What Works Against You Can Work to Help You

glass butterfly

In places like this, in spiritual literature, in self-help media, we will encounter the word “ego” endlessly.  Every time we encounter this word, if we’re able, it’s helpful to watch the reaction that arises within us to the words surrounding it.  That is our own ego rising up and waving “hello”.  It’s likely to try and assert its control over us and our reactions, and the way it will depends on the context it’s used in.  Sometimes the reaction is self-satisfaction; a mental pat on the back.  Other times it will rise up as self-righteous anger; a defence mechanism.  It can us to draw closer to others, but will assure we remain steadfastly a separate entity.  It can also cause us to lash out at others; again assurance we remain firmly rooted in our own little box of self-identity.  Either way, it’s a self-defeating habit if we want to grow more deeply in spiritual understanding.

If we’re able to become aware of this as an observer and not an unconscious participant in the antics of the ego, we can become intimately familiar with it.  It’s through this un-attached relationship that we can begin to watch it’s influencing dissolve.  We will begin to see less of a need to react emotionally.  We gain the insight into the illusory stories the ego writes to sustain itself in its position of control.

But this is not a curse.  There’s no need to demonize it.  What the ego does when it arises is presents us with a perfect opportunity.  It shines a spotlight on hazardous and destructive mind-habits that keep us from any real understanding of who we are.  It illuminates its own illusion.

When we realize this, and learn to embrace it as our own inner guru, our inner life will begin to experience a shift.  We react less.  We suffer less.  We cling less.  We experience less conflict.  We have more clarity.  We feel more peaceful.  We experience a depth of effortlessness.  We experience life more fully.  Yes, the ego can work for us if we learn how to watch it and develop a conscious partnership with it.  Give it a try.

The Wisdom of “I Don’t Know”

It takes a very wise person to say those three little words, “I don’t know*.”  Only 3 syllables but the implications to the ego can be bigger and taller than Mount Everest and just as insurmountable.  You know how it is.  When confronted with a question to which you don’t know the answer it’s like pulling the starter cord of the ole ego-lawn mower.  It starts shredding away at your inner peace and better sensibilities.  The mind-babble starts:

“Oh no.  I have no clue what the answer is.  I’m going to look foolish.  People will think I’m stupid.  What do I do?  What do I know that I can bend around to sound like something when all I have is nothing?  I’m going to sound like a complete idiot.”

And then we do it.  We compromise and fake it.  I’ve done it.  I’ve looked and sounded like a complete jack ass as a result.  I’ve even convinced myself I pulled it off, but that glow didn’t last very long.  All I did was lose credibility outwardly and inwardly I was strangling my own self confidence and self esteem.  It wasn’t worth it.

Over time, the realization that I wasn’t being true to myself sunk in.  I don’t honestly know why I didn’t see it all along.; the more I tried to appear like I did know, the less I felt I knew.   But my liberation was at hand.  This is what had to be.  The ego needed to burn itself out.  That’s when I realized the wisdom behind “I don’t know.”

I since have developed a deep respect for those who can say it with ownership and confidence.  It’s a beautiful thing to behold.  They know the secret; they hold the wisdom of the 3 little words.

“I don’t know” is the proverbial golden key.  The moment you realize you don’t know and you admit it at ease with honesty, your credibility receives a well-deserved polish and the door of opportunity to learn is unlocked.  Uttering those 3 words gives you the total freedom to learn anything and everything you choose to.  The possibilities are without end.  The universe is your oyster from the material to the spiritual and beyond!

So let go and be confident.  Shout from the roof tops, “I don’t know!”  A cup can’t be filled until it’s empty.  So dump out that stale ego and fill your cup with some rich and steamy information OR be content in the fact you have a nice clean empty cup ready to be filled when you choose to fill it.


*Note:  For the purposes of this article, “I don’t know” means I don’t have the information.  This is not to be confused with “I dunno” meaning I don’t want to deal with it.  The first one is honest, the second is not.