living in "what if?" Ego is considered as one of the negative emotions because it blinds us into believing that we are superior in one way or the other and resists us from being humble, being kind. Excess ego makes us forget that we are all connected, interdependent, and part of the same planet. Self-analysis is helping me spot the circumstances that push my ego switch which has been restricting my progress. I have highlighted the situations where I felt my ego taking the driver's seat: - Every time I have a conflict of opinion with someone - Someone tries to correct me - Someone doesn't take my suggestion/advice - Someone questions my ability - Someone gives feedback on a belief that I hold dear - Someone tries to threaten my dignity - Someone lying to me My ego wasn't just preventing me from seeing the outer world more compassionately but it was blocking me from seeing within. It was time to regulate the supply of ego and to keep it in check that it doesn't obstruct the flow of wisdom that I was so eager to receive. "I", "Me", "Mine" had kept me protected in a shell that made me live in a false illusion that I didn't need anyone, that I was independent and do not need to rely on anyone other than myself. How can I say I am independent when my whole existence was dependant on another human being before my birth? I relied on my mother to provide nutrition and warmth. After birth, I was still dependant on my parents and society to teach me how to live. This realization has not only changed my perspective about interdependence but it has also gotten me connected with other beings on a spiritual level. I am now able to listen to someone talk without having the urge to respond, without preparing a mental debate or a sarcastic joke just to prove a point. I am able to be present, able to pause my meaning-making machine for time being, and just be present in the conversation. - My apologies are more genuine than before - I am more attentive and present in conversations now - My growing knowledge is giving me a sense of connectivity rather than making me feel a sense of superiority over others If someone cuts me on the road, my ego won't tell me to honk back in aggression. I won't back down to apologize the moment I realize that I have made a mistake. I won't deny helping someone just because they had wronged me once. I won't feel embarrassed to admit it if I don't know something. This doesn't mean I won't pat myself every now and then to boost my self-esteem but it sure will never nudge me away from staying grounded.
~ Anila Andezhath