“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
~ Anna Quindlen
It’s impossible these days to partake in the spiritual path without coming across the seemingly endless jingle of “transcending your ego.” This concept tells us that the ego hides behind traits such as jealousy, possessiveness, anxiety, judgements and fear and conceals the deeper aspects of the soul that reside within us.
The ego is inauthentic in its approach to working its way through sincere vulnerabilities, and is often misguided in how to deal with a situation that appears threatening to us. But we need to consider that such strong defense mechanisms came into play in order to protect and guard against real traumas and psychological wounding.
If someone was abused in some way as a child, it is completely reasonable that the outcome as an adult would be to deal with love by controlling others, considering that the experience of abuse left an imprint deep on the psyche.
So how does one begin to transcend this experience from living in darkness to living in light?
Who or what we “really” are is said to be love. We are here to love and be loved, and to perhaps learn the lessons of how to surrender and soften into this experience, rather then living in fear that we will not get enough of it.
The thing with our poor old ego is that through its experience of the world so far, it has a perception that it needs to gain or give love rather then just be love.
When we move away from this inner well of love, and search for it outside of ourselves, it seems we tend to turn into an energy vampire, sucking love out of others via need for approval, or controlling everyone else so that our needs can be met.
Here it gets kind of interesting.
We need our ego to show up in order to illustrate where we are seeking the approval of others.
Then we will have the ability to use the insight of the ego’s reaction to self-inquire and offer possible insight into what is really going on for us in that moment.
Perhaps, when we reflect back to someone who was abused as a child, there is a mirror effect happening, where the external world is reflecting a similar vibration to that of the abuse. This then sets off warning bells within the psyche, which forgets that it is living in the present moment, and doesn’t need to respond with fear towards the situation.
So what can we do about using the reactions of the ego to move into insightful reflections?
>> When you find yourself in conflict with someone, observe yourself and notice what you are feeling and thinking.
>> Notice if there is a sense of approval being requested or a need to control the situation.
>> Fully acknowledge the feelings that are rising up and find a way to express them. i.e. journaling.
>> Remind yourself that no one or nothing holds your happiness in their hands. This well of happiness and self-worth lives within you, and only you.
>> Remind yourself that you are a being of love. Even if it feels silly, or untrue, as the experts say, fake it till you make it.
The ego is not designed to be broken, much less destroyed or killed. The transcending of the ego is an experience of being disillusioned by our core beliefs and our unconscious, psychological conditioning. Wisdom often comes from the error part of “trial and error.”
“You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
~ Brené Brown
Michelle Jayne is a Vinyasa Yoga Teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Dipping her toes into the world of blogging, Michelle hosts yoga retreats and workshops within Australia and overseas. You can find her at www.yogaground.com.au.
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- Assistant Ed: Stephanie V.
- Ed: Brianna Bemel