Stay in With the Ego and Befriend the Ego
The more you separate yourself from the identity that you’ve created, then clearly you will see your consciousness rise. If you are in the process of destroying your old identity, it will be painful in the beginning but rewarding as you build your mental strength. The ego is your survival and in a way, you have to be grateful to the ego that is keeping you alive. But the ego is strong, will not shut up at times, or never stops. It happens to me when it comes strong but I just stay with it. For the ego, it is all about “I” or I don’t like this or that, it judges, it put labels on people, it can detest people or it can love people, it thinks it knows the best route to take whenever you want to decide on a task, it is self-critical, it is never enough, hard work is always a priority and pushes you to do more and more, and the lists goes on.
I have witnessed the ego throwing some heavy burden from my past. I encountered situations where I observed how it labeled people and it detested them, or even by looking at someone’s picture, it already has a preconceived impression. I grew up in an environment where I was taught to labeled people based on how they appear and discriminate against them. Whether they were alcoholics, have different skin color, homeless, or immature - it was all about being critical and separate myself from them. These are all labels that society has taught us to put on people. As I go deeper in self-realization, I’m learning to see behind the labels. When you see behind the labels that you put on a person, you’ll notice each human being have a story. I confronted my ego by opening my heart and spoke with an alcoholic. Every time I saw the alcoholic, the ego got furious and thought of the worst. But I didn’t listen to it and I spoke with the alcoholic. This person had a sad story on why he drank and smoke. When I spoke to the alcoholic, I didn’t see the face but instead, I saw God and a beautiful human being who is just trapped in the ego/mind cycle. It was compassion that I felt for the alcoholic.
On my way back from a monthly Sathsang (monthly meditation gathering), I ordered an Uber ride. Two things happened: One, it was my first time using an Uber ride. The Uber app gave me different options to take a carpool or executive car. Right away, I caught the doubt whether to take the carpool or executive car. For the mind, taking the executive car was the best option. I’ve never taken a carpool and the mind was trying to protect me to choose the best option. Whenever doubt comes, it is a sign of ignorance. I went for the carpool to see what was going to happen. You always want to do the opposite to what the ego and mind says. Two, the Uber app showed me a picture of the taxi driver who was Latino. And right away, the ego with the mind, made me doubt whether I should take this taxi because the driver was Latino and it was discriminating. I didn’t listen to the ego and mind and responded by taking the taxi. When the carpool came, I opened the door and the taxi driver was playing one of my favorite songs from the 80’s (Everybody Wants To Run The World by Tears for Fears). He continued to play great 80s songs and when I reached my train station, he went out his way to take me to the other side of the platform so I don’t have to walk too much. It was a great trip and another confirmation on how much what the mind plays in your head are just false events that are not real. And I saw this event “as is” and without celebration, just as every moment of pleasantness whether good or bad, that is all. As I do this, this becomes the norm in my system. Remember that even moments when you feel victory, those feelings don’t last and the ego can trick you in these situations.
We should not be hard on ourselves on how we are because it is the society, community, family, and friends who wired us. Unfortunately, it becomes an ego identity trap that will make you feel miserable or even happy at times - know that these feelings are not permanent. Compassion is the destroyer of the ego. First, compassion for yourself and compassion for all sentient beings. Remember that these impressions and labels are a mind/ego creation. If you drop them, you can be anywhere with the poor or rich free of these mental impressions and just enjoy the company of anyone. Lord Buddha said that he preferred to be with the homeless and delinquents because it is in those situations when you challenge the ego. He wasn’t afraid of them because he knew it was all a show of the mind and ego. He dropped the mental labels and was in a pleasant state where he saw everyone the same as him. He never saw himself different. God is everywhere and we are all equal.
We are not animals but human beings. But for the ego and when the mind gets trap with it, we become animals in survival. When we act through the ego, I don’t see any difference between an animal and a person - both of them are the same. Animals probably know how to survive better than a person who is trap in the ego and mind. It is the time that we become awaken and realized that we are human beings with so much potential and greatness. That we can be pleasant every day, enjoy each breath, decide what is best for us, and take charge of the body and mind that we have. According to the Bhagavad Gita, our body is the chariot, and your “True Self” is in control of this chariot. Be patient and bold and enjoy the process domesticating the animal within you. Drop the labels. It has been done before and find liberation…..