Tag Archives: Ego

AWAKENING TO THE LAUGHTER WITHIN

“When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing each other.”       Alan Alda

Does it bother you when others laugh at you?  Are you able to laugh at yourself and especially the challenges in life?

Seeing the Humor in Life

I’ve been writing about Jung’s Shadow and dealing with difficulties lately, and to balance things out a bit, today I’m writing about laughter.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a pretty funny experience with a turkey.  I was working in the front yard and heard a strange gobble.  The female turkeys commonly wander through my yard, but this didn’t sound like them.  I looked around and spied a Tom at the bottom of my driveway, with beautiful red and blue coloring on his neck, gobbling and fanning his tail feathers and flirtatiously looking in my direction.

It was the first time I’d seen a Tom in the neighborhood and I blurted out, “You are one beautiful boy!”  He began walking up the driveway toward me.  I ran inside to get my camera and came back outside while he completed his slow strut to the upper, flat part of the yard.  Wanting to get a picture, I asked enthusiastically, “Would you show me your beautiful feathers again?”  He looked at me and unfurled his feathers.  I was shocked.

He continued walking across the yard a few feet from me, gobbling pleasantly and showing his feathers when I asked him to do so.  When I stopped taking pictures, he looked at me, sensing our little encounter was over, and wandered into the neighbor’s yard.  All afternoon, I heard him gobbling through the neighborhood.  I felt rather sorry for him because it was clear he was looking for a lady turkey, and the best he could do was to get the attention of a human one.

Sharing the Joy

Later, when I told the story to friends, it gave us all a good laugh.  Then one friend pointed out that this wasn’t the first time I’d attracted a turkey, but she hoped it was the last.  With this, we practically fell out of our chairs.  Although I don’t really think of my “exes” as turkeys, the joke was too clever, and laughing at myself felt very cathartic.

Releasing Ego Needs Enhances Our Spirituality

Laughing at ourselves is a good way to put the ego in its place.  For a second, my ego wanted to object to my friend’s remark, but some part of me, the wiser part, said, “Let it go—share the joy of the laughter.  I don’t know when I’ve laughed so hard or long, and the laughter washed away some emotional debris that had been building up.  My vibrational energy felt higher the rest of the evening.

Well into adulthood, I found it difficult to laugh at myself.  I was never a care- free child because of many illnesses, including rheumatic fever and a heart murmur that lasted until I was twelve.  There was often tension in the household with my parents arguing and also the fears created by my brother’s illness as well.  I was well into adulthood before I could laugh at myself and not feel humiliated if others made fun of me.

As the core of who we are is strengthened, we become more resilient.  Our confidence cannot be eroded by a friendly joke, and as we are able to see the humor in our life circumstances, we are more able to let go of the need to protect the ego.  We learn to let go of the need to be right all the time.  We learn to accept our own mistakes as human, fix them if we can, and move on, trying to be wiser the next time.

Being The Wise Fool

I have a great fondness for Shakespeare’s plays, for his wisdom is boundless.  His tragedies always include, among the characters, a fool who is usually part of the king’s court.  He entertains, but more importantly, he hides behind what appears to be his stupidity in order to confront the person in power with his own folly.  While others laugh at him, he makes fun of the king or opposes his actions in a way that entertains even the object of his ridicule.  As Isaac Asimov stated in A Guide to Shakespeare, “That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool—that he is no fool at all.”  The fool is often the wisest man.  Humor often allows us to state truths that otherwise we could never express.

When we can play the fool and laugh with others, we raise our vibration and experience joy.  It is also a great defense against those who might use humor to hurt us.  If we can find the humility to admit we are not perfect and not feel defensive at another’s derision, we can sabotage their efforts to harm us.  Laughing at ourselves diminishes their power over us.  As Alda points out in the opening quote, laughter takes us to a positive place that tends to bring people together, not separate them.  Perhaps when the leaders of the world meet, they should begin their meeting with each offering a joke to remind themselves, We Are All One.

How has laughter served you well lately?  Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                        ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE WORLD, Part 3, COOPERATION

“Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together.”  Robert Redford

Do you feel at ease working cooperatively with others?  Are you able to give up a little of your control in order share leadership? What if all nations worked together for the good of all?

I belong to a spiritual group and we’have been puzzled lately about how to handle a situation.  Our team leader is stepping down, and others who would make good leaders are too committed to take on more responsibilities.  Finally, one long-time member agreed to be the leader with the understanding that he needed “back-up.”  Three of us offered.  Out of this situation, we created an agreement that all four of us would work together as a team of leaders.  Since we are all devoted to the success of the group, this was an excellent solution.

Learning to Love Compromise

I’ve often been in situations where one person wanted to dominate, and they felt diminished by having to cooperate or compromise.  Having to share our power requires a calm ego, an open-mindedness, and an acceptance that we may not know it all.  In the news this week, Barbara Bush said, “I hate that people think compromise is a dirty word.  It’s not a dirty word.” I agree with her.  Compromise is one way of cooperating.  It requires looking at the options or differences and identifying the most important areas and how they can be implemented for the good of all.

Valuing Cooperative Skills

As a teacher in high school teaching English, I often used small group discussions or group projects to let students be creative and interactive with the literature.   However, I think that what they learned about mutual respect and cooperation was far more important than what they learned about the literature.  They learned to listen to each other, express a difference of opinion respectfully, and work together in order to create an excellent project that was a result of all their ideas and that fit the assignment requirements and expressed their point of view.

Releasing Resistance to Create a Cooperative Spirit

Don’t we all need those skills?  Don’t the leaders of all nations need those skills?  I realize it isn’t always easy to be cooperative when we feel things aren’t going in a direction we like.  Unless the decisions being made are destructive or unhealthy, it is always a good idea to ask, “Why am I resistant to this idea?”  Ego always has a reason for resisting.  At that moment, if we are willing to look at our own patterns, we may discover our resistance is very personal.

Maybe this situation mirrors a situation we experienced in childhood or with a spouse or friend.  By having the courage to honestly examine our thoughts and acknowledge the issue behind the resistance, we can separate our personal issues from the current discussion and release the resistance. This awakening frees us to act with a more cooperative spirit.

When have you had to put aside your preferences in order to solve a problem through compromise?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  To go deeper with this topic, view Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships, and don’t miss this one:  Trying to Work With a Boulder

DANCING FROM OUR CENTERS

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself.  But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.”  Thomas Szasz

Who is running your life?  Is it you, deep from your center?  Or is it your family, employer or the mentality of society herding you into the role they want you to play?

The last time I visited the Biltmore Estate and met the Tina Turner Chickens, I also observed a sheep dog herding sheep.  I had seen this on the nature channel, but I’d never seen it in person.  As the dog herded the sheep together, they were so close they were touching, moving like one being.  After herding them to a particular area, he left, but the sheep remained sandwiched together as if they were afraid to each step out into their own areas.

 The Dangers of Conformity

I immediately thought of people and conformity.  How often do we allow something outside of ourselves to limit our capacity to be who we really are?  Conformity isn’t all bad.  It’s only negative if it forces us to be someone we are not or causes us to hurt others in order to be accepted.  The McCarthy trials of the 1950’s are a good example.  Neighbors reported neighbors for being communists and whether it was true or not was irrelevant.  People lost their reputations and employment by merely being accused.

Inner Self and Ego

 I don’t know exactly what Thomas Szasz intended when he made the statement I quoted today.  But I suspect he was referring to the ego/personality level of who we are, for the spiritual level that is deeper is something we find only when we let go of ego and go deeper.  It is eternal.  We do not have to create it.  But we do create the person we are in this lifetime based on the choices we make and the way we think.

Creating Our Personalities Based on Our Eternal Selves

If we are in touch with our eternal being, the choices we make from that place, rather than from external influences, tend to be wiser.  In modern dance, the pelvic area of the body is the center of our body and this core must be strong in order for the dancer to perform the off balance tilts, falls and swings that are unique to modern.  Without a strong core, the dancer flounders.

If we make choices from that loving center within us that is our core, our choices will have integrity and compassion, and will enhance our lives and the lives of others.  That deeper self is the basis of our personality, but making the right choices can lead us to an integration of the two.  When we dance from our center, we are One.  But if we always allow others to dictate how we think and act, we are being unfaithful to ourselves.  We are letting life happen to us rather than creating the life we want.

If we spend our whole lives hiding behind the temporary high of buying things or being entwined with a dysfunctional family’s dictates or constantly searching for a quick fix to happiness, we will never find who we truly are.  We will not discover that by following someone else’s lead in the dance of life.

Lead Yourself in the Dance

When you create yourself, you become the dancer and the leader.  You look at each opportunity in life and decide if it contributes to who you are or want to be.  You find the courage to step away from the flock and follow your own path.  You love yourself enough to take charge of your own life.  If you have not found yourself yet, perhaps you are not looking deep enough.  Perhaps you have betrayed who you are in order to keep peace and have security.

Fear always surfaces when we try to break an existing pattern.  It’s then we have to turn to faith. “When you have come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen:  there will be something to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”  These words have comforted me more often than I like to admit.  Have faith and trust yourself to become who you really are.  You are your greatest creation!

What challenges have you faced in becoming who you really are?  What helped you take the risk?  Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Life, Being True to Oneself, Dare to Be Yourself

AWAKENING TO LOVE OURSELVES

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”   Buddha

Do you love yourself?  Do you accept your failings and forgive yourself when you don’t live up to the standards you set?  Do you accept who you really are, including your limitations?

Struggling With Not Knowing

I’ll admit it.  I’ve been pretty judgmental about myself lately.  I set higher standards for myself than I do for others and am disappointed when I don’t live up to my expectations.  Lately, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been learning about social media and online marketing.  Now, after ten years writing my spiritual memoir, I have decided to e-publish it.  In addition, I’ve set up a blog and learned to navigate that technology.  This has been exhilarating and exhausting because computer technology is a huge challenge for me.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.  Everyday, it seems there are ten new questions I can’t answer.  Even when more savvy people answer my questions, I don’t always understand the answers.  Because of this, my greatest challenge is how inadequate I feel on a daily basis. Even after researching information on the internet, I often have to ask the same question again.

Understanding the Fear Beneath Our Inadequacy

When we feel stressed and inadequate, it is worthwhile to ask, “What is really causing this discomfort.   Frequently, it’s fear.  We are afraid we won’t succeed at this challenge. We’re afraid we won’t do it well enough, or we’re afraid we will disappoint others. When what we are doing becomes too difficult, we may give up and run away. Eliminating this source of discomfort seems like a simple solution.  But is it?

Refusing to face the challenge and solve the problem rarely gives us any lasting satisfaction.  What we really want is not to escape, but to feel capable of solving the problem or to feel all right about not knowing how. At these times, more than any other, we need to remember to accept and love ourselves.

Taking the Time to Love Ourselves

When we feel loved, we feel more capable.  We can do anything.  So perhaps, in these moments of doubt, what we most need to do is love ourselves.  What does that look like?  For me, I think it means accepting my difficulty understanding technology and telling myself it’s all right.  It means letting go of my ego’s need to handle all the challenges by myself.  It means congratulating myself each time I have the self-confidence to admit I don’t know what to do next and am willing ask for help.

We are each precious spiritual beings.  We must accept and love who we are in order to feel peaceful. If we feel inadequate or are self-judging, we need to raise our vibration. One way to do that is to turn inward, quiet ourselves, and release our fears and expectations. Then we may be able to hear that voice within that is so much wiser than ego. Breathing deeply, and with each breath, directing our minds to release the fear, we create a space where peace and new solutions can come through to us.

Doing what we enjoy, such as walking in the forest or by the seashore, eating a really nice meal, visiting with a good friend, or dancing, will also raise our vibration.  Taking our attention away from the fear and stress clears the mind.  Doing the things we enjoy nurtures us at the soul level and is a way of loving ourselves.  If we tend to take better care of others than ourselves, we need to do for ourselves what we do for others.

In the end, we need to accept we are fine the way we are.  Life will continue to offer opportunities to grow and become more of who we are.  When we stop feeling bad about our lack, we will be able to see the good we have done and the courage it took to do it.

What do you like most about yourself and what you’ve learned or done recently?  What lifts your vibration?

Please comment.  If there are topics you would like for me to discuss, please let me know by leaving a comment.  I’d love to respond to your interests.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Forgive Yourself-Powerful Self-Help, Accepting Oneself (A Buddhist view), Forgive Yourself (Wayne Dyer)

AWAKENING TO OUR TRUTH

“To know that you do not know is the best.  To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.” Lao Tse from the Tao Te Ching

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look at our lives and evaluate if we are living our truth.  Have you told any white lies lately? Exaggerated an event to make yourself look better? Embellished your resume or job application? Told a loved one what they wanted to hear rather than what you really felt?

Fear Keeps Us from Telling the Truth

What is it that keeps us from telling the truth? It is always one of two things: the fear of rejection or the fear of inadequacy.  Fear is what separates us from ourselves.  When we are not truthful to ourselves, we separate ourselves from the Oneness of Spirit that is our essence.

I learned during my first year of teaching high school that it was pointless not to admit when I didn’t know something.  The students could spot a lie in a minute.  When I began the second year of teaching, I explained to the students on the first day that if I didn’t know the answer to their questions, I would tell them and help them find the answer.  They liked that and it set a tone of trust for the year.

I was in my twenties, and just after I married, I realized there was something I didn’t like about myself.  I occasionally told little white lies.  I had started doing this when I was growing up with parents who fought frequently.  In order to avoid upsetting a parent, I would answer a question based on what I thought they wanted to hear rather than the truth.  It made me uncomfortable, but it was better than being screamed at or having them scream at one another.  Most of all I needed peace.

When I married, I wanted an open, honest relationship and knew there was no longer a reason to lie.  My husband was easy-going and loved me.  Not to tell the truth seemed like a violation of our commitment.  I began to monitor myself and eventually let go of the insecurity that had led me to believe I needed to lie.

Lies Separate Us from Love

Where there is fear, there is separation—not just from another but from Spirit.  Our inner and outer must match.  If we pretend to be loving when we don’t feel it or do it just to impress people, we betray ourselves and them.  Love cannot exist where there is fear.  When we pretend, we do so because we feel we are not good enough.  We think that if we do good deeds, we will earn spiritual points.

The Ego Feeds on Fear

Admitting our mistakes and weaknesses is not an easy thing to do.  Our ego will rebel and insist its well-being is more important than our soul’s.  Ego will give us all the reasons why we need to appear more competent, more beautiful, or more loving because ego feeds on our fears.  When we are truthful and at peace, ego is diminished.  When ego is diminished, we make wiser choices.

Speaking the Truth from the Heart

How we tell the truth to others is just as important as telling it.  If we think it will be hard for another person to hear what we have to say, we need to center ourselves first and speak from the heart.  It is more likely that another will be able to hear what we say if it is said with love.  If we speak from love, then we speak with integrity and are one with the other person.  In this place of Oneness, we will know if we really need to speak this truth.  Many relationships have been damaged by the way in which we express our truth.

Lao Tse’s words are very wise.  When we don’t know what to do and allow ourselves to know that we don’t know, we open ourselves to the possibility that Spirit will provide the answer.  If we remember that we are one with this loving, creative energy, we can release our fears of inadequacy and rejection, knowing that all is well just as we are.

How do you maintain your truthfulness?

©2012 Georganne Spruce

Related articles: Where Does Your Sense of Self Come From – Eckhart Tolle

AWAKENING TO WHO YOU ARE

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you’ll discover will be wonderful.  What you’ll discover is yourself.”  Alan Alda

How do you define yourself?  Do you think of yourself first as a man or woman, as a Christian or Buddhist, as an accountant or a teacher, as a cancer survivor or as disabled person?  Who are we  beneath the appearance or the definitions we and society give us?  We are so much more.  We are infinite possibilities.

Self-Judgment

How do you let your definitions of yourself limit your life?  Were you told as a child that you weren’t very intelligent?  Did you carry that belief about yourself into adulthood?  When confronted with challenging information, are you quick to say, “Oh, that’s way over my head.  I can’t understand that sort of thing.”

We make these self-judgments in many areas of our lives.  A man I knew years ago said, “I don’t know how to have a successful relationship.  I’ve failed at every one I’ve attempted.”  Like so many people, he was afraid to try one more time, unable to see that he had learned from every relationship he had.  He judged the end result of each experience rather than valuing the gifts of the journey.

We set these standards for ourselves and if the outcome of an experience doesn’t fit our vision of it, we choose to see that as failure.  At some point, we may give up, feeling we are simply inadequate, rather than choosing to explore new possibilities in relationships, job, or life styles.  We forget that we are always evolving, always capable of learning and changing.  The negative definitions, that we and others give us, distort who we think we are.

The Mistake of Choosing Ego Over Being

 Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth states, “…when you are so identified with the voice in your head and the emotions that accompany it that you lose yourself in every thought and emotion, then you are totally identified with form (things, body) and therefore in the grip of ego….Ego arises when your sense of Beingness of “I Am,” which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form.  This is the meaning of identification.  This is the forgetfulness of Being…the illusion of absolute separateness that turns reality into a nightmare. ” (p. 54)

Releasing Judgment, Accepting Gifts of the Spiritual Journey

We must not to lose touch with our sense of “Beingness.”  It is who we really are.  It is not in the outer form that we discover who we are.  It is the inner “I Am” that is the core of who we are, our spiritual center where all our richest treasures lie.  We must stop the swirling dance of inner thoughts reminding us of our inadequacies and failures and choose a gentle dance that calms the mind.  Then we can see who we are without any definitions.

When you leave “the city of your comfort” and “step into the wilderness of your intuition,” you go beyond all definitions.  The intuition is not rational.  It is not form or ego.  We step into a field where the labels of this physical existence have no meaning.  There, we can find the freedom to release from our lives whatever restrictive definitions limit our growth and listen for the wisdom of Spirit within.  Unattached to ego, we surrender to the natural “wildness” of spiritual life, to the acceptance that all that matters is that we know we are worthy and part of something deeper than the physical.  As we strip away our attachment to the thought forms that tell us we are not good enough, we accept our natural spiritual state, knowing that all experiences are lessons from which we may learn.  It is not about failing or succeeding in life.  The spiritual journey is about being open to learning, and Spirit is not keeping score.

How have you discovered who you really are?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Sites:  Eckhart Tolle:  Being Judgmental, You Are Not Your Mind

AWAKENING TO THE PEACE AND WHOLENESS BEYOND FEAR

Release Fear and Awaken to the Dance

Beneath every negative emotion is fear.

Every psychological fear blocks us in some way from receiving the guidance we need to find peace and know the best action to take.  Without fear, we can stop saying, “What’s wrong with me?” and begin to say, “What can I learn from this experience?”  Self-judgment has no value.  Without it, we can reflect on a situation and gain insight and inspiration.

We all have moments when we feel we are not good enough or have handled a situation badly.  Our inner critic recites the long list of our deficiencies, blaming us for every experience that did not manifest in the way we wished.  We may be, in fact, very compassionate in our interactions with others, but forget to offer ourselves the same kind of consideration.  To awaken to the dance of life completely, we must have this compassion for ourselves.

Wholeness, the Gift of Accepting Who We Are

One of the most profound ideas I have ever read comes from Oneness by Rasha.  “Those moments when you judge yourself most harshly and in which you feel you let yourself down are the moments most deeply yearned for as a soul.  For, in the moments you look back upon with regret—the ones that conjure up within you the most profound humiliation in your own eyes—are the moments for which you chose a human incarnation.” (p. 237)  “And in your embracing of all that you Are—and in your acceptance of all that you are not…is the unconditional gift of wholeness that awaits you.”(p. 238)

We do not have to be perfect to be whole. If we had reached a level of consciousness where we no longer needed to learn lessons, we would not be on this earthly plain. It is our ego’s pain and feeling of lack that feeds the fear that we are not good enough. Through the fears that surface, we glimpse the shadow, that darker side of our unconscious, and we are able to see the issues we need to address.

How To Release Self-Judgment

Last week I tried to communicate with a friend by email.  It was clear he had misunderstood something I said and he seemed to be avoiding the issue.  I was frustrated, thinking, “What have I done wrong here?” After pacing the floor a bit, I released my fear that I had offended him and asked, “How can I best bring peace to this situation?”  I felt calmer, and in a moment, a positive, light energy rose in my body, and I knew I needed to call him and arrange to talk face to face.  When I called, he eagerly suggested we meet for lunch.  As a result, we had a wonderful, open talk and parted with peaceful feelings toward one another.

When we find ourselves in these self-critical modes, we need to look beneath the surface issue and ask, “What is it I fear?”  Then, we need to release the fear, so that our minds are not busy coping with the fear.  Once we have released the fear, the mind feels clear and we can ask, “What is the best way to solve this problem?” or “How can I create peace out of this discord?”

When we do this, we shine light on our darkness.  We become open to identifying the lesson we need to learn.  Inner guidance will appear to guide us in the best direction.  Free of fear, we are able to let go of self-judgment.

 Finding Inner Peace Beneath the Fear

Evaluating and revising is a helpful learning process.  We all have to explore and experiment in order to learn.  Sometimes we will find the right answer; sometimes we won’t, but being afraid to try a new approach blocks our ability to learn.  With these fears released, we can find solutions and awaken to the peace that lies beneath our fears.  When we are able to accept all these parts of ourselves, we will experience wholeness.

What fears do you need to release?  How do you find peace?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

If you are interested in my upcoming “Release Your Fear” workshop on September 18 when I teach a specific technique for releasing your fear, see my Workshop page.  Advanced registration is not required.  All are welcome.

Related Articles:  Spiritual Practices: Shadow, Shadow Exercises