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Archive for the ‘Acceptance’ Category

By N. Cardoso 05/23/2018

ego and spirit

I have read a lot of books since my personal journey started, 8 years ago. Every single one is about growth, kindness, forgiveness, healing, about stop running to somewhere and starting anew, and going where it matters the most, where the greatest change will happen for any human being: within.

Right now I am going through 6 books at the same time, all somehow connected. The main themes are  forgiveness, patience, faith, trust and ego. While I have been through each one of these topics individually, not just reading, but learning about them, trying and failing, over and over again, to understand and learn to truly apply their principles to my own healing and, maybe by persistence alone, starting the awakening journey I have been traveling on, it is interesting to read about all of them at once, and see how intertwined they are with each other.

Once you learn to forgive – which requires lots of patience – it teaches you to have faith and trust in something bigger than yourself. As you learn more about all of those things  you learn more about the person you are, your purpose, your intentions and, like magic, the ego starts to subside.

Debbie Ford, one of my many favorite authors, so wisely describes the ego as follows:

“The wounded ego must hide all that we believe is unacceptable about ourselves. To accomplish this task, it constructs a mask to prove to others that we are not as defective, inferior, worthless, and bad as we might fear we are. None of us like to admit that we have these flaws and insecurities, so to hide them, we create a persona at a very young age. We star to wrap ourselves in a new package that we believe will bring us the love, attention, and acceptance that we hunger for. We create personas so that we can belong.”

Who amongst us, have not given the ego power that ended up screwing many worthwhile relationships? Ego tends to separate us from others, is the idea that for one to win, someone has to lose, and we all want to be winners, don’t we?

“Ego, says Oprah, makes judgements and longs to feel special. It loves conflict, creates enemies, and operates out of fear.”

I am not sure where I heard this, but many years ago someone told me a story about how we transform ourselves to fit into a world that we believe we must be part of and, in the process, we end up forgetting the person we truly are.

When we are born we are given a palace with a thousand rooms, they told me. As children, most of us  enjoy this palace. It is a place filled with laughter, magic, miracles, love and joy, Nothing is impossible. We are free to decorate each room in our own unique way, with our own exquisite taste, not worried if others will like or approve, we just want to enjoy it. We spend countless hours in this castle, singing out loud, skipping steps and twirling, having fun in each and every one of those rooms. Every room is a world we create, where we are free to travel to any place our imagination can conceive. We don’t care for time and space, that is an adult thing, and in our imaginary world everything is possible: we can be a princess or a wich, a prince or a dragon, an amazon or a warrior or even both, depending on the occasion. I can fly to other planets, or dive into the deepest of the oceans…Have lunch with a king and dinner with monkeys. These rooms are all the dreams and possibilities we see for ourselves when we don’t even understand very clearly what the world is all about.

As time passes and we grow, we start noticing people’s reactions to our rooms when they come to visit: ‘This room is too purple” or,  “This room is too bright” or, “This one is too loud.” or, “This one has too many dragons”… And, every time we receive a criticism on our rooms we feel ashamed, we feel less, we feel like we did something wrong, that we failed, no matter how much we liked that flowery or train room, we slowly start closing their doors, one at a time we continue to close those doors time and time again to prevent criticism, to be accepted, to belong, to be loved. As we grow we create a world of people who own a castle with a thousand rooms, but find themselves confined into a life living in a crowded bleak shack. AS times passes it becomes uncomfortable to go back inside our castle.

While we will most likely live our whole lives dreaming of going back, we dread to imagine what others will say or do. Our ego, just out of fear screams to: us are you crazy? What will they do to you? The ego then, in order to compensate create stories to justify, to ourselves and others, the shame we felt for living or having such rooms.

Those feelings we experienced when we were young stays in us, it makes us feel less, smaller than others. We tend to compensate with money, knowledge, cynicism, sarcasm, houses (much bigger than we really need or can afford), fancy cars, brand name clothes, etc…all to show that we are better, that we are more, that we are winners, that we are worth. We forget to have fun, to imagine, to dare.

Ego actions, while understandable, is funded completely out of fear. Fear of lack, of not belonging, of not being loveable, of not being enough, not being invited, not being accepted, so we learn to become someone else.

Ego grows over time and holds us slaves to our own ‘What would happen?” fear. It convinces us that we cannot live without it. That the only way to battle is to be better than, it turns out into a monster that has the need to have the last word, to be always right, to have the “my way or the highway” attitude. It convinces us that the only way is to win, to be more and better than the next person. An ego out of control makes us behave like the world is out to get us! So we, like humans animals that we are, we attack for fear that something or someone is going to reject us, or see right through it all that we have been hiding.

When a spiritual journey to the core of who we truly are, with no excuses or justifications starts, we have this awe-inspiring experience with the self that we have forgotten. We come to realize that we are not our past –  whatever happen does not define who you are. We are not our social status –  no matter who you are in the scale of power, loneliness still happens. We are not our bank account – lonesome, sad, depressed, suicidal wealthy people are on the news  e v e r y   s i n g l e   d a y!

This step into consciousness allows us to let it go of ego’s insatiable appetite for attention. We learn that the monster we fear, when brought to light, heard, understood and forgiven, is nothing but a scared puppy of the thunders on a rainy night, it needs a little of love, an embrace and maybe one ‘atta girl’ to go back to its quiet place. It becomes clear that ego cannot co-exist with a conscious mind.

This conscious mind becomes an inner guide, it helps us discover that there is no need to be better than others, that the joy we believe we will have in winning turns out to be only short-lived experience, and the cost can be a price we will pay throughout our lives.

The problem, I believe, is not how our rooms were done, it is the fact that we did not stand up for it, even if they were different from what others expected, we surrendered. We know, deep in our core that we messed up, that we were not courageous enough to believe in ourselves. It was easy to close one door after another and become someone else, become part of the production line.

I believe the ego has a useful purpose, is there, in healthy doses, to remind us to be more, to better ourselves each day by the experiences we live through, to not give up, to believe in ourselves, not to show off to others, but to manage and keep balanced levels of our self-worth, to create a healthy self-esteem, to maintain a fit level of self-love and self-respect. We however, get lost in translation and allow it to grow into an unhealthy trait, most commonly in the world today, to get completely out of control.

“We do not become good by trying to be good, – says Eckhart Tolle – but by finding the goodness that is already within and allowing that goodness to emerge.” 

When we finally understand that the person we strive to be better than are not others, but the competition is the reflection in the mirror, we finally realize that we all can be winners. It is when we go deep into ourselves that we discover that all that we want and really need is already there, inside us. We were truly made perfect beings!

We learn, as we start this awakening search that we are divine creatures, walking divine paths, hand on hand, with compassion, love, care, We all have been one all along, and it is up to us to invite what is already in us, out.

Steadily we learn that there are no competition between us and them. It is a journey between the person we are, and the person we want to be. In every turn we are reminded that we can become better than the person we were just tapping into our own greatness. Once we do that, it brings forth the self-love, self-respect, self-esteem, the sense of belonging, of worthiness, of purpose that we have been longing for. It gives us JOY, which differently from fleeting happy moments to happy moments, is an ever lasting feeling that fills us with peace.

As we start recognizing that we still own a castle, and have the courage to walk back into its walls – regardless of cobwebs of time, the crackling of unattended floor, the burned out candles that might make the room darker than our comfort zone is at ease with – when we, as daredevils that we are, walk around with ownership of our lives, patiently opening each door, each window of our thousand rooms palace, and allow the outside light shine in, we realize that the accumulated dust have to be dealt with.

Take time to clean, I filled my cleaning days with good music, meditation, great inspiring books – hundreds of them, lots of pen and paper, and boxes and boxes of Kleenex.  Dare to change the decor a little, after all these years we have different taste, different views, different dreams, and while flowers, unicorns and purples, or dragons, swords and racing cars might still be part of the dream, we now have other aspirations.

We might need a room to place the memories of our adventures, another for the trophies of our battles, another for our travelings, yet another for our families, our children, our grandchildren, our friends…

There are a thousand of them, exercise your Chip and Joanna here, your Martha Stewart there. Don’t be scared…be innovative, leave history here and try ultra modern next door.  Go total over the top luxury here, and practice simplicity across the room. It is your home, make it a cozy place, make it a place you look forward to spend time in it, a place where you are in peace and comfort most of the time.

It would be so great if we could learn lessons of forgiveness, patience, faith, trust and ego at an early age. So much pain, frustration, drama, loneliness, therapy and tears would’ve been avoided. So many relationships would have been saved, nevertheless, whenever time it happens to you, enjoy it, celebrate! That is an opportunity for you to rekindle the best relationships you will ever have: the love affair with yourself.

Be brave, for this is a chance to reconnect and live a life filled with joy, laughter, dreams, fantasies, a life where everything is possible. You were blessed to be invited back into your own thousand rooms palace. Feel free to skip around, sit on the floors, color the walls with your favorite colors, whistle the songs you like, twirl around and fill the air with your own exquisite grace, be happy, be joyful, for many are gone never knowing they had so much.

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