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An article about ego

Struggling with Ego
By JJ Gormley
Commonly thought to represent the self, the ego commands center stage in our lives for the simple reason that the ego marks us as individually distinctive from other selves or egos. Our ego is basically our personality. Psychologically cast, ego controls our thoughts and behaviors and enables us to be in touch with external reality. To say that ego is at once powerfully helpful or harmful reflects the ego’s complex nature. On the one hand, an inflated ego can lead to conceit or exaggerated self-importance. But on the other, a more even-handed ego can produce appropriate pride in oneself or self-esteem. The latter quality is accompanied by more than just a modicum of unpretentiousness or humility. But humility can also go too far when it completely emasculates ego, leading to self-loathing and doubt. The ego’s very complexity implies a never-ending struggle or battle to void at once excessive self-pride and self-hatred. Instead of allowing this battle to remain exclusively a philosophical mind game, I believe our yoga practices can play a featured role in achieving the balance we all seek.

Many spiritual traditions teach us to do battle with the ego. Does this imply a need to slay the ego as if it was our enemy? How can we slay something so central to our individual distinctiveness? How are we to do battle with the ego without permanently impairing our means of perceiving external reality?

Perhaps the answer lies in realizing the permanent battle we face between allowing the ego to become full of conceit and falling into self-loathing behavior. Balance depends critically on achieving a humility that tempers conceit without destroying a proper pride in self. The battle between the two tendencies is on display daily: from the judgmental behavior of self-inflated and conceited egos to those who have lost any sense of self-esteem. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us that finding balance between these two tendencies represents life’s eternal quest.

We all know when we get down on ourselves through constant questioning of the decisions we’ve made. We could have or should have done it differently or better! Humility comes in handy here by furnishing just the right level of diffidence to avoid self-doubt. On the other hand, those who display enormous self-confidence and are prone to judge others too quickly are frequently experiencing an inner battle of their own. Their exaggerated egos hide their own distinctive battle against self-doubt and low self-esteem. Yet, there are those who possess just the right amount of humility, making them much better strategists in fighting the eternal battle we all face.

Are those possessing overheated egos incapable of thinking about strategy in fighting this battle? They are caught standing in the midst of the battle’s cannon fire without even realizing the battle has commenced. Referring to the Gita, again, perhaps this was where Arjuna was when he laid down his weapon and called upon God (Krishna) for consultation. Only then did he become aware that the battle must go on. The warrior Arjuna is caught in the quandary of doing battle against members of his own family, who are on both sides of the battle. This would suggest that these family members are metaphorically parts of ourselves that we must do battle with.

What parts of ourselves must we do battle with? Besides a super-inflated ego, we frequently need to let go of stuck emotions such as anger, guilt, shame and fear. If we consider them to be family, we should meet them all at the door laughing. Laughing at them metaphorically slays them; we eliminate deep-seated and often devastating emotions caused not infrequently by our own family members.

Holding on to these emotions is ego-stuff and letting them go is a reflection of finding and displaying an appropriate level of humility. Our inclination to hold on to these emotions or display excessive ego is enhanced by the fact that we want to remain as we think others see us. To face these dilemmas, we must go to battle with them. Humility in just the right dose is our best sword, and being able to forgive—ourselves and others—is not only the best weapon of all but the greatest form of humility.

Easy Does it..Keep It Simple..Let Go and Let God..
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