July 4     

Today's quotation:

The ego is primarily engaged in its own defense and the furtherance of its own ambitions.  Everything that interferes with it must be repressed.

Jack Sanford

Today's Meditation:

I've never been a big fan of my ego.  It's kept me very limited in the things that I can do in life because it's concerned only with itself.  It doesn't want to get hurt, so it causes me to be defensive and to withdraw from what it sees as potential threats.  It wants to feel better about itself, so it causes me to boast and even lie sometimes so that it can improve its self-image.  Fortunately, I've been able to keep my ego in check, mostly because I was lucky to see the damage it was causing early and I simply stopped paying attention to it.

What does your ego tell you when you're wrong about something?  It tells you either to continue to claim to be right or to claim that you never made the mistake.  Your heart and mind may tell you simply to say, "I was wrong," but your ego often overrules both of them, trying to "save face."  What it doesn't tell you in its attempt to make itself look better is that you actually end up being dishonest, and that's a way that we damage ourselves-- when we're more concerned with saving face than with telling the truth, people learn very quickly that they can't really trust us.

We really don't need other people's approval, so saying that we're wrong is just fine when it's appropriate.  We don't need to put ourselves above others by judging them, something else that the ego tries to do consistently.  And if we want to be happy people, we don't need to control others to get them to do what we think they should-- we can let them be who they are and be just fine with that when we accept them that way.

The ego is a paradox-- it's telling us that it's trying to make us happier, but it's really just creating more and more chains that keep us unable to reach happiness at all.  We can't really get rid of the ego, so a good strategy to take is to recognize it for what it is and accept what it's trying to do, while deciding to do what our heart tells us is right and positive and ignoring the silly things that the ego encourages us to do and say.

Questions to consider:

How does the ego come to have such a strong influence on the lives that we live and the decisions that we make?

How often are the directives of the ego positive for more people than ourselves?

How can we learn to recognize when something comes from the ego or if comes from the heart?

For further thought:

If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue.  Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge.  Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time.  It's very important to be aware of them every time they come up.

Deepak Chopra

more on ego



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