The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe. – Albert Einstein
This past year I have come to accept that the world is a friendly place, people are inherently good.
But that’s not just a choice you decide to make. It has to go deeper than that to actually have any lasting impact.
Come on, let’s go down the rabbit hole of the ego.
To hold the belief that the world is inherently good we need to understand that the external world is a reflection of the internal self.
So we have to internalize that in ourselves, because without doing so, we fail to recognize the inescapable truth that our ego has a way of supporting our beliefs; because the ego always has to be right.
We must create a shift in our ego that is going to facilitate a true accepting of others as friendly, and good – without reserving too much judgement; because once we do that, we bait a sort of trap for ourselves.
If our ego could speak it might say something like ‘well, let me see about this person because I don’t generally trust people because of the past and I have always been right’.
And then the moment we see a chink in their armor our ego goes ‘yup! Just like I knew. That sucks, because I actually gave them a chance too’.
Bullshit. The ego doesn’t give chances. The ego creates situations and opportunities to fulfill it’s role as protector of our real fears: our vulnerability and our insecurity.
There is a great book by Don Miguel Ruiz, called The Four Agreements. In this book he says that we shouldn’t take anything personally; that someone should be able to say we are the best person in the world or the worst person in the world and either should mean nothing to us.
In some zen, egoless state of nirvana perhaps we could all feel that way, but in reality we have egos and our ego is the part of us that cares what other people think. So while we feel like our daily interpersonal communications and our relationships are a product of our best efforts, we are mistaken.
Sure, we all feel like we are on our own to some degree when it comes to navigating our way through the relationships that life offers us, but in truth we are a vehicle for our egos to support the beliefs that the ego has developed.
The beliefs of the ego have been created to protect ‘us’ from fears that the ego wants to push on us, but in actuality those very same fears belong to the ego as well.
Our true beliefs are far different because they come from who we are. The beliefs of the ego come from who our ego wants others to think we are and that is the source of our fears.
The ego is not a kind master. It keeps us captive, preventing us from accessing the true nature of others and the true innermost nature of ourselves.
Our ego driven communications are shallow and they do not reach the selves of others. They only activate the ego of another and it creates a cycle of superficiality.
So how do we break this cycle? How do we access the beautiful, authentic, trusting and true friendships and love that is inside each person that we come into contact with, as well as ourselves.
We have to realize that the fears of the ego are irrational. This is counter to Freudian principles, which have labeled the ego as representing reason and common sense. Hardly.
Remember our ego has one need that is paramount to all other selfish needs of the ego: The ego begs for attention.
So perhaps the ego wants to feel inflated and smug. Well, what happens when a situation doesn’t create this outcome? We get upset, which is really fine for the ego because even if we are fighting with someone we love, we are still getting attention.
But there is a second need that is dangerous when combined with the ego’s need for attention. It’s the ego’s need for validation.
This is a dangerous combination because the ego has to create beliefs that support the situations we encounter. This is where judgement arises into our minds, from the ego.
The ego is constantly creating new beliefs so as to not be caught off guard. The ego is where all of our emotional baggage resides. The ego doesn’t care about our true belief system. It will create beliefs that aren’t even congruent with who we are in order to ‘protect us’.
And that creates inauthenticity.
I could continue to posit more assertions about the ego but I think I have made it clear that it is not only a major blockade to our relationships in life, but it’s also a perpetual stopgap from allowing us to be who we are.
We have all heard about transcending our egos and all of that jazzy wonder, but how is this really accomplished.
One does not simply transcend an ego. We are talking about the driving force in most of or lives and the combatant to our inner consciousness.
I’ll share with you what I believe to be accurate thoughts on my own ego.
My ego is the part of me that is afraid to die. My ego is the part of me that has allowed me to survive without a true understanding of my spirituality for so long. My ego is simply a bandaid for my lack of faith. Faith in myself, faith in others, and chiefly faith in a power greater than I.
I know one irrefutable fact about my ego. Nothing within me will master it alone.
So, I’m going to stop challenging my ego. I’m going to stop surrendering to it. I’m going to present my ego with the only power that it will surrender to.
I believe that spirituality can take over from here.
I believe that my spirituality understands human nature far better than I do and that conscious contact with my creator can allow me to live life according to my true nature.
I believe that to love and to be loved has a lot less to do with love for ourselves and a lot more to do with love for others and love for a higher power.
And this isn’t a moment of transcendence that we choose and poof, the ego is gone, this is the beginning of a journey. One that requires conscious focus on staying in contact with my creator.
When I fail to do that, I invite the ego back in and it will attempt to take over my life again.
I must choose to travel my journey with my higher power and that must be an ongoing, active process.
Matthew 6:24 says:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Only one of these masters can truly care for you.
Which master are you going to choose to serve today?
Choose the one who will free you from your false beliefs and judgements, allowing you to see the universe as it really is: a friendly place.
Choose the one who will open new doors to relationships and new doors in existing relationships. Choose the one who will allow you a chance at a new relationship with yourself and the opportunity to truly love and be loved. Make this choice and you will begin to live life as you were meant to live it.
I believe that if you can find a power bigger and better than your ego, the entire context of your life will change.