Friday, July 31, 2009

Egoic Attacks

Ever have that aweful feeling in the pit of the stomach when things don't go your way?  When someone is picking on you?  Or betrays you?  Or hurts your feelings?  Or tells you something that you don't want to hear?  Tells you something that you thought no one else in the entire world knows, but you?  That feeling is your ego landing a blow in the center of your body.  Thats the feeling.  Its not that you should ever accept abuse, because we do teach people how to treat us and it is our responsibility to take of ourselves.  However, just because a situation arrises that does not favor ourselves, that does not mean that we must adopt a defensive posture, a snotty atitude, or fly into a rage either at ourselves or anyone else.  There are techniques for learning to deal with our inner turmoil and effectively embracing the inner grown up.  The most important part is to relax.  Bless the situation.  One of the ways people deflect pain is to engage in a behavior which quickly creates a sense of pleasure.  Unfortunately, those quick fixes don't fix the real problem and tend to create more real problems.  The trick is to learn to teach others to treat you well, understand and appropriately asses the situation, and also, in a relaxed state, decide how you want to behave, not how your ego would behave in a desperate attempt to save face.

We often confuse love with admiration.  Love is a feeling that you have or a behavior that we use.  It rarely makes any sense.  Typically, no one really knows why anybody loves anybody else.  We just do.  Once you understand that concept, then the need to impress people with our infallibility or to be better than or more interesting than everyone else or just our competitor, ceases to be of the utmost importance.  Accepting the help of others is not a sin or an indication of weakness.  It is a testament to the strength of your character.  When you are able to accept instruction, direction, and help from others, you have finally started to set aside some of the aspects of ego which can be so terribly debilitating.  

A bit of confusion can set in when we are children because pleasing our parents with our successes seems to produce love.  In reality, any success of a child is the success of the parent.  The parent is obligated to give positive reinforcement when the child has done well.  Thats how you train anybody, animal or human.  Thats how you give them language, culture, and morality.  But, when we don't set aside the concept that we must always be right or else we are inferior and therefore not worthwhile, things do fall apart.  Once this lesson has been learned, the world starts to make more sense.  Not only do you get to learn the other lessons available to you, but you also start to recognize the habits of the ego in others and when it might creep back into yourself.  This tid bit of ego recognition is the nose of the camel under the tent, once in for a little nostril the rest of the camel is short to follow and bring down the house of cards known as sadness, fear, anger, and resentment.  Usually people are mean to us and cause us pain because they are experiencing an attack of the ego which evokes the ego in us.  Once that lesson is in turn understood, the power of caustic words is lessened.  One is still, as mentioned above, obligated to disallow continued verbal or physical abuse, but it does lessen the sting.

I highly recommend Eckhart Tolle's book, "A new Earth".  He describes the ego and also something else called "Pain Body."  These are handy terms to describe a phenomena that all of us have experienced.  I found that book to be helpful in letting go of the embarrassment about my body, what my body was going to be, and fear of being seen exercising.  All of these feelings had to be let go and I am constantly re-evaluating my response to stimuli/situations in an effort to encourage continued progress in my quest for physical fitness.

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