Egolessness vs. Self-esteem

Posted on February 4, 2012


Q:What is the difference between egolessness and developing a healthy self-esteem?

(Exhibit A: all-powerful sexy spy chic)

I feel like I’m trying to do both and I suspect they’re incompatible.

…And there are some feelings of guilt around that, to the tune of: Shouldn’t I be getting over my ego, not boosting it or even trying to make it a ‘good’ ego.

A: The ego is not good or bad. You may think of your ego as harmful, but it only harms itself. (Side note: the ego’s self-destructiveness and self-preservation are one in the same.  Maybe more on that another time.) The ego can only harm you to the extent that you are identified with it.

Q: But I keep buying into what I can get from the ego – if my ego was, I mean if I identified completely as being totally suave and sophisticated, sexy, smart – an all-powerful super spy chic or something.

All-powerful? I guess that’s it isn’t it? All-powerful on the level of brute force and strength, sexuality, willpower, and intelligence (lower three chakras, mostly). I think some of my career/life aspirations are just miniature versions of this. I’m ashamed about these fantasies.

A: Don’t be. That’s a trap.

Those examples from Hollywood – no one ever achieves that.

It is part of the mythology of the ego.

No one ever finds peace in murder.

No one ever finds peace in domination.

No one even finds peace in winning, for winning is but proof that we are alone.

Q: So we can try to get to that top most elite most refined most – whatever – position but it won’t really make us happy? I feel like yeah, I can say that, but I wonder if it’s just an excuse not to try. To avoid admitting that I am just not cut out to ever be like Angeline Jolie (I mean, a fantastical all-powerful sexy spy chic, not real life).

A: That should be your clue. Achieving true happiness through achieving is just that – a fantasy. The idea that you have to be something other than what you are to be happy is ridiculous – and also the basis for this entire world. The only reason you buy into it at all has two parts:

1) You don’t actually know yourself right now, and

2) You’re not happy.

These are the premises the ego uses to lure you into believing that you can – by following its guidance – earn your happiness. But in the ego’s world, everything is quantifiable (read: limited),  and temporary (read: reversible). Therefore you have to work a measurable amount for measurable happiness, which can erode, turn around, or be taken away at any time. This is not real happiness. It is something else:

The ego’s definition of happiness is synonymous  with “victory.”

Q: But it feels euphoric to win!

A: Only so long as you deny the guilt and pretend you don’t see the suffering in your brothers who believed they lost. In order to maintain your “euphoria” for any amount of time, you must put a wall between you and your brothers. Even if they weren’t the ones with whom you were competing. Do you really want some excuse for happiness that cannot be shared?

Q: But if I didn’t win, at lease some of the time, I’d feel so lame.

A: The ego is lame. It seeks to win in order to fulfill its needs, which it is ashamed to have. Having needs is an unavoidable weakness for anyone living in a body.

Q: Can we meet our needs without engaging in the power struggle which necessitates cutting ourselves off from others?

A: There is a way – relinquish the ego.

Q: And then what?

A: You will remember who you are. Whole and without needs.

Q: And the body?

A: You will not have to worry especially about any aspect of maintaining it until its purpose has passed.

Q: That sounds very utopian, not sure if I really believe it — that if I let go, everything will just flow.

Q: Why should I believe it?

A: Because nothing else you have believed has served you.

You are never asked to give up more than you are prepared to give. As you learn that everything you offer is but returned tenfold, the process will accelerate. Once you begin to remember who you are – one with the only true power – the ego’s tricks will not tempt you. Because:

1) You will know yourself, and

2) You will be happy.

Q: How do you tell apart the kind of happy self-knowledge that comes from a rockin’ self-created or invented  identity vs. knowing yourself in the personality sense vs. knowing yourself in the highest (spiritual) sense?

A: To uphold a self-created identity that is inconsistent with your inherent personality in this life requires a tremendous and ongoing amount of energy. It is associated with fear because

a part of you is always aware that you cannot maintain the facade.

Yet when you relax into yourself, in the sense of discovering the natural uninhibited ‘you’ in this life, that is part of the process of discovering the highest (true) you. They are different layers of an onion, so to speak. The invented persona does not lead to self-knowledge, though it may appear superficially to give some temporary self-esteem. Allowing yourself to be and know who you are in the personality sense will develop authentic self-esteem and satisfaction in this lifetime when it is accompanied with unconditional acceptance.

The openness required by unconditionally accepting yourself (or anyone else, for that matter) will lead you to spiritual awakening.

Q: What about Angelina?

A: Accept her too. Beauty and faults. It’s all temporary.

Q: And the super sexy spy chic?

A: Forgive it. It’s all mythology created to maintain the ego – the promise that winning (dividing) can bring happiness. Lies cannot change the truth. It’s nothing to worry about. Enjoy the movies.

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