“I fed my ego, but not my soul.” ~Yakov Smirnoff
When the ego recedes from our lives, we have space for the other to exist. A way of loosening the grip of the ego is the ability to recognize that others have a right to existence too.
This seems self-evident, but to the ego, only the self matters. For instance, recently in Mumbai, I traveled by the local train,which I usually avoid due to how over crowded it always is. When you enter a crowded suburban train in Mumbai, and dozens stream in along with you, pushing past with scant ceremony, it is hard to accept that they have as much right to get into the train as you do and that they are justified in disregarding your precious self.
The Revelation for the ego is to recognize that others are equally important, that their point of view matters, their needs count, and their states of mind, body and soul are entirely valid. Conflict diffuses when this realization slowly percolates into your consciousness. You no longer cling as tightly to opinions, or fears of an opposing point of view. Another’s refusal to abide by your desires is no longer a personal affront. When you want to go out and the other wants to chill at home instead, it is no longer an intolerable denial of your rights.
If and when a colleague or acquaintance retorts sharply to you, your mind no longer fills with your own explosive emotion, compelling you to defend yourself or put the other down. Instead, there is space to reflect on what the other said, to inquire why they said it and what could be motivating them. Your response subsequently will be far less reactive and more reasonable than it would have formerly been. The existence of others takes on a more sharp and vivid reality. You see them more clearly, hear them more clearly and understand them more clearly.
It is almost as if the space that the belligerent ego occupied recedes and there is more space for the other to exist. Wow right! So much positive space!
How can we Starve the Ego? How does it happen that the ego begins to shrink and dwindle?
From my experience, it is clearly linked to a sense of self-esteem. As we love and accept ourselves more, our sense of self becomes stronger. We trust ourselves more and have greater confidence in ourselves. All this frees us of the emotional and psychological needs that drive so much of our desires. It is this that enables us to put aside the concerns of the self and focus on the other. Until this happens, no matter how hard we may strive, the self will be ever present, anxious and insecure, sensing threats everywhere, and seeking compensation through sensory and material pleasures. Paradoxically, we can only starve the ego when we are aware of its hold on us.
When this happens, the old war that the ego wages between self and the other by reacting, resisting and manipulating, begins to lose its fire.
It becomes clearer than ever before that the world is not full of villains and we are not the only hero around. It’s only full of people operating from their own world views and perspectives, each with their own stories for being the way they are and each handicapped by their own egos.
The acceptance that we are all part of the same collective consciousness is a revelation we need to meditate on daily. We are all in the same universe and not one of us is better than the other. We cannot afford to look down at others, play blame games, ignore the compulsions and conditioning that drive their behavior, or refuse to extend to them the essential love and humanity that we claim for ourselves.
When we begin to separate ourselves from the iron fists of the ego, we become closer to the other. A greater sense of kinship dawns. The original sense of excitement of connecting with another human being begins. We discover the other with a real sense of exploration, seeking only to understand their point of view, see things the way they see, understand life as it has revealed itself to them. Relationships flourish through this open nonjudgmental stance. Especially as we no longer feel the need to crib or carp, judge or run down. Acceptance of ourselves and the other frees us of wanting anything to be other than what it is.
The utter simplicity of life dawns as we look at it head-on, not grimacing at what we see or pining for what is not, but containing the moment completely, experiencing it and letting it go.
Feed your soul with non-judgment, with love and with acceptance…this is what will starve the Ego, this is what will let GO of the EGO.
What are YOUR thoughts on this topic?
Are you feeding or starving your Ego? Have you felt the excitement of connecting with another human being lately? Share your wisdom and thoughts in the comments below.
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