“To me the ego is the habitual and compulsive thought processes that go through everybody’s mind continuously. External things like possessions or memories or failures or successes or achievements. Your personal history.” – Eckhart Tolle
We live in a world where cooperation is paramount to our success.
When we cooperate with each other – our employers – our spouse – our teachers and anyone else you have a relationship with – life will flow with ease.
When we resist – life gets messy and complicated.
First let’s define the word cooperation:
An act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit; joint action.
So why do we resist anyway?
Resistance comes from two places:
- The need to be in control
- The false ego living itself out.
I confess – I have been as stubborn as anyone you will ever meet, so I am not pointing fingers here. As part of my personal development journey I had to be willing to take an honest look at my unconscious behaviors in order to grow.
Most behaviors are unconscious programs that we run on automatic pilot.
We do them, we experience them, yet we don’t change them even when it is clear that they don’t serve us.
100% of the world’s problems (I’m talking about people problems) are because of unresolved conflict within us.
The False Ego
The false ego is the person that the mind believe’s itself to be. Usually this false self is not one of humility and togetherness – rather it is one of untold negative stories about itself and its experiences.
The false self wants to be the king of the mountain. The false self wants to be heard and to be the center of attention. And the false self program is the one who causes all the problems in your life.
Wayne Dyer has a great quote that I love about the ego. “No ego, no problems.”
It’s so simple and it is so true.
The ego fears that it will be a nobody so it goes out of its way to get attention. Just watch any sports event and you will see the individual ego in all its glory.
I’m not suggesting you rid yourself of the ego – I think that would be impossible at the moment.
Instead, just become observant of yourself and your behavior. The key to remember is to not condemn yourself or your actions.
Just observe and see if the behavior really serves a powerful purpose, or is it just the ego trying to get attention.
The ego is not the enemy nor is it your friend. If you make the ego an enemy you will only empower it. The ego is just something that has taken you over and makes you unconscious of your behavior.
Making the ego the enemy, or if you believe you can win the battle against the ego won’t work.
The ego will just come in through the back door when you do that. You can’t fight it and you will never win the battle against the ego.
As soon as you begin to battle the ego – you become part of it.
The ego is not really the ego as you believe – the ego isn’t really the ego if you recognize it. If the ego is operating in you – you wouldn’t even really know it.
The ego implies that you are not even aware of it.
Those people who have the biggest egos don’t even know what the ego is. They cannot recognize the ego as the ego. The moment you recognize the ego or see it, it’s not really the ego anymore.
What it is once you recognize it – is just an old pattern of behavior.
Once you recognize you are behaving egoically – just by observing it – you can begin to dissolve its effect on you and your behavior.
Some freedom will come to you.
Laughing is a great way to free yourself of the ego. When you notice an egoic pattern in yourself, like when you need to express your opinion on something that is non-relevant.
You can begin to observe the egoic need to assert the opinion that you want to express.
Catch yourself – and say to yourself, “Do I really need to say this now.” What would happen if I just kept my thoughts and opinions to myself?”
Just drop the egoic pattern that you recognized and see how it feels inside.
You may feel somewhat diminished at first because you have failed to assert yourself from the egoic point of view in that situation.
Examples of the ego in action:
Complaining about other people.
Making somebody wrong.
Complaining about something that happened.
Being loud and obnoxious in public places.
The need to assert your opinion.
The need to be right.