When the ego says go, tell the ego to go
When someone disagrees with us, especially someone we expected would obey us unquestioningly, our ego flares up. It goads us: “Yell at them; lash out at them; put them in their place.”
However, ego-driven actions only make things worse. Such actions arouse others’ ego, triggering an ego battle in which the central issue often becomes the first casualty.
Worse still, some people consider their ego their strength. The Bhagavad-gita (16.18) states that the demonic take shelter of their lower qualities such as ego, lust and anger. What does taking shelter of the ego mean? It means expecting relief by placing oneself under the ego – as one places oneself under a tree amidst rains. The demonic think that by exhibiting and expanding their ego, they can make their subordinates cower in fear. However, taking the ego’s shelter inevitably backfires. Even if people stay silent temporarily, they remain resentful and eventually they rebel.
To avoid such conflicts, we need to tell the ego to go, that is, to get lost. How? By situating ourselves in a secure identity higher than the one offered by the ego.
Gita wisdom explains that our essential identity is that we are eternal spiritual beings, parts of the all-attractive Supreme Being, Krishna. This identity is foundational to all our functional identities based on age, gender, nationality, profession, economic bracket and so forth. When we practice bhakti-yoga diligently and connect with Krishna, we gain increasing realization of our foundational identity. When we find security and satisfaction in our core identity, we become more immune to the ego’s temptations for gratification through our various other identities. Thereafter, if others still act disagreeably, we can put our ego aside and focus on resolving the key issue.
By thus going towards our core identity, we can tell the ego to go.
Think it over:
- How do ego-driven actions make things worse?
- How does taking shelter of the ego backfire?
- How can we tell the ego to go?
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