through an entire day without being angry or offended... a day in which
nothing disturbs you, in which you aren't endlessly distracted by
thoughts about everything you want and need... a day in which you can
happily and effortlessly devote yourself to your work, your family and
your friends. Imagine the freedom.
Such days are possible -- if you
learn to tame your ego. Here's how to do it.
The ego exposed...
The ego is nothing more than
a vision of who you are... who you wish you were... and who you are
constantly trying to be. It's the idea that you are your physical
body, separate from everyone else... and that you desperately need to be
It's your ego that constantly
tried to prove that you're special by competing with others... putting
people down -- struggling to dominate... and trying to accomplish an
ever-growing number of achievements.
The ego's appetite is insatiable. The glow of each achievement
fades more and more quickly. The security of money leaves you
hungry for more. The thrill of victory is overshadowed by the fear
more than just your ego. What I call the higher self or sacred
self is your deepest, most authentic I.
It's the part of you that
feels connected to others and to nature. When you feel at peace --
filled with calm enjoyment and the knowledge that you have what you need
-- you're in touch with your higher self.
Importance of taming your ego...
Your ego has been part of you
since childhood. You can't destroy it. If you fight it, you
only make it seem more real. What you can do is tame your ego.
Make friends with it by recognizing its insistent demands and working to
let go of them.
Many people worry that taming
their egos will rob them of achievement and success. This isn't
true. If you aren't constantly striving and competing, you
will have time to experience success.
When you're not absorbed in
yourself, you can concentrate fully on what you're doing -- rather than
worrying about what's in it for you... and/or other people's opinions.
How to tame your ego...
- Take note of how
often you use the word I in conversations. Each time
you use it, you remind yourself of your self-importance, your
concern about things affect you and about how you're doing.
While using the I word sounds great to you, it
almost always has the opposite effect on others. The
word makes them feel less significant and, therefore, they
are less likely to have a positive impression of you.
Instead of thinking about you, think about what you're doing
and its impact on others.
Listen to the person who is talking rather than thinking
about ways to respond. You should not be trying to
show that individual that he/she is wrong... or to bring
attention to yourself.
- Take notice of
other thoughts that refer exclusively to yourself.
These include demands, feelings of offense, the urge to be better
than others and fear of having it worse than others.
||As an experiment,
surrender your self-concern. Every time you're aware of
self-referential thoughts, turn your attention to the other
person or to the task at hand. Try it for a day... or a
half-day... or even a half-hour.
Strive to be absolutely honest.
By its very nature, the ego is deceptive. Driven by the need
to win approval, it exaggerates accomplishments and denies
frailties. When you are able to wriggle out of your ego's
grip, you'll find that you don't need to exaggerate to feel
sufficient. Instead of projecting a false self, you can be
perfectly honest. The truth will set you free from your need
for the good opinions of others. When you no longer need
approval, you'll act in a way that earns it spontaneously.
Commit yourself to the truth. Catch yourself when
you're about to exaggerate about anything -- from how fast
you run to how much money you make. If in doubt, be
silent. Notice self-aggrandizing thoughts, and let
them go. When your ego is no longer in control,
admitting errors holds no terrors.
- Learn to meditate.
Regular meditation shatters the ego's illusion of separateness and
brings a sense of inner peace. Here's what I do...
- Sit quietly in a
place where you won't be disturbed, and envision your mind
as if it were a pond. On the surface, there's constant
chatter of thoughts, desires and self-concern.
- Then imagine a
pebble dropping through the pond's surface and through your
mind. Visualize it drifting deeper and deeper, through
layers of analysis, emotion, concepts and ideas.
- Imagine a bubble
around the pebble so that any chatter or disturbing thoughts
that try to penetrate it bounce off.
- As the pebble
descends, imagine the clear, peaceful, unrippled depths,
where the true I -- your sacred self -- resides.
Do this for 15
minutes every day.
- Eliminate your
need to always be right. Become aware of the ego's
underlying fallacy. If you're not right and everyone knows it,
someone is better/smarter than you. Not being right can be
embarrassing -- but does it truly reflect your inner worth?
course, it is important to prevail.
An inebriated friend who wants to drive home must be stopped.
But how often is
conflict generated by the ego's striving? Is it worth
sacrificing peace to convince your partner that the luggage must
be stowed in the trunk your way?
All too often, the
ego feeds itself showing up other people. The need to show
off your knowledge... prove someone wrong... or constantly say
I told you so are all part of the ego's need to excel at
the expense of others. Instead of emphasizing the
deficiencies of others, focus on growth -- how you and others
can be better.
If you look at other
people lovingly, you'll see yourself the same way. When
faced with the choice of right or being kind, be kind.
generosity. Give of yourself -- money, time and
concern. Focus on the inner experience -- not on the outcome.
Your ego may say, No! It's mine or, What's in it for
me? But your sacred self will flourish. Being
generous with your respect -- toward family, friends, employees --
takes the focus away from yourself and robs your ego of power.