Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Ego

On any given day the news is full of examples of ego doing its thing. The US elections have seen the rise of Donald Trump who continues to spread fear, and the appalling behaviour of the US Republican Party who keep rejecting the gun laws.  While our own elections are perhaps not as colourful, we have now entered the last few weeks where fear is being ‘shovelled out’ as an election strategy.  This weekend we are also seeing the immediate aftermath of the Brexit results, a perfect example of ego doing what it does best – more fear.

What is the ego?  The easiest way I understand the ego is that it’s like Iago from Shakespeare’s play Othello.  Iago is Othello’s ‘trusted’ advisor who keeps whispering in Othello’s ear that his wife is unfaithful to him, until finally Othello kills his innocent wife. Like Iago, our ego is whispering in our ear all the time.

All of us are composed of light and shadow and the ego is our shadow side. Our ego always points out the negative. It’s the little voice that whispers, “they are trying to rip you off”, “you are not good enough to do that,” “you’re better than them”, “why should they have a nice car you’re entitled to that,” “immigrants are taking all the jobs”.  The ego lives and breathes fear.

Our ego can paralyse us from doing what we know is right. When you are in the clutches of your ego you come up with lots of justifications why you don’t do what is right. We mistakenly call this pride.  You know the “I can never forgive them for what they did to me!” scenario. Well the only person who suffers in this scenario is YOU. Your ego is happy because it keeps stoking the fires of resentment and anger and all you gain is bitterness, unhappiness, it can detrimentally impact your health and you become boring to your friends as you keep talking about the same thing over and over. 

That’s why they say that when you forgive someone, it releases you from holding onto the negative energy that came out of that particular situation. You don’t have to forget what happened, you just accept the lesson and forget the rest. This however is the opposite of what your ego wants, because this approach empowers you and disempowers your ego.  

The ego makes the situation all about you and you have to ‘win’. Continuing down this path however ultimately backs you into a corner with nowhere to move.  And when you are backed into a corner the ego tells you “you didn’t get enough support”, “they lied”, “they’re jealous of you.”
It’s always someone else’s fault.

We have so much opportunity to be the best version of ourselves and grow. Yes the world is a scary place at the moment but this is the time for all of us to step up and show compassion, forgiveness and acceptance.   You see, being ‘me focussed’ is living life from ego. Living a life from ego does not enable you to be the best version of yourself. Wouldn’t it serve you better to be aware when it’s your ego whispering?

We can’t get rid of our ego as it is part of us. But, we do have free will and always the choice to act in the light or shadow.  There are two things we can do that give us power over our ego:
1. Take responsibility for our behaviour
2. Consider the situation from the other person’s perspective

I have been practicing these two things to help me to focus my energy on being the best version of me, and I have to say I’m feeling more empowered.  

The only way we can fight fear and change the world is to start with ourselves.

Love and light

Monday, 6 June 2016

Treat people the way you want to be treated

A few years ago I made a conscious decision to follow the path of light and become more balanced, open, and authentic. Amongst the many things I am learning on this journey, is a fundamental truth I have been reminded of and now live by, that is, treat people the way you want to be treated.

You may be thinking, ‘That’s too simple! Surely following the path of light involves spiritual stuff like lots of meditation, eating vegan, or practising yoga?’  I agree, and while it’s important (in whichever way works best for you) to focus internally, be present in the current moment and connect with your higher self; underpinning all of this is a core fundamental truth that applies to every single person on this planet – how we treat each other. It sounds simple, but as I’ve been learning it’s something you have to think about, and this thought drives everything you do, because we always have a choice. Our choice is to act in the way of light or the way of shadow.

What do I mean by light and shadow? I think the way of light simply means doing the right thing by people, such as; being respectful, honest, tolerant.... The way of shadow is the opposite such as being intolerant, dishonest, lazy, greedy, and basically letting your ego drive your behaviour.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we all acted in the way of light? Even small things would  make a difference - drivers would let each other in, pregnant women would get a seat on the bus/train, we would give more generously to charities, I’ve been doing these things and you know what – good stuff comes back to me! On a bigger scale imagine if there was no such thing as corporate fraud, or violence, or discrimination! It sounds like utopia doesn’t it? But I don’t think it’s impossible if everyone does their bit.

Look at Canada, okay I’m biased, Justin Trudeau is one of my heroes, he’s not perfect but he’s trying to treat people the way he wants to be treated. His Cabinet has an equal number of men and women and is also representative of the ethnicities living in Canada. Medicine Hat (in Alberta) is the first Canadian city to eliminate homelessness!

I was reading an article recently that said there is enough food in our world for everyone and there is a growing food wastage problem in developed countries. So why do some people have to go without food while others throw food out? I know I sound na├»ve, but why wouldn’t we share? Maybe it’s the way of shadow. Unfortunately we see lots examples of shadow in our world today, war, violence, greed, corruption. But look closely there is also light, in France for example, they have just passed legislation to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charity!

We are all connected and each thing that we do has a ripple effect. I think for a long time we have forgotten this and focused on what we can get, rather than what we can give.  This is not surprising, given all the things we juggle it is easy to lose sight of what is really important.

Maybe this is simplistic, but if we thought more about the consequences of our actions, maybe there would be less greed, violence, or lies. All of our individual behaviour has a collective impact. Little points of light collectively can create huge rays of light and positivity in our world.

How to start? Just treat people the way you want to be treated and see what happens.

Love and Light