Ego is to the true self what a flashlight is to a spotlight.
– John Bradshaw
Ah, the ego. It’s that toxic thing that creeps up on you from time to time to say: “That’s not fair!” or “What about me?!” Well, folks, I was a victim of the ego’s powerful pull this weekend. And it caused me to lash out at the person who means the most to me. What’s so confusing about the ego is that it takes on a life of its own and mutates into something very, very ugly. Before you know it, the ego convinces you to say something you don’t mean, thereby hurting someone, or doing something completely out of character.
Some examples are:
- The guy on the road who flips you off because he doesn’t like how slowly you’re driving. His internal “ego voice” says to him: “How dare YOU (i.e., stranger whom I’ve never met) slow ME down?”
- The guy standing behind you in line at the grocery store who dashes over to the newly opened line without offering to say: “YOU were here first. Go ahead.”
- The woman who gets angry at her boyfriend because she mistakenly thinks HE hung up on HER.
Sound familiar? Anytime we think someone is out to deceive us, cheat us, or shortchange us, the ego rears it’s ugly head.
The easiest way to break it down is: EGO = DRAMA.
It’s human nature for the ego to grab a hold of us from time to time. But when it does, it’s important to quickly become aware of what’s happening so as not to lose control. And when that’s impossible…as we all DO lose control…we must ponder how to recover from that.
As Eckhart Tolle reminds us in The Power of Now: “The down cycle is absolutely essential for spiritual realisation. You must have failed deeply on some level or experienced some deep loss or pain to be drawn to the spiritual dimension…. Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure.”