Have you ever wondered where does our ego come from?
What are the roots of it? And do you believe it is evil at all, or do you find it to be synonymous with self-respect? There is a thin line between self-respect and ego. Sometimes so invisible that we do not realize.
What is ego?
Ego, in spiritual terms, is a very subtle element that often pollutes the purity of the soul. It turns off our eyes of wisdom and forces us into shackles of darkness and ignorance. It makes us impose the current situations on people and things. And are highly unlikely to take responsibility for the self. I am not talking about the visible ego here. Not the one which may be seen in some arrogant office bearer. Here what is being referred to is the Ego of the Yogi.
Egoism has its reflections also in such people who are seemingly detached from worldly things. Those who seem to have given up every materialistic desire and seem to be leading a selfless life. I had a personal experience of this basic truth. In my years of spiritual practice, I have been associated with various schools of thought. This happened when I was associated with a similar organization.
At this place, the classes and meditation were given free of charge, though they were open for any voluntary contributions.
So what exactly happened?
After several years of the association, on a fine day, I offered to buy a car for this spiritual institute. But before I would do that, I had some questions. I wanted them to tell me about who will be driving the vehicle. Whether they have a proper parking spot available etc. To my surprise, they told me that these questions don`t matter for you, and you shouldn`t be bothered about all this. Maybe there was a valid reason behind them saying this.
The begining of egotism
But my ego got deeply hurt and howsoever stable I might have looked externally, I was shattered from inside. My ego had put me down, buried me in deep sorrow of having lost the artificial throne of command.
In the garb of selflessness, I was trying to show-off and was seeking a place of repute amongst their students. True selflessness is a high state of energy. Although not so easily achievable, it is something that is required. More often than we think, we get engrossed in such egoistic traps.
Ego of good karma or doing something noble
When I tried to explore, it surely was an ego of money that I had. I believed when I am financing such a big asset, I deserve to know the answers. But in this, I forgot one thing. That the money which was giving me ego was not mine, neither physically nor otherwise. It is important to remember always that we all are the by-products of so many other factors that we have no control over.
Ego because of a false perception of self
It was not my hard-earned money. Most of it came from my parents. I hardly earned any of it myself. Even if it was my hard-earned money, I still had no right to be egoistic about it. That money came from my job. The job was given by my employer based on my education. That education was felicitated onto me because my parents enabled me to get it and financed it. I was just there at the right time at the right moment all the time. I am a product of so many people and things.
Realization: I am not an independent entity (realization of Interbeing)
There is no independent ‘I’ that has earned the money. I am a product of support from my teachers, my parents, my siblings, my classmates, my employer, my coworker, my customers, and so many other people and things. It was they who enabled me to get that paycheck in hand at the end of each month. And it was in no way my contribution. I can earn that only because, the director of this world had put me into such a beautiful role, which enabled me to earn that much. Thinking about all these I relieved my mind and slept.
Shackles of Ego call keep you entangled
But still, the matter was not completely settled and started to occupy my mindshare again in the morning. Now I made a phone call to the sister who had given those commands. And the tone of my voice reflected the anguish and ego I was carrying inside. Although the intention wasn`t wrong. But due to those shackles of ego which had not yet completely set me free, I was forced to behave in such a rude, mean and agonized way. Eventually, I figured out, that it was my tone which doing the real disservice and changed it to my usual polite one. Things settled, I sought an apology and mentioned that I had understood my fault. I learned a great lesson on EGO, the hard way though. The wounds created by words were not healed soon. But I took this as a great lesson for me and as something that I should never repeat in life. Some key takeaways from this incident are:
What are the key takeaways?
- Always ask these 3 questions whenever some sort of EGO hits your mind:
- Who am I?
- Whose am I?
- What is mine?
- Remain in Mindful state all the time to avoid conflicts
- Always look at the Interdependence part of things
- I am not the doer, I am just a facilitator of the wish of supreme energy who guides and runs the world
- Never feel that you have achieved somethings just by yourself. There are so many invisible factors supporting you.
- Be grateful for what you have and practice Mindfulness.