I don’t know about you, but I have an inner “demon” who knows just the right buttons to push to make me think I am losing my mind. She taunts me with uncertainty when I have a dream in the works. She whispers in my ear that I am not as physically fit as I used to be, and am in need of some dieting help. She turns my mirror into a magnifying glass and feeding from the trough of vanity reminds me that I am not as young as I used to be.
You know who she is, don’t you? You have probably met her yourself from time to time. What false beliefs does she use to torment you?
Perhaps it is an uncomfortable sense of inadequacy when a neighbor comes home with a brand new car – again. Maybe it is a sense of frustration about a job for which you have little passion or maybe it is this intangible sense of animosity that sits within you, and you are not even sure why it is there.
For what it is worth, everyone struggles with this “demon” to some extent. In case you don’t believe me, this “demon” is your ego. Everybody has one, and it is not the tradition definition of “ego” with which we are familiar.
The ego exists within us almost as a separate entity. Its purpose is to keep our focus on the easy road in life. It draws our attention to “pleasure-seeking events.”
So what is wrong with that?!?! I know that is probably what you are thinking. However, that is not your idea. That is your ego talking.
The problem with that approach to life is that it inhibits our ability to connect with our higher selves. We need to remember we are spiritual beings having a human existing. We came to this earth school to grow spiritually at an accelerated rate. While it is important that we experience many joys and pleasures of this plane, we must also connect with our spiritual side, and grow at a deeper level.
Like the Lion in the Strength card, discussed in this month’s Fool’s Journey, the ego exists only in relation to your outside circumstances. The ego attempts to control your exterior world and convince you that your happiness is dependent on the alignment of outer situations. It is the ego that says, “If only I could lose 30 pounds…”, “If only I had more money…”, “If only I was younger…” The list goes on and on.
The ego is actually quite fragile. It cannot exist on its own. It creates these false outer ideas to convince you the only way to happiness is to avoid challenging, frustrating or upsetting situations in your everyday existence. That alone makes it exist.
If you think about it, a lot of energy is put into avoiding that which we don’t want in life rather than what we want in life. Our focus is on controlling our outer world in an attempt to make our inner world better. The problem here is we need to experience challenges in life to grow. In addition, all this outer chatter blocks communication with our inner, higher self.
The ego is like the student who does not want to do the work to pass the class. He is in school to learn but is under the erroneous assumption that he can learn without doing the designated assignments.
As a result, he avoids, makes up excuses, and puts himself through stress in an order to do less school work. The truth is that it is twice as hard to put these avoidance techniques into play. If he would just put his head down and plod through, the lessons would be learned and with help available.
When we give in to the ego and believe the hype, we become that student avoiding our lessons here in earth school. Our spiritual side does not grow. Like the young student, we are wasting time and energy. We are also adding stress because we are convincing ourselves we have to avoid the very lessons we came here to learn. It really would be so much easier if we put our nose to the grindstone and focused on the lessons. It does not have to be as severe a challenge as the ego would have us to believe. The ego just makes a lot of noise that drowns out our Higher Self and Inner guide. The ego is like the lion in the Strength card that won’t listen to the patient young woman (our Higher Self)waiting to show him a better way.
Unlike the ego, our Higher Self won’t fight for attention because it is against its nature. To do so would make the Higher Self like the ego. Rather, she waits patiently for us to tire of the games and useless antics. When we realize there has got to be a better way to live, it is only then that we can hear her.
By silencing the useless cacophony and increasing the pause between the noises of the ego, we can become aware of a peacefulness unlike anything else we find on this earth. And, that is because what we find in those spaces is not of this plane. It is in these moments we hear the voice of our inner teacher guiding us through our lessons on true confidence, strength and divine purpose so that we can make the most of our time here on earth.