Thursday, June 27, 2013

Befriending the Beleaguered Ego

Our ego expends a great deal of energy keeping us safe. They take on a great task, and in the long term, a thankless one. Driven by the singular objective of survival, the ego is bound to fail in its mission. But along the way, it feels a great sense of accomplishment. Surviving each trial and tribulation, and coming to see another day represent great milestones in the life of an ego.

But to optimize it taking seriously the charge of sustaining us day in and day out, the ego becomes terribly overreactive. It does not do a particularly good job distinguishing serious and consequential threats from those that are of modest concern, if any at all.

Mindfulness practice offers us the opportunity to notice when the ego is feeling threatened and, through that noticing, create the space with which to better apportion the threat. Much has been written about this--and here is a spontaneous practice you can bring to those moments--borne out of mindful awareness and engaged through compassionate understanding.

A few posts ago, we connected EGO with AMIGO. During times of fear and worry, the ego can feel all alone and can use a friend. Who better than you.

The next time you begin to notice yourself moving into a scared or worried place, bring awareness to your breathing--perhaps even nudge it gently into a slower rhythm--and remind yourself:

"Everything will be okay, Mi Amigo."

Doing so, several wonderful things happen. First, you become aware that you are feeling worried. Second, you recognize you have a choice of what to do next. And third you choose to offer yourself a wise and compassionate embrace.

By befriending a beleaguered ego, you wake up a little bit to a truer sense of the moment.

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