no one place to arrive at once and for all.
The true joy of life is the trip."
~ Robert Hastings
One of the biggest ego lessons came to me when I had to let go of the dream of being a doctor. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW I HAD THAT DREAM UNTIL THE PATH WAS PLACED BEFORE MY FEET. I ran towards Doctorhood like I'd been missing that road all of my life. There I was, driving along, adding more and more luggage of education... carrying it with me onward and upward. When the dream destination had to be let go due to physical disability... oh the darkness.. all of the darkness... the ego was so outraged and scared... it started raging fires within me.
(Thankfully, I not only survived, I was led to an alternate path, one that led to SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts).
I had to make friends with my ego or I was going to die. I learned through that experience that my ego is, was, and always will be the most vigilant protector of my self. The little self, not the Higher Self. The ego is the protector of the body and its emotions. Its protection is like that of an overbearing impossible-to-please parent. Over the course of the past 28 months I have shifted a lot, and my ego has put up a fight the whole way... and often at the "worst" moments. Go figure. It screams when alarmed, so our worst moments are the moments it is loudest.
Ah, the arrogant ego rants.
Wrap this metaphor and give it to your ego as a gift of forgiveness. The ego is a protective parent, albeit one that is a stubborn helicopter parent that's extremely difficult to please - and then boasts loudly with your accomplishments, as if you had no help ever.
As a young child, we have our own parents (presumably in an ideal world) who are protecting us and caring for us like fragile glass. Our ego does not need to do much in our infancy, other than instigate the cries to be fed, burped, or cleaned. Our ego is directly connected to our pain body and thus connected to our nervous system. It alerted us (and thus our parents) about our body's needs and our emotional status, even then, telling us all about when we were uncomfortable or sick. Without words, our parents learned our cries and saw to us attentively. Our Higher Self was the primary energy body, full of love and coos and smiles and giggles. We were seen as angelic, because we were. (We still are, y'know!)
Our divinely connected big-"s" Self had arrived in this body and this body was perfectly imperfect with its unique little ego protector that was relatively compliant with our earthly parents. We did not have shame. We were free in our nudity and in our voice and in our curiosity. We were safe to simply be ourselves. As we grew into toddling life, we started to find our no's, our resistance, our self. Our separate and unique small-"s" self was developing independence. Then we go to school, and we keep learning Little Self's selfish ways, depending on our nature-nurture social conditioning process. Rinse, repeat.
Later, in middle school, we are hard and fast driven by our ego. It is still an immature protector (loud and obnoxious a lot of times, even if we are the ONLY ones to hear/see it). It strikes with a mighty blow and we are at its whim. I would even venture to say our ego's voice is abusive to us in a lot of cases... that whole "we are our worst critic" thing. Our hormones surge and our emotions dominate and our body is under a new and unique-to-us manufacturing pace. We learn achievement is the source of success. BE PRODUCTIVE! Eventually, our car is pretty much ready to be driven and ego is at the wheel. The hormones subside a bit and our body stops changing as quickly when puberty shifts to first gear. In high school, our Little Self self is completely developed and many of us get stuck there for a good long while. Our earthly parents are giving us more and more freedom. Guess what. The ego is usually going full blast to protect us from ourselves, from our peers, from our family members, from everything and everyone. Danger, danger, EVERYWHERE!
We are controlled by our need for approval and/or our need for control.
We are controlled by our fear of losing approval and fear of losing control.
Fearful mind. Deaf ears. Blind eyes. Closed heart.
Fearless mind. Paranoid ears. Biased eyes. Overly open heart.
Imbalanced ego states.
Rocky roads that lead in circles.
Do you know anyone who stopped internally maturing and are stuck in a semi-permanent state of adolescence?
Now, we are here in the latest years of high school for however long it takes to want out of those patterns... driving the same bumpy roads over and over again. Auto-pilot ego.
Then, something happens and we wake up to the fact we have been asleep at the wheel. That awareness causes us to enter what is popularly known as "existential crisis". I mean, it can happen when you're still actually a teenager, but it might not. Timing is all relative, anyway.
Alright, we woke up at the wheel and we're not sure how we got where we are. We know we want to drive further and find ourSelves, "Where did I put that map to my Higher Self?"
We can opt to let our Higher Self (that version of us that is directly connected to our Higher Power) take the wheel. We can do this AT ANY AGE!
As we adventure in creating ourSelves, or remembering who we really were born to be, we are gaining more and more independence from our ego. We are making more of our own choices in how we respond to the circumstances and situations in our life. We do the yoga. We vision board and vision quest. We join meditation groups. We go to all the church things. We do what we think is the right thing. We try to "kill the ego" or "drop all attachments" and we try to become "enlightened" or "transcend the body". Hello, that ego death thing is also part of the illusion. You cannot "kill the ego" without dying or um, truly transcending this mortal realm. I won't digress much, though I could write about this part for a lot longer.
The more carefree we aim to be, the more our ego pulls at us or pushes us into things we may not necessarily do without its influence... if we felt truly and completely safe. The ego drives our car faster trying to escape our attempts to kill it. Resistance comes from force. We meet the amount of force that we are exerting. Sometimes, we need that. Sometimes, we don't.
When we intended to take control of our life, to live from a mindful and respons-able place, we get blow back from the patterns that were previously creating perceived safety. This is when we are asking the ego to let us drive. This is when we are really learning to drive our own car: the e-motive physic-able body. We have to develop a trusting relationship with our ego. When we do, the ego begrudgingly allows us to get in the driver seat occasionally, but it won't teach us to move forward. It can't. It doesn't feel safe to go into uncharted territory. When we allow ourselves to drive and invite our Higher Self into the front passenger seat as head navigator, the ego has no where to go but the back. (Our Higher Self cannot drive because it is at the mercy of being driven by our self which is the state of our autonomous body-mind... think of maybe a self-driven car if that helps.) Of course our ego will get really angry about the change when it first experiences this backseat situation. And yes, it backseats drives! The ego needs time to simmer down and accept that everything is totally fine, and maybe even better than it could have designed. It needs to know we are safe! Eventually, it realizes the higher Self is perfectly capable of navigating and we are fully capable of driving. We are in control of the car and everyone inside will eventually arrive at your final destination with nothing to fear.
We are intuitively guided to others who can help us feel safe in our exploration. They are spiritual cartographers. They have traveled where we want to go. We seek and recognize divine driving instructors: prophetic mentors. Dogma of any persuasion, we find our teachers that guide us to inner wisdom of the Self with a Big S. We have to teach ourSelves how to drive (with a lot of trial and error in the learning curve). The earlier we can do this, the better.
At the present moment, I generally have the power to tell my ego where to go. It still hangs out in the car, of course, it has to be with me in order to keep me safe in this body on Earth. It doesn't get to drive nearly as often, but I can hear it barking directions from the backseat. Occasionally, I catch it driving... guess I still need to take naps on this road trip.
My ego hopes this sharing is helpful. My mind just wants to be heard. My heart just wants to love. <3