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Thread: Indications of when the Ego is in Control

  1. #1

    Indications of when the Ego is in Control

    I was surfing through Facebook and found this post, I thought I'd share it with the Sangha Gassho, JohnTHE EGO IS SNEAKY: 5 WAYS TO KNOW WHEN IT'S IN CHARGE

    If you are reading this article, it’s probable that you have read
    dozens, if not hundreds of books and articles on spirituality. You may
    have studied numerous traditions, and sought the help of a master from
    any number of traditions. Or, maybe you’ve stuck with just one,
    diligently. The truth is that you have probably succumbed to the amazing
    maneuvers of your mystical ego, and fallen right into some of the
    spiritual pits you have been trying to avoid. Sometimes no matter how
    hard we try, we get upset, judgmental, lazy, mean, or even angry. We
    forget so easily, that whatever we see ‘out there’ is just reflecting
    what’s ‘in here.’ Damn, it can be exasperating!

    The ego is so
    tricky, it can even use your spiritual practice as a way to do you in.
    It can make you and your opinions seem ‘better’ than others, and anyone
    else’s wisdom, ‘inferior.’ It can turn the most hallowed practice into a
    convoluted mind-screw that has you thinking you are ascending, when
    really you are back-sliding faster than an ice-skater dancing on a
    banana peel.

    So, while a simple list is just another device for
    the ego to make you think you know what’s up when there is still so
    much more to learn, here are a few ways you can tell when your ego is up
    to no good and taking charge in your life:

    You haven’t
    forgotten how to be the observer. One of the fastest ways the ego works
    on you is to remove the gap between yourself and the experience of a
    thing, person or circumstance. As long as you have forgotten that
    everything you are experiencing is coming from your own very deep
    programming – your stuck. This can be really difficult when it feels
    like someone is hurting you, lying to you, cheating on you, shaming you,
    guilting you, etc. The truth is – at the most ‘non’ conscious levels,
    which really means the more conscious levels, you are creating the
    show. You’ve designed the costumes, made the props, and even chosen the
    set. You won’t see any difference in the characters of your play until
    you change the programming that is causing them to act out the scene of
    your life in front of you so expertly.
    You see your current
    reality as the only reality when it really represents only a fragment of
    what is possible at any given moment in time. It feels as if you have
    to protect this very limited view of the world, because if you didn’t
    you would feel pain, and suffering, but ironically, this is exactly what
    the ego has you thinking, very purposefully – and it does cause
    suffering. It’s a classic reversal of truth, and you’ve bought in, hook
    line and sinker. As we re-integrate the shunned and shamed parts of
    ourselves, the part-conscious, un-whole pieces of the full pie of who we
    are, we get to integrate the ego so that it can no longer hide its
    sneaky tricks from us – namely of keeping us stuck in a very limited
    understanding of the world as a whole. Ego, in essence means
    fragmentation – we mistakenly believe that this is who we are. It is
    simply untrue.
    Any time you are afraid, you can be sure the ego
    is having its way with your consciousness. This includes worry, fear,
    and anxiety. Fear is based in limitation. It is only seeing a small
    portion of the Truth. The future seems frightening to the ego, not
    because the outcome is unknown, so much, as the ego doesn’t have control
    of this domain. As long as the ego has you sweating the small stuff, or
    losing sleep over the big stuff, you aren’t able to expand your
    consciousness into love. Fear causes you to have to ‘prove’ yourself to
    others. It causes you to have to ‘be worthy’ through some action, when
    the truth is you already are, just as you are. It can turn even a loving
    relationship into ‘I’ versus ‘you’ In a heartbeat. Fear obliterates we.

    Laziness, tiredness, and passivity are also tricks of the ego. If
    you are just too ‘tired’ to make a change you stay stuck in your
    current, more limited view of the world – your small piece of
    consciousness is running the show while you mistakenly believe it is a
    true representation of reality. “Laziness is nothing more than the habit
    of resting before you are tired,” said Jules Renard. If you don’t exert
    any effort at all, you can be sure your spiritual path with stagnate.

    Hiding your real feelings about a situation is often the work of
    the ego. If you can’t communicate honestly and openly, the ego gets to
    use all sorts of manipulative mind-games to keep you playing games with
    yourself and your partner, friend, boss, etc. You become stubborn,
    unwilling to change, and more interested in defending your unspoken
    truth, than expressing it. The ego will have you believe that telling
    the truth will humiliate you, but the old saying is true, ‘the Truth
    will set you free.’

    Do you have other experiences of the ego taking over? Please share them with us.

    Written by Christina Sarich
    Last edited by Nameless; 06-16-2013 at 07:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Shunryu Suzuki was asked,

    How much "ego" do you need? Just enough to not step in front of a bus.^^


  3. #3
    Thank you, John. Generally, some very sound advice.

    A key aspect of this Practice is to be aware of the tricks of the "mind theatre" and not buy into the show, developing awareness of how much we can change the story by changing or dropping our thinking.

    I might add that some fear, some laziness and the like is just human, and I think harmless (even positive in many ways). So, I do not "fear a little fear" or laziness or the like, so long as such emotions do not run to excess, bind us as their prisoners or create truly destructive situations in our life.

    Gassho, J

  4. #4
    Thank you for posting, John. I think that it is good to be aware of the way that spirituality can be used in service of the ego although hopefully our teachers are well on top of letting us know! Trungpa talked about it long ago in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and the more recent books on Spiritual Bypassing by John Welwood and Robert Masters have explored the topic from a more psychological angle.

    My main indication of ego take over is taking myself far too seriously. A major plus point for me of most Buddhist teachers is their well-developed sense of humour about themselves, the path and life. That doesn't mean that they don't take the path seriously, but the inability to experience any humour around teachings often indicates a high level of attachment to dogma.


  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo. That's true, a little laziness isn't bad. All things in moderation as they say. The extremes never serve anyone well. It can be difficult to not take yourself seriously Andy. I used to be a very intense person. Then I realized that everything is kind of a cosmic joke of sorts, myself included. It's healthy to laugh at your mishaps and shortcomings. Gassho, John

  6. #6
    Laugh, and the universe laughs with you.

    Cry, and the universe laughs for you.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

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