(Bautista, Personal Photograph HRM, Nova Scotia, 12-29-2014)
With every holiday, there seems to be a pattern of questions or actions that transpire –
What will you do for the holidays?…I am buying gifts…I am getting Christmas cards… I wouldn’t like that gift, it looks cheap…. I will buy it though I can’t afford it… I hate when the family gets together…. I love when the family gets together….It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
I haven’t been well this holiday season, physically that is – for most of the fall, I was burning the candle at both ends so to speak – illness was bound to happen but I don’t mind – it’s just a natural occurrence for me to remember that I am mortal – being ill gives me a chance to recuperate body, mind and soul.
It also gives me time to catch up on authentic reading and writing – the latter of which I am attempting here as I try to put a few blog posts behind me. I start teaching full throttle once more come Monday so this natural occurrence will soon be replaced by another.
These last few weeks I’ve been aware of ego – mine and others.
The holidays tend to exacerbate egos as mentioned above but I’ve seen other examples recently come to light.
I marked term papers this past week and witnessed many egoic moments – there are a lot of people who see themselves as A+ students and will vehemently demand such a grade, for example. I also went to the bank to ask for some financial advice and was ignored and redirected until an employee looked up my file and noticed I was a client for more than 20 years – somehow that made a difference to the way I was being treated – I was immediately taken to the “imperial” area.
I’ve talked about Eckhart Tolle and studying ego at length on this blog but I think if I hadn’t learn to “just be”, I would still be at a point in my early 20s to early 30s where I would take offense to everything – being spoken to in a certain way, mistreated in other ways, feeling ignored, feeling superior, desiring attention, desiring power – all ego-bound, all senseless entitlements.
I looked up the following passages from Tolle’s text, A New Earth (2005) and place them here in this life post.
- Ego takes everything personally. Emotion arises, defensiveness, perhaps even aggression. Are you defending the truth? No, the truth, in any case, needs no defense. (p.68)
- But if the belief “I am right; you are wrong” is one of the ways in which the ego strengthens itself, if making yourself right and others wrong is a mental dysfunction that perpetuates separation and conflict between human beings, does that mean there is no such thing as right or wrong behaviour, action, or belief? (p.69)
- If someone has more, knows more, or can do more than I, the ego feels threatened because the feeling of “less” diminishes its imagined sense of self relative to the other. It may then try to restore itself by somehow diminishing, criticizing, or belittling the value of the other person’s possessions, knowledge, or abilities. (p.82)
- In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever. That alert attention is Presence. It is the prerequisite for any authentic relationship. The ego always either wants something, or if it believes there is nothing to get from the other, it is in a state of utter indifference: It doesn’t care about you. (p.84)
- An ego wants something from another – and what ego doesn’t – will usually play some kind of role to get its “needs” met, be they material gain, a sense of power, superiority, or specialness, or some kind of gratification, be it physical or psychological. Usually people are completely unaware of the roles they play. (p.85)
It’s the start of a new year like the dawning of the morning sun. So much is unknown – so much life to live.
I don’t know what the year will bring. I do know that no matter what happens, I will be fine.
I don’t live for others nor do I just live for myself.