Over the last year, I’ve been digging deep into understanding the role of the ego within my life. I first read Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth, which is an amazing book on the topic of the ego. I definitely had many, “Aha,” moments as I read, and I hope you will join us on March 22, when we meet to discuss the book and go over steps we can all take to put the information to work in our lives.
Tolle states: “The voice of the ego continuously disrupts the body’s natural state of well-being. Almost every human body is under a great deal of strain and stress, not because it is threatened by some external factor but from within the mind. The body has an ego attached to it, and it cannot but respond to all the dysfunctional thought patterns that make up the ego. Thus, a stream of negative emotion accompanies the stream of incessant and compulsive thinking. What is a negative emotion? An emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious functioning. Fear, anxiety, anger, bearing a grudge, sadness, hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy—all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on. An emotion that does harm to the body also infects the people you come into contact with and indirectly, through a process of chain reaction, countless others you never meet. There is a generic term for all negative emotions: unhappiness.”
Can we really attribute all our negative emotions to our ego? According to many spiritual texts the answer is, yes. Through our egos perceptions we create judgements. These may be judgements about ourselves or others: “I’m not good enough...,” “He’s such a jerk…,” “That person is toxic…,” “I’m not a good person…,” “He’s a conservative…,” “She’s a liberal….” The labels go on and on.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, sutra 2.6 reads: Drk-Darsanasaktyoh-Ekatmata-Iva-Asmita which translates to mean “Egoism, the limiting sense of “I,” results from the individual intellect’s attributing the power of consciousness to itself.” (Translation by Allistair Shearer) I love Sri Swami Satchidananda's explanation of Sutra 2.6, “The Self will always be falsely represented by the ego until our ignorance is removed. I often refer to these two “I’s” as the little “i” and the capital “I.” What is the difference? Just a small dot, a little blemish of ego. The capital “I” is just one pure stroke, just as the highest truth is always simple and pure. What limits us and makes us little? Just the dot. Without the dot, we are always great, always the capital 'I.'" In the littleness of the ego we find our perceptions limit our path to happiness. How then, do we move away from these limiting judgements? It begins with awareness.
In our classes this month we will focus on bringing awareness to our ego and seeing the negative impact our judgements have on moving towards the true Self, “I,” and away from the ego self, “i.” A Course In Miracles teaches us that the ego mind always moves from a space of attack as opposed to a space of peace. It is of deprivation as opposed to limitless possibilities. The ego creates fear instead of love and it lives in darkness instead of light.
As we learn to release from judgement we begin to understand the opposite of ego is acceptance and love. When we are truly able to see the Universe within each person we meet, herein lies your true Self. The “I” not the “i.”
Word: Ego - the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.
Asana: Tadasana - The foundation of all standing poses, Mountain Pose makes a great a starting position, resting pose, or tool to improve posture.
Pranayama: Three-Part Breath - Dirga Swasam Pranayama. The “three parts” are the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. During Three-Part Breath, you first completely fill your lungs with air, as though you are breathing into your belly, ribcage, and upper chest. Then you exhale completely, reversing the flow.
Mantra: Om Varunam Namah My life is in harmony with cosmic law.
Mudra: Shunya Mudra- Gesture of emptiness. With greater openness to new ways of seeing, space is created for the journey of awakening.
Fold your middle finger and press it with your thumb. You may feel some pain.
Extend the rest of the fingers as much as possible.
It should be done with both hands simultaneously.