Oakville Zen Meditation

#223 WHEN OUR EGO NEEDS HELP April 23 18

                                                           When our ego needs help

    Our ego or self has 2 faces. The constructive/positive and the destructive/negative one.

The good self is critical to grow, to survive, to have pleasure, and to function and interact properly.

No brainer here.

The bad self: Ego is our main source of “pain”, affliction we all have in common. Because of our restlessness quest to get this and that, to be better, smarter, stronger, richer, we are stuck by nagging feeling of frustration, weariness and self-doubt.

Too many desires, hatred, irrational expectations and illusions are all coming from our ego-driven mind.

Our culture is imposing on us a super-self in all domains. This is how our Western society is manipulating us. Our daily efforts for self-improvement are perfectly normal as long as you don’t get overwhelmed by too much pressure for being better all the time in the rat race.

This pressure for a super-self starts in Kindergarten and never stops until we died.

Because of this never lasting quest, feeling of hopelessness and self-doubt shadows us.

Disappointment, worries, stress, anger and bitterness are the inevitable consequence of the endless expectations and ambitions of our ego.

While our ego or self is so important, both its thirst for more and its flaws need our attention and acceptance. We have to teach it to loosen its grip.

Self-compassion, self-esteem, self-confidence are fine but they do not guarantee well-being and serenity.

We have to learn to let it go somewhat before it is too late.

There are many things in life that we cannot do anything about: the circumstances of our childhoods, natural events, disasters, illness, aging, accidents, loss, abuse, being fired, etc.

In fact, there is almost nothing that we can control even if we strongly believe otherwise.

There is only one thing we can control is our ego. It is important to keep it under control to avoid ongoing struggle to be more and more, to achieve more and more, to get more and more.

What kind of help can we provide to our ego?

The practice of mindfulness during formal or informal on the go meditation generates the ability to pay attention to the present reality of the moment and to its content such as your body, our ego and your environment w/o analysis, judgment and decision.

Mindfulness is helping us to not to be victimized by our recurrent selfish ego-driven impulses and negative self-image. While practicing mindfulness, meditators become aware of these impulses and learn neither to push away the unpleasant feelings nor to cling to the pleasant ones.

This is the Middle way: not too much, not too little.

Ego-driven impulsive negative and positive reactions, in the form of likes and dislikes, should be given the same kind of attention and acceptance as we do for our feelings.

Mindfulness is part of our consciousness, acting like a mirror, reflecting all activities of the body, mind

and environment as they are and not as we want them to be.

You may also pamper your ego using self-compassion w/o falling in the trap of complacency and narcissism.

At this stage of your practice, when you are hearing a bell somewhere, you are not anymore “you” listening to something else, but the “you” , the bell and the sound, the air are becoming almost one entity.

This is experiencing pure reality of the moment where body and mind are an integral part of everything. You are not anymore, a separate living being.

The ego-self is reduced to its minimum necessary before , unfortunately, coming back to its positive and negative traits.

Accepting what we are with our bad ego and our good one is the first step to learn if we want to be better and more serene.