From the time we begin to understand that we are not longer part of our mother, our sense of “me”, the ego, begins to develop.
This “me” entity acquires its sense of identity solely through incorporating the experiences it has along the way. It filters and incorporates those new experiences through the information it has acquired from past experiences!
Looking from the outside, it would seem that that “me” changes constantly depending on the experiences it acquires-but from the inside it appears seamless- we are, have been and always will be this new “me’ of the present moment.
That ego of ours is constantly looking for new experiences to analyse and to bolster its sense of identity- without it; simply being there without analysis or criticism, the ego and its constant internal conversations, begins to slow down; the internal peace of simply “being” begins to shine through all the ego chatter.
The ego’s need to be something other than what it is now, is voracious and constant; learn more, know more, be more important , have more money, own more things ….. As Gunaratana says, “if your mind is perpetually spinning like a fruit cylinder in a one-armed bandit, self-control is highly unlikely”.
However illusory, our egos need to feel they have some control over the body they occupy’s future, that it has meaning – without that illusory sense of control and meaning , a sense of hopelessness can set in.
The messages our ego’s absorb at vulnerable points in our lives shape the way the ego perceives itself-it has no other information to go on, and it’s more likely to absorb the negative feedback than the positive because they are the ones that may protect us. The more we act on those negative (and positive) beliefs, the more they are reinforced as “the truth” about us. We construct a world ‘around ‘us based on our ego’s classification and definition of things it has observed.
We can start to change the messages our egos have absorbed, through repetition of positive messages about ourselves.
As a mammal of the simian/monkey family; (a very vulnerable simian without the capacity to see in the dark, without sharp claws and teeth or protective outer skin), we have an innate hard-wired need to congregate with others of our species. There is safety in numbers.
Our body is hard-wired to physically and emotionally respond negatively to being involuntarily alone. There lies danger; the tooth and claw carnivore will eat us, but in the group we have some safety. Fear pulls us back to the group- but in modern day urban man, without the predators, that fear can simply paralyse and make us depressed…
Almost everything we do is focussed on being with others of our species for that sense of wellbeing. To be part of the group is to be validated, to be ok, to be safe. It is only ok to be alone if we choose to-if we know the risks of that aloneness.
- We need to recognise the vital importance to ourselves and others of positive human interaction.
- We can change our ego messages through repetition, time, patience and practice.
- We can choose to continue to feed our egos till the day we die, when that ego disappears forever; or we can start to focus and quieten the mind through meditation and other mindfulness techniques-to simply watch as those thoughts drift by …to begin to experience the joy of simply being, which runs like a river through every living thing.