Note from the author: This began as an apology epistle to my husband, which he was happy to read. I shared it with my older sister too and her response was “Apt.” Huh! My ego didn’t like that. But it gave me yet another opportunity to practice joyfully laughing at my ego.
Here’s a little meditation and expansion on the apology epistle I wrote to my husband, and the seven truths on ego that it unveils:
1. I’m sorry that my ego loves to try to run the show.
Through practicing meditation, over time we may experience glimpses of a separation, or a ‘happy distance’ from the continual stream of thinking in our minds. We may have the realization and understanding that “you” are not your thoughts. Similar to the idea that you are not your body. You have a body. Or as C.S. Lewis said: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul; you have a body.”
Being aware of our ego is an extension of this idea of cultivating conscious awareness. We are not our ego. Your ego wants to be in control and have you pay attention to it, and only it. However, our ego is not who we are.
2. When my ego is driving the bus, I feel either superior or inferior to other people.
This is how the ego works. Whenever we are feeling either superior or inferior to other people—we know our ego is in control. If we can get a little separation from our ego for a time, we can simply ‘be’ with other people. We can recognize the divine nature of every sentient being.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, I was part of the snob culture where it was the norm to put people in a box or a category – where did you go to school?, what do your parents do for a living?, etc.
In embarrassingly unaware moments, I can still be a shocking elitist—invisibly and perhaps unintentionally conditioned by my father who grew up in an upper-class English milieu where they are bred to believe they are superior. The tragedy of this conditioning is that we miss out on our shared humanity. To be able to recognize what is the same in all of us. That spark of the divine that is here in me, there in you, and that exists in every sentient being.
3. The ego can be cruel. She can be relentless. She can put us on a pedestal, and she can throw us to the ground.
We all love to glorify or vilify other people. We want to eulogize them, or demonize them. And our own ego tries do this to our own selves. Tricky little thing.
4. I practice holding my ego like a beloved pet, and I joyfully laugh at it when it tries to run the show, but sometimes it has its way with me.
To personify our own ego, helps give us a little distance from it. Is yours a cuddly cat, an annoying badger, a monstrous gorilla, an extensive anthill? Through getting to know it well, we can practice deep love and acceptance of it, knowing that it can be useful at times, but that we’ll be most effective with our conscious awareness in the driver’s seat, not our ego.
5. I’m sorry when I’m in victim mode—that’s when I like to blame. To hold other people responsible for everything, refusing to see my part in the situation.
This is part of our ego’s tirade. When I feel inferior to other people it’s easy to feel like a victim. And slipping into victim mode, everything is everyone else’s fault. I have no part in the problem at all.
6. I’ve learned to practice observing my humanity from my divinity. The divinity that is there in you, in me, in every sentient being. Observing with no judgment. Simply seeing.
When we are able to separate from our beloved pet ego, when we have some distance and clarity around it, we learn to see both the humanity and the divinity in every sentient being. This idea is abhorrent to our egos – i.e. that we’re all ‘a child of God.’ And yet there is absolute liberation, freedom and peace in this realization.
7. But the fact remains that we’re spiritual beings having a human experience, and in our humanity we feel both the joy and the pain. And it’s often through the pain that we learn the most. I’m sorry for the pain.
And what’s left unsaid here is that we also get to celebrate the joyful times. Our ego only wanting to celebrate when it’s in control and we’re feeling superior, but an aware consciousness celebrates life just for the juicy joy of it.
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