I recently viewed a video of Jason Estes talking about the ego – the link to it is at the end of this post. I found this video quite moving, as it made me realize that I have been inadvertently trying to get rid of parts of my ego.
I never did buy into the idea, as proposed by many during the heyday of the New Age movement, that we are supposed to get rid of our egos. That seemed false to me. However, of late, I have been observing how my own ego has certain traits that basically made me miserable. These traits are wanting to be right, defending myself, and wanting to be in control. There are so many potential triggers here, that life can become a series of events in which very uncomfortable feelings arise often during any particular day.
It was really those feelings that I didn’t want anymore, and it seemed to me that ridding myself of the ego traits that brought those feeling up would be the way to go. Not that it wouldn’t be a daunting task, but I was determined to be a keen observer of these traits in myself. And when they did appear, notice them and do whatever I could to get rid of these traits.
Well, Jason’s video helped me to see things differently. Getting rid of the ego is not going to happen until this particular life ends, so that’s out. But what would happen if instead of pushing these feelings away when they arise, I would simply allow them, and let them flow through? What if my ego was much like a child, but we were operating as a team, and when those traits appeared with the feelings that come with them, I would, as the elder of the team, put my arm around the ego/child and comforted him? All I was doing before that by trying to get rid of the feelings was to assure myself of their continued presence in my life.
This whole thing of getting rid of feelings – what a trap that is! After all the training in The Living Inquiries and Mindfulness Training that I have gone through, it was very humbling to realize that I was falling into that trap, once again, of pushing feelings away. It can happen so automatically.
So now, with this new outlook, I feel much more relaxed moment to moment. I’m not looking over my shoulder waiting for another appearance of some unwanted ego trait, and instead, I see my constant companion next to me, living this life as my protector and friend (after all, who knows me better?), who needs to be reminded now and again that he is a passenger in this car, not the driver. If I remain present and off automatic pilot, he doesn’t need to seize the wheel. He can simply enjoy the ride.