Most of us battle with an invisible force in our lives that drives a great deal of our behavior, thoughts, feelings and reactions. It is the ego. It is there making all these decisions in our lives and we don’t even seem to notice. We react, usually badly, or off the cuff, and wonder why our reaction sends others spiraling further. Because all that we are bringing to the table is a massive collection of stories, props, and things to bolster ourselves into something to make up for all we fear we lack. Truth is that we all lack. Truth is we all have all we need.
The older I get the more I realize that we really had everything we needed for a full and great life when we were kids. Regardless of the trauma. Regardless of how we felt about ourselves. I knew exactly who I was back then but I had these insecurities that plagued me. I compared myself to others and since I was not other, I always failed in comparison or, even worse, I concluded that I was better than my object of comparison. Which led to me to ultimate conclusion: I was NOT ok as I was. Instead of improving upon those things within myself that needed work, help, compassion and love, I sought to eradicate all that I felt, perceived or thought others wanted to change in me. And so I began a life long battle with me. So stupid as I look back on it, yet, at the time, there was no other path. I know that with all that I am. I was meant to be at war with myself.
I can see how silly that conclusion was now. But back then, I was deficient, arrogant, judgmental and mostly afraid. So I was prey to egoically told stories to myself, about myself that masqueraded as self esteem. Bullshit. They were just stories that I told myself to help me feel better about me, about you, and about our interactions with each other. I was never ok with what I had, always vying for that next hit to make me finally feel like I got what I deserved. I was judging myself by my intentions while the rest of the world was judging me by my actions. Smart people, the world. Because even my intentions were shit at times.
It has been a long process and my battle with self rages on but quieter now. I am mostly ok with me, most of the time. I see where I still get caught sideways with myself. I see where I am teetering on the brink of meltdown or shutdown or shitshow. And most of the time, I know what to do with that. I take it to the cushion and ask for help from my spiritual advisors and do my best to begin again. This time, more right sized and less full of pride and fear.
For a long time, my ego drubbed me. It beat me severely, criticized me, and all but decidedly defeated me. I was its abject follower. I could not see fact from fiction and I was just the reluctant star in my ego’s melodrama.
But recovery changed all that. Therapy changed that. Working a spiritual program to the best of my ability changed that. And little by little, slowly by slowly, I grew up…finally. For those who have known me for a long time, I am sure they were most relieved to see me finally, begin to leave my prolonged and protracted adolescence and finally begin my descent into adulthood.
And with my ascent into the land of grown ups, I can see that the drubbing began to wear away my ego’s tight stranglehold on my life. I was free to think new things: women were not competition, men were not the prize. I didn’t need to do the best at work, just my best. Every day. And it didn’t matter if anyone but me noticed. I just was to show up and give it all I had.
Then parenting began. And fuck I was not ready for that at all. The insecurities I have felt as a parent were/are the most terrible ego driven landmines I have ever come across. But like all of life, I was provided a balance. I was able to balance the love and the fear because if I didn’t, I would so warp my children into incompetent, undeserving adults that would go on to create their own egoic stories that would plague them for decades. I really did think I had some control over that…pretty cute, right?
What I have learned in the land of ego drubbing is that it is not something that someone else can really help you with…I mean, maybe they can point it out…maybe they can show you where you are behaving like an ass, are arrogant, full of fear, but only if you let them. And for that to happen, you first, have to duck and evade your own ego’s tight grasp.
And I have come to learn that ego drubbing is a daily task. A daily struggle. A daily addressment of its tenacity and ability to shapeshift into something that feels like compassion, self esteem, and truth. I think, wrongly, that if I just do it right, that I will be free from my egoic prison and be able to move on.
For me, the ego is a prison I wake up in every single day, but the bars are only in front of me, there are no sides and back. I am not locked in, if I change perspective, I can clearly and really see that I can leave the prison on my own mind, any fucking time. But still, I often hold onto those bars and wail that I cannot get out. I yell, scream, cry, threaten and cuss but refuse to take the more mature route that releases me every, single time…let go and change perspective.
The ego will always be my jailer. However, I am the one that makes the choice to remain imprisoned. Truth shows me, repeatedly, that I am actually quite free, and those bars that appear in front of me all the time, are of my own making…and so I have to begin again each day to see the truth, so that I can make a new choice about how I orient myself to the world. And for me, that means working very hard to drub down my ego from my first waking moment to my last conscious thought, one day at a time.