Day 5: Dealing with the Ego
“Let them at all times concern themselves with doing a kindly thing for one of their fellows, offering to someone love, consideration, thoughtful help. Let them see no one as their enemy, or as wishing them ill, but think of all humankind as their friends; regarding the alien as an intimate, the stranger as a companion, staying free of prejudice, drawing no lines.” Abdu’l Baha
Whenever you go about doing any transformation, it is important to realize that human beings have two natures, one that is highly positive and beneficial to others, the true self, and one that is limited and animal-like in nature, the ego. The dynamic of transformation recognizes that the ego is ever present, self-centered, negative and trying to make its way to controlling the life of the individual. When you choose a new virtue or process to strengthen your life, it is usually because you are having problems with the ego. The virtue is the solution to the ego.
If you think of the ego as a positive force rather than a negative one even though it feels negative, you can regard it as the communication you need to motivate you to wake up and transform. Whenever you have uncontrollable fear, envy, greed, lust, depression, guilt, or shame that generate negative patterns of repeating behavior, then you know you have an ego that needs to be worked with. No one on the planet is free from ego and everyone has work to do each day with it. In a lot of ways the ability to overcome ego conditions of protection is what defines us as human beings. When we are able to deal with our egos successfully, we rise above the animal state and can achieve remarkable things that are beneficial in nature.
The important thing in doing transformation work and identifying an ego condition is to not get stuck in it. If you are wanting to become more inclusive, for example, you may have an ego state in you that is fearful of being abandoned which causes you to stay away from people. Transformation is the process of actualizing more of the higher state such as being more inclusive, and finding a way to let go of the lower state.
The simplest way to deal with the ego is to recognize it, set it aside, and then do the opposite which is the new virtue. The more intensive the ego state, the more difficult it will be to set it aside.
In today’s exercise you recognize the ego state that is most related to the energy you want to develop. For instance, maybe you feel sad often which causes you to sit and do nothing when you want to get out and go for it.
So one thing you can do is draw a picture of what the ego is like, It may be an angry lion or a dark cloud or a raging fire or a big mess. Then on another paper draw the opposite such as a sunny day, a warm candle, an orderly area. Look at the two pictures together and then just set the ego one aside so you don’t see it anymore. Repeat it two or three times.
It doesn’t matter if the ego doesn’t completely go away. What matters is that you begin to feel more of what your virtue is like inside. When you come to a full understanding of the ego and have a more accurate description of the process, then the ego will set itself aside.
Note: Put the exercise aside if you gets too negative for you and then seek some outside help to work with the issue.