Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free. ~ Eckhart Tolle
I remember the first time we met, my Ego and I.
We acknowledged each other for just a second. Like the magnetic, slightly awkward instant of eye contact shared with an estranged friend on a busy sidewalk, sealed with a nod. I see you.
I’ve seen her much more since then, but rarely for long. She’s always too busy being somebody. She’s the Life Coach. The Daughter. The Yogi. The Lover. The Solopreneur. The Sister. The Writer. Anybody, in fact, but me. It’s how she survives. It’s how she keeps herself safe—and sane.
Now and then she realises that she’s actually none of these things. That’s when the hot tears start to fall. She runs to me and I try to calm her down. Just breathe, I say. You’re where you’re supposed to be.
She usually resists, so I let her cry.
Through heavy sobs she tells me stories from a past we can’t change and tales predicting a future that will probably never come true. I often find myself slipping into her stories, and before I know it the lines are blurring. What do you mean I’ll never be a good coach? What do you mean I’ll never be as successful as her? What do you mean I suck at my job?
What do you mean I’ll never be happy?
It’s not easy to remind myself that we aren’t the same, but it’s becoming easier to feel the space between us, the narrow but brilliant void that separates Self from Ego. It’s taken hours of meditation, dozens of books and countless conversations and plenty of soul-searching before a small but infinitely liberating piece of wisdom lodged itself deep into my psyche:
I am not my thoughts.
I am not my beliefs.
I am not my fears.
I am not my desires.
I just… am.
Meeting my Ego really introduced me to my Self. The space where my soul lives, where dreams are born, and where my instinct and intuition reside. For the first time, I was able to distinguish between who I thought I was, and who I really am.
Your ego is a small, but powerful part of you, but it doesn’t define you.
It is, however, an important ally, one I’ve learned to appreciate, respect and admire. Her stubbornness and drive helped me start this journey. She’s the reason I can look back on my life and celebrate both my tribulations and trials. Her desire to stand for something good has forced me to seek out ideas and people that inspire me. She’s the reason I travel, take risks and enrol in courses.
She’s the reason I hate what I hate, and love what I love.
She’s part of me, and I love her.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Hannah Allce/Flickr