If you are anything like me, when your ego is in the drivers seat, it probably sabotages your greatest joys - whether it's your love life or your job or social life. Pretty much, whenever it's around, it manages to destroy everything good in its wake. And it is actually when it's not present that the magic and beauty and joy happens!
But wait! You say. Are you saying that my ego sabotages everything in my life, and that is all it does? Isn't the ego necessary? Don't I need a sense of self? Then what part of me does the good things? You're not making any sense!
Let's call it Ned then
That is my definition. We can call it Ned if you like. But what I am referring to is any voice in your head that is not loving. And most of the mind chatter in our heads is not loving. Even seemingly innocuous thoughts that aren't "negative" per se are still hurting us by taking us out of the moment.
So it is to this definition of Ego - that we will now call Ned - that this post refers.
If you really think about it, the fact that there is a non-loving critical voice called Ned in our heads is actually kind of strange. WHY, given that we all want happiness and joy, would we ever say mean things to ourselves and continually keep joy and happiness at bay?
Ned is a compulsive Liar
We are familiar with critical thoughts that go through our heads. Any variation along the lines of "I am worthless/worthy of this criticism/don't deserve to be happy" is the voice of Ned and is a lie. (Granted we can make it appear true by self-sabotage and keeping what we want at bay thereby realizing the experience of "not deserving." But none of these things are true without us buying in to them).
What we may not be as aware of is that sly old Ned has come up with additional lies to justify saying these mean things! Do any of these sound familiar?
- "I'm trying to bring myself down to earth." (Oh really. Are you really flying that high, Ned, that you need to be brought down to earth? Most likely you are suffering in some kind of hell and need to be brought up)
- "I don't want myself to get too arrogant." (Really, Ned? You are TOO confident? You believe in yourself THAT much? If that were true, wouldn't you also be the most empowered person you know with all the success in the world?)
- "I want to be honest. Honesty is acknowledging the darkness and not wearing rose colored glasses." (Really? So you are saying most people wear rose colored glasses? If that's true why aren't most people you know bouncing around with joy all over?)
- "I'm keeping me safe by staying small and hidden and not speaking my truth." (Safe? Safe in hell? Awesome, you go do that)
If You Aren't Angry at Ned, then You're Already Dead
Here is what Ned, when in the drivers seat, has done for me - not just lately - but for over 30 years.
- it's pushed away love and intimacy with fear
- it's sabotaged my jobs through an exaggerated need to prove I'm good/smart enough
- it has kept me from truly living by keeping me out of the present moment with its incessant mind chatter.
Think about it though. What if SOMEONE ELSE did the above things to you- for 30 years no less!? Wouldn't you be angry? I would enraged!!! I'd want them to go to prison for life. But it's not "someone else". It's me, I mean Ned - Ned did this to me, which is even worse! How dare I not care for myself, love myself and make the best of this ONE LIFE!!
You Triumph over Ted by not listening to it
(i.e. Our power is in the absence of thoughts)
I believe our power is in quieting the thoughts as best as we possibly can.
Our power is in feeling to our core that the critical/mean thoughts in our head are lies.
Our power is in FEELING the truth which is always GOOD so strongly that Ned's big fat lies cannot penetrate.
It sounds so cliche but it's true: The power is in the heart
Think about. When have you been the happiest? I'll bet that most of your happiest memories are when you were part of a group working towards something greater than yourself, where you weren't worried about being "good enough" because you simply FELT good already. You didn't have to *think* about it at all. You were just being, being a part of something good, connected, loved.
Unfortunately - for many of us - these experiences came and went without us learning how to recreate them. They were probably a culmination of a bunch of forces and people coming together, or the result of coming across a strong unifying teacher/leader who we were blessed to have as a guide at some point. For me, many of these memories are when I was younger and had not built up as many fears and ways of self sabotaging.
The only way to recreate these experiences of unity and team work is to quiet the mind. Yes, another over-used phrased. But I can't think of another solution. Doing and keeping busy can be a tool to achieve a quieter mind, but it is not the end all be all. In fact, I know that if my mind was quieter I'd get stuck less and follow my heart and do even more!
It's really a battle of love vs. fear
The other day I felt determined to wage an all out holy war against Ned. Anything other than a loving thought towards myself is an act of violence and I will retaliate back! But then I realized, wait, you can't fight fear with fear....so...the war is not really a violent war at all. To fight the violence you have to choose love. Love and fear cannot co-exist. Fill it up with love, and Ned with disappear.