I’m sure when most people see the word ego, their first reaction is the common connotation of one being full of themselves, one being greater than they are, aloof or grandiose of mind. This is not incorrect and right on the money. I’m also aware, many people will think of the clinical psychological definition of the ego as proposed by Freud. He explained the ego as the reality tester, planning, control, reason and common sense. The “I”, the mediator between primitive urges and reality .
However, I am thinking more of the connotation of the ego that is centered around the selfish “I”. The part of you that says “I can’t believe someone said that about me” or “I will deal with the pain because I know I can take it, and he/she can’t”. Or the most prevelent thought of today that is “I’m gonna do me”, the me ego. The part of the mind that hinders us from our greatest Spiritual growth.
What I find interesting, is there are so many people that are professing one way of life or another, be it Rastafari, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Ifa or adepts in various other ways, and they don’t appear to have confidence in the very teachings they profess.
The first encounter that made me take notice, was on an occasion, when I had the opportunity to attend a lecture put on by a particular group. Now, the people of this particular sect opened the lecture to the public, which was on great and little known queens of Ancient Kemet or Egypt. Yet, the people that hosted the event were very cold and non friendly to those that weren’t part of their sect. Once the lecture was over all went out into the atrium of the theater to purchase books, dry goods, cd’s, dvd’s or artwork. I found it very strange for a group that, through their music, profess a lot of brotherly and sisterly love to be so unfriendly. It was almost as if they wanted to sell us their wares, but didn’t want to engage in any friendly verbal exchange at all.
On another occasion I went to a lecture by Runoko Rashidi on the African presence in prehistory on each continent on the planet. When I arrived I found that there was food being sold, and i wanted to eat since I hadn’t eaten all day. I got in line to wait my turn to order. I looked at the board showing what was being served and the price associated with it. I decided on rice and peas, and greens, as I’m not a big fan of tofu which, was the other entree on the menu. The line was long, so by the time I got to order, there were virtually no greens left, only about a tablespoon full. I ordered the rice and peas and the last of the greens. Since there was a tablespoon or less of greens left, I was surprised when the woman taking the payment still charged me the full price for the food. She did offer the fried tofu and veggies, but I declined advising her I don’t care for tofu. Since I didn’t get a full serving of greens I really didn’t expect that she still wanted the same price as if I got a full serving. I paid, sat down, ate, and waited for Runoko Rashidi to give his lecture. I later found out the server and caterer of the food was a local radio host on Sunday nights, hosting a cultural program for the uplift of “the community” and humanity over all. So, what is really going on? Why are there so many people into the sciences of life, yet not really living what they study?
It seems to me that many people are often associated with a religion, martial art, meditation group, masjid, temple, church or house for the shear bragging rights of saying that I’m this or I’m that. Practicing what is being taught seems to be less of an occupation than having the ability to say I’m Rasta or I’m a Christian. Living the actual tenets is of less importance than stating the name of a sect. This seems to be the problem when one is confronted with the opportunity to extend the power of their teachings, yet all too often fall back on what bolsters their own ego. It’s great to say I am a practitioner of Tai Chi forms, but don’t work to build good character and being sensitive to the energies I come in contact with. Otherwise it’s only lip service and not spirit service. Do you worship by being what you profess? Or do you stay in a form of worship that leaves you “hoping” to one day attain what your master teaches?
If we could release ourselves from the illusion that titles or groups makes us who and what we are, then we will grow into the teachings we profess. What is it, if I speak the words of love to some one, yet physically do things opposite of what it is to love? Can we be true to what we profess if we do not do the work of being what we profess? Its good to say I am of a particular order but, worth nothing if we work opposite of the teachings of that order. If you lose your ego what do you lose?