The webcast for A New Earth started delving into the ego this week. Ouch; my brain hurts. This is deep stuff and, admittedly, some may look at it and think What is this airy-fairy, meta-physical psycho-babble?
When you think about ego, what comes to mind? A person who is “full” of him or herself? Donald Trump? Someone who is really confident? A show-off? Arrogance? Aloofness? A mansion with a Ferrari in the garage?
Whatever comes to mind are most likely labels; words used to describe someone or something. And it is within these labels that we find ego.
Eckhart refers to all this as “self-talk;” that voice in our head that doesn’t like to shut up. It is this self-talk that impairs our ability to relate to each other. By labeling people and situations, by putting each other into mental boxes, we desensitize ourselves to the aliveness in each other.
Now naturally we all identify ourselves by labels, roles, opinions, nationality, race. And this is certainly appropriate, has its place, and should be honored. However, when we become lost in the world of labels, of conceptualization, that is when we let ego take over. When we become so identified with these labels that we become defensive when our identity, our self-labels are questioned, we are living in ego.
The political season is a perfect example of this.
The ego creates a false sense of self based on labels, concepts, and things we identify with. Think about advertisements in magazines and commercials on television. It is more about selling an identity than a product. When I harrumph at some ad, my husband always reminds me that I’m “not the target market.” In essence, I don’t identify with the product being sold.
When we bring awareness to these old conditioned forms or behaviors, or ways of thinking, then they will drop away. Is this easy? No, not necessarily. But when we increase our awareness, when we make note of these thoughts, when we bring ourselves into the present moment, then we can start to let go of ego. And there we will find peace.