We have spoken extensively about ego – what it is, how it works and how to recognize it. I hope that you are beginning to realize when your ego is lurking around. You may not be able to do anything about it at this point but at least you are aware of what is happening and how it robs you of your peace and joy. An important way of subverting the ego is to practice gratitude.
Gratitude can be strangely illusive. What I mean is that we all like to think that we are grateful. But are we really? Do we really go through each day consciously experiencing gratitude? I’m sure a rare few do but, for most of us we do not. Our ego keeps us focused on the things we don’t want or don’t have. We constantly wish for some state of ease or perfection that simply does not exist. I’m reminded of Eckhart Tolle’s words:
“Waiting is a state of mind, the usual state of mind. Presence is when you’re no longer waiting for the next moment, believing that the next moment will be more fulfilling than this one.”
You see, the ego holds us in a mind identified state by constantly finding something to complain about. When there is something to complain about, what do we do? We THINK about it! And thus, the ego has masterfully kept us trapped in our thinking minds. The nature of life is that it is not perfect or perhaps better said, “ Life is perfect in it’s own imperfection”. There is always something to complain about or be upset about. If our attention remains focused on whats “wrong” then, that’s all we see and think about. We have developed that habit of trying to make life perfect. It distracts us from the moment. We are no longer present. We slip back into unconsciousness or a mind identified state. We are waiting for the perfect time to come.
Here’s the irony. The moment something is taken away from you, you can see clearly how good you had it! Now, you long for things to be the way they used to be! You long for the way it was that you didn’t appreciate at the time. And, now you are not happy in the present moment because its not as good as it used to be even though when you had it, it wasn’t good enough. Can you see how crazy we are?
Let’s look at the other side of the coin. What if in this moment we were grateful for life just as it is and just as it is not. What would that feel like? Would you feel your ego in that moment? There’s a saying that goes, “Once you get there you realize there’s no there there.” We live our lives trying to get to a place where somehow everything’s “OK”. There’s good news! That place does exist! You are standing in it …
Tom Notarianni Jr.