The Ego—our collection of thoughts and beliefs about ourself and the world—can be a useful tool for achieving greater levels of success in life, however, for most of us it is the number one obstacle to peace of mind and joyous living. Although it may not be realistic for all of us to expect complete transcendence of our egos in this lifetime, living with less ego involvement is certainly a worthwhile and achievable goal.
Much stress, anxiety, doubt, fear, etc, stems from the ego and its inherent flaws of perception. You may have already discovered that the resolution of one problem often brings with it many more to be addressed. The ego will always perceive some sort of “challenge” or “threat” because it believes that it is separate from others and needs to “live up” to some predetermined ideal. This way of seeing guarantees some level of stress and/or anxiety.
No amount of working with the ego will bring complete peace of mind (self-help strategies and techniques). This is due to the very nature of the ego itself. The only truly effective method for achieving peace of mind is to find ways to transcend the ego and its limited perceptions. When we can learn to live from a place of oneness, non-judgement, acceptance, compassion, and freedom from outcome, then we will know peace.
1. Let go of the need to be “right”
Only the narcissistic ego cares about being “right” because it implies that someone else is “wrong,” thus making it somehow superior. This is a delusional way of seeing. Only subjective perception has any reality. So-called “objective” facts are actually only subjective interpretations of observed phenomena. “Right” and “Wrong” have no actual existence, but rather serve as the necessary duality for learning. Unfortunately, another consequence of this duality is the perpetuation of selfish ego desires (the need to be “right”).
Realize the futility of argument. Recognize the secret pleasure your ego gets from confrontation. Are these selfish, tiny payoffs really worth it? Do they ever bring you true peace or happiness? These are questions you must ask yourself.
2. Let go of the belief that “good” and “bad” have any actual existence
The ego operates on the basis of duality. In other words, the ego believes that right, wrong, good, evil, up, down, fat, skinny, etc etc have actual existence in reality. It is important to see that these are only labels (judgements) that we place on things and experiences to denote their level of desirability and/or to help us navigate. In reality, they do not exist, and much suffering could be avoided simply by dropping some of these common labeling tendencies.
In my own life, all the seemingly “bad” things that have happened to me almost always turned out to be for my ultimate benefit. I now avoid labeling any event in my life as “bad” because it disempowers me and causes me unneeded stress. I now see everything as “for the greatest good.” I encourage you to adopt this way of seeing for a while. I think you’ll enjoy the greater peace of mind it brings you.
3. Practice finding the beauty in everything and everyone
The ego cannot truly appreciate beauty because it is always looking for things to criticize or place a label on. The mental labels we place on things automatically block out their beauty. If you had no ego filtering your experience, you would see the perfection of everything.
Nature is the best place to practice appreciating the beauty of life. It is most obvious there. The next time you step outside, I want you to just BE there and SEE the beauty of the trees, the sky, the flowers, and everything else in your immediate environment. Let go of the need to place a mental label on things. Do not look at the flower and think “that is a pretty flower” but rather attempt to see the flower for what it really is. This requires an ego-free perception, so of course it takes practice, but once you get a glimpse of true beauty and learn to see that same perfection in absolutely everything, you will be well on your way to permanent peace of mind.
Hope this helps. Much Love.
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