Lately, I have been thinking about my ego. This inquire was sparked after watching myself do something that I instantaneously regretted. In all honesty, while I was in the act, I remember hearing a voice in the back of my head scream, “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” Despite this warning, I continued to let words stumble uncontrollably out of my mouth. And as I struggled to force them back in, I felt my metaphorical foot reach further and further down my throat until breathing became nearly impossible. And yet, even here, instead of listening to that voice that said, “For the love of god, stop talking,” I attempted to add more fuel to the fire in an attempt to “fix” things. But every action, every attempt, every word was like an attempt made by a bug caught in a spider’s web to free itself, or a person who’d stepped in quick sand attempting to fight their descent – i.e. not helpful! I was soon buried head deep in quicksand and there was no way to reorient the situation or erase the hurt feelings caused by my words.
As I have had time to think about this, and wonder why I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut, I have come to two conclusions. The first is that perhaps at that moment, my ego (my sense of self) felt big, inflated, confident, and entitled to say what it said. The other, which may be equally likely, is that at that moment, my ego was feeling, small, it was feeling scared and insecure and so it said what it said in an effort to deliver the quickest, most efficient, and deadly attack it could.
As I attempt to allow the dust to settle, I find myself attempting to apply a great deal of self-compassion for the regret, guilt, and shame I experienced post act – all for not listening to that inner guide that was attempting to keep me safe from harm. From this perspective, I do not feel comfortable offering any advice for the present moment. Instead I would like to offer the simple question: Where in your life might you not be fully listening to your inner guide? Perhaps it is within your interpersonal relationships where the tendency might be to be critical of yourself or others? Maybe it is within your work life where you may find your expectations aren’t meant? Or perhaps its within your own body where at times you may become impatient and want to rush things? Wherever it is, I would like to invite you to pause, take a moment to breathe, and repeat to yourself, “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” – I bow to the inner teacher within.