Friday, February 24, 2012

Self Soothing for the Ego-Maniac--meaning all of us

My mind has been on the ego a lot these days. It keeps us attatched to being human and the world that we're living in. It sometimes blocks our vision of the inner light and muffles the sound of the Still Small Voice. And, seriously, we are crazy defensive of it, because we often confuse it with our identity. "Umm...did that lady just knock my outfit? My hair style? My kid? My home? et cetera ad nauseum." So we spend our time building up and defending the ego with all of the stuff/activities that identify who we are without even realizing it. We think our egos are so amazing that we even defend them against our nearest and dearest.

So many of us use up a lot of our energy trying to change the people we love, even when we don't realize it. We think they hurt us, and they sometimes do things that we find hurtful. We think they should change the behavior that gives us pain, and it does make sense to the ego. "My world looks like this. It has been carefully constructed for my highest comfort. Now you've sauntered in without respect for my past experiences, and you've behaved in a way that feels threatening to me. How dare you? Don't you respect my experience(err...ego)?"

Now would be an excellent time to hop over here and experience the offering of this alternative perspective.

The trouble with a defensive response is that we're punishing our current partner for the actions that created the original wound in the first place--the one we've not healed yet. The more we punish, the more they feel threatened, the more walls go up, and eventually, the relationship is going to crumble.

Now, I don't want to harp on the ego here. The ego isn't bad. It is through the ego that we get to experience life. Without ego, we wouldn't remember the value of living on this earth, of the thrill of stepping into an ocean wave, or of eating an enchilada (I am so craving good Mexican food right now).

What I take from Fred Luskin's lecture is that we need to learn to self sooth in order to have a well-working ego. One that serves us rather than us serving it. When we heal from our experiences, we clear the junk out of the way, so that we can experience the bliss of...experience. I'm talking about healing here, not coping. Coping can involve things like controlling or subduing ourselves, our emotions, or trying to live as best we can within the dysfunction. Healing involves taking a good look at the situation that has brought you pain, and sitting with it until you know you don't have to carry it any more. Then we step into the joy that is experiencing life with our whole selves, and that is good.

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