Thursday, March 10, 2011

I, Me, Mine, and the Ego-Part 1

A four part series to recognizing and releasing the ego.

For the past several weeks I have been greatly inspired and challenged in my pursuit of letting go of attachments.  I have struggled greatly writing on the subject of ego and detachment, but hey this is a process of letting go, so here I write.

Over the next few weeks I will be releasing this four part series in hopes of helping you to better understand the ego, and hopefully encourage you to let go, live more simply, and find some inner peace.

A Little Disclaimer:

Letting go and releasing attachments is no easy feat and requires nothing short of a lifetime practice.  This pursuit is not for the faint of heart; it will require strength, patience, time, self care, forgiveness, and most of all love towards yourself and everyone you share this earth with.

Understanding the Ego:

I've got good news and bad news.  Let's just get the not so great news out of the way.

The bad news lies in the definition of Ego.

How would you define "ego?"

Webster's defines the ego as:

The self especially as contrasted with another self or the world.

A perfect description of the ego, but (and there is always a but) the example Webster's gives to define the ego is:
I have enough ego not to give up easily in any contest or competition.

Most of us think of this type of example when we hear the word ego, myself included.  When I was first taught about the ego and it's dangers, I thought, great I don't have an ego, I'm not arrogant, narcissistic, prideful, etc.  Awesome for me I'm ahead of the curve.

WRONG!  Man was I disappointed.

What I had described was an inflated sense of self, egotism.  Remember the ego is simply how we identify ourselves in contrast to the world around us.

I'm a home owner.  I am a father, a mother, a brother, a sister.  I am a student, an employee.  I am kind. I am creative.  I have a job, friends, family, car.  I am, I have, I desire, I, Me, Mine.

The ego is how we define ourselves in relationship to all things around us.

Doesn't that mean we all have an ego?

Yes, and that's the bad news.

The Good News:

In the Patanjali Sutras we are given a solution, a guide to remedy the I, Me, Mine Syndrome that afflicts us all.
The cause of pain is the association or identification of the seer and the seen and the remedy lies in their dissociation. -Sutra II.17 as translated by B.K.S Iyengar

I know what you're probably thinking: "You call this good news?" I know I thought it too.

At first glance the thought of dissociation, or detachment sounds daunting, if not just cold and bleak.

Do not be worried or overwhelmed.  We are not trying to rid ourselves of everything to live as secluded monks.  We are trying to take steps toward a simple, peaceful and truly happy lifestyle.

Over the next three posts I will write more in depth of attachments to things, people, and of course our own ego.  I hope you will gain new insight to Sutra II.17 as we approach it both conceptually and in practice to our daily life.


[...] Wise Words « A Look At I, Me, Mine Syndrome-Part One  |   [...]

[...] the first article I went into detail defining the word ego and it’s meaning in the context of dis-attachment.  [...]

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