The New Earth webcast with Oprah and Eckhart Tolle continued its discussion on the ego this past week. In this segment, Eckhart discussed the core of the ego.
Earlier we were introduced to the ego which was defined as that which we identify with: concepts, our story, our past.
Now it was time to discuss what makes the ego thrive.
A key to what makes the ego thrive is complaining and resentment, reactivity and grievance, faultfinding, wanting to be right, and to feel superior.
Egoic complaining is complaining that serves no purpose because it does not bring about change. A classic example is receiving cold soup in a restaurant. If you state the facts, “My soup is cold, may I have hot soup, please” you are stating the facts without negativity, without reaction.
However, if you state “This soup is cold you idiot. Every time I come in here the soup is cold. Can’t you people make hot soup” you are complaining, reacting, and finding fault.
When we label people (“jerk,” “idiot”), we desensitize ourselves to that person. When we react with force, it means we need to look within ourselves because what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.
When we start to complain, we need to recognize it and become aware of that inner voice. We need to ask ourselves if this complaint is meant to bring about change or if we are complaining simply for the sake of complaining (and therefore boosting our own ego.)
If we are to be agents of change in this world, something has to change in our state of consciousness, otherwise we contribute to the turmoil. Meditation, quieting the mind, looking to the inner body, the self and bringing awareness to the present moment are all approaches to take in promoting change within ourselves.
Worry is a common emotion that many of us deal with in these days of turmoil. We worry about situations and project them into the future. “Oh how dire it will be if this happens and that happens.” Worry can consume us.
What does it mean to worry? It is the unconscious mind movement into the future. You extend the situation into the future and how bad things will be. Worry pretends to be necessary yet serves no real purpose. Worry does not bring about change.
To step out of worry, you must ask yourself “what can I do now?” “How can I BE NOW in this moment?” Take responsibility for your own life and state of conciousness first. Be with yourself, be present, and connect with the feeling of aliveness within.
Often we worry about other people. When you ask yourself whether you can be of help to another human being, ask is there something in you that can bring about change in the conciousness of the other human being. Can you give the person space? Sometimes just being there is healing.
Sometimes we are so completely identified with forms that we cannot enjoy them fully because of fear or worry that we will lose them. When this happens, I am reminded of the following story:
A guru collected tiny glass figurines because they brought him joy. People knew how much he enjoyed these figurines and he often received them as gifts. The guru put the figurines on a deep window sil where he could see them and enjoy them. One day the window was left open and a strong wind came through the window. It blew the drapes around. The drapes caught on the figurines and brought them crashing to the ground. The guru’s students were alarmed and afraid. What would the guru say? What would he do?
As the students cleaned up the broken glass, the guru came into the room. The students explained what happened. The guru calmly replied “It is okay. While the figurines were here, they gave me pleasure and made me happy. And now they are gone; their purpose fulfilled. It is okay.”
What you fight, you strengthen and what you resist, persists. Make peace with whatever it is. Be as present at you can in every moment, in any life experience or situation.
Recognize the ego in yourself and in other people. Become aware of the ego and bring that awareness into the world. If you don’t have a good relationship with the now, you won’t have a good relationship with life because life IS NOW.