Let’s begin by defining what we mean by ego in this context. Ego is the limited ‘I’ of approaching our life from the perspective of being (only) a body. This approach and limited understanding of our true identity is a huge misunderstanding and is the root of many problems.
When I identify with being only the body, I tend to create a false image of myself based on the way that I look, the things that I do and the temporary ideas that I use to define myself.
All of these ideas can be taken away from me in a second, leaving me ‘stranded’ and in a state of despair about myself.
This can happen when a person is made redundant from her job for example. If she has over-identified with that job and it is taken away from her, she can experience deep loss, not only of income, but also of identity, value and self-worth, thinking that part of her has gone. Really, she is the one playing that part or role and it was not what she fundamentally is.
Here are a few examples of how we can feel depending on our perspective or our viewpoint of the world, ourselves and our experience in life. These contrasting feelings were noted, and shared with me by a mentor, and highlighted to me the vast differences of a life approached from these two states of consciousness.
When I am in body consciousness:
– I feel anxious and uptight
– I am grumpy and short-tempered
– I can turn my friends into enemies
– I am out of harmony with my body
– I can waste time, energy and money by being indecisive
– I have too many expectations of others and of myself
– I am motivated by short-term desires
– I criticise and find fault with everyone
– I have a judgmental attitude
– My happiness does not last
Are you starting to see the pattern?
Can you recognise any of these feelings in yourself?
How do they make you feel?
Now, when I am in soul consciousness:
– I feel comfortable inside, no matter what happens
– My heart is open and loving
– I love myself
– God becomes my best friend
– My confidence and self-respect soar
– My life has meaning
– I understand the scheme of things
– I attract beauty
– I find what I am looking for
– I become far-sighted
Are you starting to see the contrast?
These two states of being are worlds apart, in fact they are polarities.
In body consciousness:
– I have low self-esteem and a lot of ego
– I become very defensive
– I have poor listening skills
– I constantly seek approval
– I become possessive and jealous
– I lack integrity
– I can find it hard to let go
– My horizons become limited
– I become affected by the expectations of others
– I hurt those who try to help me
Ouch, can you feel it?
For me, it was like looking in a mirror and, I can tell you, I didn’t like what I saw!!
In soul consciousness:
– I understand my story
– I see the past, the present and the future clearly
– Peace becomes my lifestyle
– I become in harmony with the rhythms of nature
– Happiness and love fill my mind
– I am motivated by wisdom
– I understand how the world works
– I am not afraid of death or of yesterday
– I respect my body and treat it well
– My inside matches my outside
Are you getting the picture?
Do you want a few more?
In body consciousness:
– I have offensive personal habits
– I am dependent on physical support systems
– I am never satisfied
– I become easily bored or lonely
– I can be overly sensitive and touchy
– I have mood swings
– My mind is scattered and cluttered
– I leave jobs unfinished, half-way through
– I tire easily
– I say one thing and do another
In soul consciousness:
– My head and heart move as one
– My highest dreams become reality
– Animals become my friends and I don’t eat them
– No human being is my enemy
– I am able to conserve my spiritual and physical energy
– I become a non-violent warrior
– I develop a clear and decisive intellect
– I can easily transform my nature
– Patience and contentment always accompany me
– My body becomes an instrument of positive expression
And on and on we could go.
Maybe you can see just how useful it can be and also how we can change our life, and so the lives of those around us, just by being soul conscious. These few thoughts, notes and observations have helped me beyond belief. As someone gave these to me, it is my duty and honour to pass them on to you. I think we all want to improve ourselves, even if we won’t admit it. If you are able to remain open and detached whilst reading these comparisons, you will notice that the awareness of the body is so natural, that we think that it is normal and that we have to feel this way about ourselves, as if it is our only option.
However, body consciousness is an idea that has become our reality over a period of time, possibly many births, but is not our original state of being. The trick is to practise being soul conscious as much as possible and to make it firm. By doing this, I begin to remember how I used to be. As I practise soul consciousness, I begin to wake-up to who ‘I’ really am and this awareness becomes my natural nature once again and life becomes easy.
Quite quickly, it has becomes obvious that living my life in soul consciousness is the path to happiness and living life in body consciousness is the route to sadness, low self-esteem, stress and distress. These are conditions that often lead to disease and illness.
The question is, “What do I want?”
“How do I want to feel about myself and the world around me?”
“What is important in my life?”
The more time and energy I put towards being soul conscious, the more clear life becomes. If my mood could be gauged on a thermometer, I would say, the higher the ‘mercury of happiness’ rises within me. It’s so easy; all you have to do is start and watch life change colour before your very eyes!
It’s all about beginning or starting a new journey or direction, and this move opens up a whole host of possibilities and opportunities, bringing a sense of joy back into living.
Ego is very slippery. Out of all the negative energies, i.e. anger, desire, attachment, greed and ego, ego is the most invisible. You can see the other negativities, even within yourself, but I am often unable to even know that I have ego. Ego is expressed in arrogance or inferiority. Both, “I am better than…” as well as, “I am no good…,” are the two sides of the coin of ego. Whether I am over-confident or have low self-esteem, this is my ego. It puts others down or can undermine the self. If I express this energy, it pushes people away from me and I can become isolated. I can know that I have ego if I have the feeling of being insulted and I experience the pain that goes with it.
In short, I should do myself a favour and ‘check and change’ myself when it comes to the body conscious attitude of ego. Otherwise, I will fall from a great height at some point as my pride is damaged. Ego only brings sorrow, both for the self as well as the others. There is no lasting happiness in ego.
It is time to start to move towards humility, which is a very misunderstood virtue. Humility is not being a doormat and allowing people to walk all over me, but rather it is the dignity and royalty that gives others the chance to express themselves without worry of attack. It’s putting others first or offering to help wherever I can. Humility is a strength, not a weakness; it is the foundation of a successfully functioning society.